Why does Yahoo leak?

Andy Beal asks why Yahoo leaks when Google doesn’t.

Google views its secrecy as a competitive advantage, much like Apple does. They have a strong corporate culture internally that makes it “evil” to leak. How did they do that? Easy. Google’s culture is one of a “David” vs. “Goliaths” of Microsoft and Yahoo. I don’t work at Google and I’ve heard some of the stories they tell each other about why they want to keep Google mysterious to the outside world — they want to increase the time that other companies clone their stuff and secrecy is a huge part of that.

Yahoo, on the other hand (and Microsoft too) needs to gesture to the market that it is changing so that its partners can get on board and help it out.

Companies leak when there’s an advantage to doing so. The fact that we’re talking about Yahoo’s leaks demonstrates that we’re playing right into the leaker’s hands. When Google sees an advantage in leaking something, it will too. Just watch. Just like Steve Jobs is learning he can get us all to talk by posting a letter on Apple’s Web site instead of doing the usual old thing by calling the press into a keynote event.

Remember when I posted Steve Ballmer’s email to all employees? I actually had permission to do so from the PR team. Sometimes “leaks” aren’t leaks at all. They are press events designed to get the company’s point of view out to the world.

Comments

  1. Sometimes “leaks” aren’t leaks at all. They are press events designed to get the company’s point of view out to the world.

    So what’s new? :-)

  2. Sometimes “leaks” aren’t leaks at all. They are press events designed to get the company’s point of view out to the world.

    So what’s new? :-)

  3. The tech press is generally savvy enough to tell a contrived PR-stunt “internal memo leak” from the real deal. It’s the difference between the “disruption” memo and the Halloween documents.

    It’s my hope that companies get savvy enough to realize that PR stunt fake memo leaking is lame and contributes to negative feelings about your brand–at least among people who resent being manipulated and treated like idiots. This will probably only happen when even the mainstream non-tech media starts reporting this stuff as fake.

  4. The tech press is generally savvy enough to tell a contrived PR-stunt “internal memo leak” from the real deal. It’s the difference between the “disruption” memo and the Halloween documents.

    It’s my hope that companies get savvy enough to realize that PR stunt fake memo leaking is lame and contributes to negative feelings about your brand–at least among people who resent being manipulated and treated like idiots. This will probably only happen when even the mainstream non-tech media starts reporting this stuff as fake.

  5. Robert, are you talking about this post?
    http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/stories/2005/04/23/steveBallmersEmailAboutAntidiscriminationBill.html

    If so, then you disclosed at the top that it was a message which you had permission to publish.

    The TechCrunch/Yahoo article today makes me feel uneasy, because we have no way of knowing how Michael knows what he says he knows… he wasn’t transparent on his sourcing. Might be a real message, might be a phony message, might be a untrustworthy employee, might be execs saying “how can we say this with plausible deniability?”… you and I as readers are asked to take things on faith.

    We need transparency and disclosure in blogging. Your post above seems to have provided that, but as Andy’s questions note, Michaels original post had a glaring omission: How does he know what he says he knows?

    jd

  6. Robert, are you talking about this post?
    http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/stories/2005/04/23/steveBallmersEmailAboutAntidiscriminationBill.html

    If so, then you disclosed at the top that it was a message which you had permission to publish.

    The TechCrunch/Yahoo article today makes me feel uneasy, because we have no way of knowing how Michael knows what he says he knows… he wasn’t transparent on his sourcing. Might be a real message, might be a phony message, might be a untrustworthy employee, might be execs saying “how can we say this with plausible deniability?”… you and I as readers are asked to take things on faith.

    We need transparency and disclosure in blogging. Your post above seems to have provided that, but as Andy’s questions note, Michaels original post had a glaring omission: How does he know what he says he knows?

    jd

  7. John: yup, that’s the one.

    Mike has lots of contacts at Yahoo and helped Yahoo do its Hack Day event.

    These things are leaked semi-officially all the time to professional journalists. I guess my Ballmer leak was officially leaked, but I’ve seen others that are semi-officially leaked — IE, just emailed to journalists who have a relationship with a PR guy. Often times the journalists sense something is up (they hear about it on an employee’s blog, or at a party, or something) and then ask for the whole thing.

  8. John: yup, that’s the one.

    Mike has lots of contacts at Yahoo and helped Yahoo do its Hack Day event.

    These things are leaked semi-officially all the time to professional journalists. I guess my Ballmer leak was officially leaked, but I’ve seen others that are semi-officially leaked — IE, just emailed to journalists who have a relationship with a PR guy. Often times the journalists sense something is up (they hear about it on an employee’s blog, or at a party, or something) and then ask for the whole thing.

  9. Leaks

    Robert
    Scoble on leaks — “Remember when I posted Steve Ballmer’s email to
    all employees? I actually had permission to do so from the PR team.
    Sometimes “leaks” aren’t leaks at all. They are press events designed
    to get the company’s point…