Yahoo plans several reviews

SUNNYVALE, CA: Yahoo plans to issue several RFPs in the coming weeks that will total more than a million dollars in new business, including one for consumer.

SUNNYVALE, CA: Yahoo plans to issue several RFPs in the coming weeks that will total more than a million dollars in new business, including one for consumer.

The company is retooling its consumer PR program, as part of that RFP, which was issued several weeks ago, said Eric Brown, the SVP of global communications at Yahoo, who joined the company earlier this year. The effort will support the $100-million advertising campaign Yahoo began rolling out in September. The RFP is budgeted for a low six-figure monthly retainer.

The current incumbent, GolinHarris, is a “strong contender” for the business, along with seven other agencies, he said. Fred Cook, CEO of Golin, declined to comment.

“Right now we're not mining and syndicating personal stories in the right way,” Brown said. “We want to show how people – real people - connect using Yahoo properties and products.”

The winning agency will also help distribute the stories through various channels, including social media, Web properties, and traditional media. The scope will also include consumer work around Yahoo's sponsorships.

“We want to show how people can use Yahoo's tools to dimensionalize and enrich their experiences at Yahoo-sponsored events,” Brown said, like using Yahoo mail to send photos or chatting with IM with others at these events.

Yahoo's revamped consumer strategy will also include promoting the company's internal editors for its finance, sports, and lifestyle properties as thought leaders.

The search engine has also issued an RFP to hire a metrics/measurement firm for the first time. Additionally, Yahoo plans to issue a six-figure RFP for its b-to-b business soon, which Peppercom currently handles. Peppercom will not be involved in this review following a mutual decision to part ways, Brown said. Peppercom cofounder and managing partner Steve Cody declined to comment.

Brown said he plans to have agency selections completed and for work to begin by January.

The reviews don't signal an agency consolidation, Brown noted.

“Our market needs are so diverse, so I don't know how we could consolidate an agency in the US or internationally,” he said. However, he added, the US accounts for 75% of Yahoo's global revenue and this market will likely develop best practices to use in other regions.

Yahoo works with a number of PR agencies in addition to Peppercom and Golin, such as OutCast Communications, which handles product PR.

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