It’s Like Déjà Vu All Over Again at Yahoo

Is Mayer turning the clock back to 2009?

It’s a whole new era at Yahoo ever since CES rock star Marissa Mayer took over. Except when it isn’t.

Much of her tenure has been about free food and iPhones, umpteen startup acquisitions, along with bringing back engineering and Valley cool to the Web pioneer. But on the media and advertising front, where she was initially less focused (some would say indifferent), Mayer has turned back time at Yahoo—to about 2009.

She’s hit the rewind button in other ways. Indeed, when Mayer got the crowd buzzing at CES 2014 by announcing the company was launching digital magazines, starting with Yahoo Food and Yahoo Tech, how many in the crowd recalled that Yahoo had launched similar verticals in the late aughts? Or that the company had rolled out a magazine-esque Flipboard clone just three years ago.

And when Katie Couric joined Mayer on stage last week, did anyone hark back to 2012 when Couric (then at ABC) was on stage at Yahoo’s NewFront?

Even Yahoo’s big ad tech play, Yahoo Ad Manager, echoed the recent past. In a memorable (if slightly baffling) keynote in 2008, co-founder Jerry Yang presented APT, which was designed to become the ad-buying hub for the whole industry. It didn’t work out.

CES 2014

Marissa Mayer invited Katie Couric on stage to talk about her new interview show on Yahoo.

NewFront 2012

During Yahoo’s event, Couric took the stage to talk about her weekly Web show (Couric was then at ABC News, which had recently struck a big deal with Yahoo).

CES 2014

Scott Burke, Yahoo’s svp of data and advertising platforms, announced the launch of Yahoo Ad Manager, a new tech platform designed to help the online ad industry do, well, everything.

IAB 2008

Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang gave a keynote at the IAB Annual Meeting during which he announced APT, a Web buying and selling platform.

CES 2014

Yahoo launched Yahoo Tech. Former Times columnist David Pogue mocked nerdy tech blogs, touting how friendly Yahoo Tech would be to real people.

May 2006

Yahoo introduced a consumer tech site called Yahoo Tech, including nongeek friendly shows like Hook Me Up.

Photos: Pogue, Mayer, Couric: Ethan Miller/Getty Images; Burke: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images