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TheStreet Open House

Ignore the Haters: Marissa Mayer Is Doing Incredibly Well at Yahoo!

When you're done reading this, see Chris Ciaccia's Has Marissa Mayer Done Enough?  for yet another (sensible) take (with context) on Yahoo! 

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I included an expletive in the headline of my Wednesday morning article singing the praises of Yahoo! (YHOO) and Marissa Mayer.

That was a mistake. Not for any ethical reason, but because the expletive limited distribution of the article. That's how things go in the uptight world of financial media. Even worse, it allowed this train wreck of something kind of, sort of, possibly resembling thought -- It's Time to Sell Yahoo! or something -- to climb the charts.

I can't believe it got by our editors, let alone to the top of the most-viewed articles list for a second. I need to debunk it -- point-by-point -- because it's dangerous. It's the type of article that makes a bold statement then does absolutely nothing quantitatively or qualitatively to back it up.

First, the author regurgitates the morning's talking points -- Yahoo!'s all about Alibaba and Yahoo!'s not growing very fast. That's the foundation, I guess, for his suggestion to sell YHOO stock. Not something sensible like it's had a nice run and it's always nice to take profits. No ... it's Here's what everybody else is saying this morning. I'm saying it again. And, with that, make a buy/sell decision on YHOO.

That's the long and short of it (pun intended) because nothing that follows in that "article" backs up the sell YHOO contention.

After regurgitating the Alibaba point -- again -- the author tells us:

CEO Marissa Mayer has now spent 17 months huffing, puffing and buying smaller companies. She has turned over the staff. She has had her chance to produce growth. And today's Yahoo is little changed from the company she joined.
Yahoo is an Internet media company, accent on media. Yahoo is news, weather and sports -- not search. And Yahoo doesn't have the financial heft to compete in technology against heavyweights Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG) and Amazon.com (AMZN). There, Yahoo is a minnow among sharks. If they want something Yahoo wants, Yahoo will be outbid.

So Mayer hasn't done anything. That's patently false and particularly curious given the author's subsequent list of some of the things she has done over the last 17 months.

These things, along with an overhaul of key Yahoo! properties and the emergence of Yahoo! Screen, don't happen overnight. CEOs and staff must actually spend time on them. As much as they might like to, actual people doing actual work at actual companies can't seek and only expect the instant gratification the tech and financial media inanely lives off of.

But the second point is the worst. It's a fall back on the notion that the only way to succeed is through M&A. Not so.

It's a breath of fresh air when companies don't go that route simply because they can. Mayer has taken a more Apple (AAPL)-like approach to M&A, which is fantastic.

As if "buying smaller companies" is some awful thing. Did the author ever stop to think what these small companies (such as Evntlive) might accomplish for Yahoo! over the near- to long-term?

The remainder of the article goes on to inanely speculate about who could or might want to buy Yahoo! As if we haven't been through these third grade exercises enough. It's one thing to suggest a hook up, a marriage, partnership or a buy out, but provide some context ... not:

CBS (CBS) wants to be bigger in the Internet.

You gotta be expletively kidding me.

I've written enough on Yahoo! in recent months/years -- click here for a representative sample. So it's clear where I stand. To that end, I include lots of links i my articles to provide context ... to give readers background on what I said before and what I'm saying now. It saves space and helps tie the overarching narrative together.

I had to answer this Sell YHOO article because, frankly, it's weak. It does nothing to move the conversation forward.

That's what I tried to do in Wednesday morning's article. Even if you don't agree with my take, I hope you'll at least recognize I took the time to think, reflect and see past my nose to points others haven't hit on.

From there, you make your own decision as to what to do with the stock (that's serious business), who to use for search, what site to make your homepage (do people still do that?) and how to consider Marissa Mayer's progress as Yahoo! CEO. I can tell you this -- she's the real deal. She has her head down. And shallow criticism won't impact what she's building for the long haul at Yahoo!

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a full-time columnist for TheStreet. He lives in Santa Monica. Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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