Yahoo's Bartz: Tiger's scandal "better than Michael Jackson dying"

Yahoo's Bartz: Tiger's scandal "better than Michael Jackson dying"

Summary: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz says Tiger Woods scandal is better for traffic than Michael Jackson dying? Ouch. Can Bartz get away with a comment like that? Of course, she can.


You've got to love a spitfire of an executive who speaks her mind and tells it the way it is - even if it makes PR folks cringe when the words come blaring out.

Today's example: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz told attendees of the UBS Media and Communications Conference in New York that Tiger Woods sex scandal was a better traffic generator than the death of Michael Jackson.

Putting it in context, she was talking about the various news verticals within Yahoo - entertainment, Sports, front page news and so on. The Tiger scandal hit multiple verticals, bringing in sports readers, Hollywood gossip readers, top headlines readers and so on. That was good for Yahoo.

From the transcript:

Bartz: But you always compete -- I mean, my Yahoo! sports wakes up every morning competing with ESPN. News wakes up competing with CNN. I mean, or the BBC or Eurosport. So you know who the verticals are. We -- I love that kind of competition. So you know, God bless Tiger. I mean this week, we got a huge uplift. No, seriously. (Multiple speakers). We got front-page, news, sports, gossip. I mean, he just filters through the whole place. So --

Brian Pitz, UBS Analyst: Is Tiger going to help make the quarter?

Bartz: Absolutely. It's better than Michael Jackson dying. It's kind of hard to put an ad up next to a funeral.

Well, that's one way to say it, I suppose. And I'm sure that particular comparison was enough to make some of Yahoo's PR types pause. But Bartz has two things going for her.

First, she's talking business - Michael Jackson's death was a news event, plain and simple.  So is Tiger's scandal. That translates into searches and clicks and page views - and that's Yahoo's business.

Second, Bartz is charismatic. She's not trying to be crude or insensitive. She has a strong personality and, overall, that's been a positive for Yahoo as it's worked to move in new directions.

A final thought: That charisma only goes so far. A post on Smartplanet today - titled Charismatic CEO? Investors should duck - looks at the effects of such an executive on the company's overall performance.

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  • Tiger/MJ

    This is one of the most classless and inhumane statements I've heard regarding 2 people whom only mean traffic to your site. MJ's death and Tiger's personal pain means nothing to a vulture like you. I pray that people will stop crucifying Tiger as they did Michael before he died and remember him while he's alive AS THE GREATEST GOLF PLAYER EVER as Michael was THE GREATEST ENTERTAINER EVER. All you jealous, evil, prejudice people should get a life or rather empathy, especially you Ms. might just be next but you're not famous enough for anyone to care.
    • When you make your living...

      putting yourself in front of the public you put yourself in front of the entire public - the good, the bad and the ugly. Tiger brought all this on himself. He was smiling all the way to the bank because of the public and he knew full well what the public would do and was capable of when what he was doing would come to light.

      I have sympathy for his family but not one drop for him. He is reaping the fruits of his labor. Everyone does. For putting his family through this he deserves worse.

      As far as Bartz, she's a CEO of an entity that has one thing in mind - maximize stock value. If her company reaps profits off of other "pain" so be it. She was simply stating the facts. TW and MJ mean nothing to her other than stock value.
    • You have it all wrong

      You live by the sword, you die by the sword, plain and simple. Sometimes these celebrities forget that.

      These supporters aren't jealous, evil, prejudiced people, they're people who want something back from the support they've given, not "Worship me when I'm up, don't bother me when I'm not"

      If celebrities want their status to get them more then those supporting them, they damn well better not let those supporters down.

      Tiger Woods told us all that it was "Family first, Golf second". Why lie, unless all he cared about was that he wanted us people to pay and come watch him golf.

      His sponsors came to him because they wanted a "wholesome guy", something I'm guessing Tiger Woods claimed he was. Why lie at that point, unless all he cared about was the money.

      BTW: I might agree with you on Tiger Woods, but Michael Jackson as the greatest entertainer ever??

      John Zern
  • Yahoo's Bartz: Tiger's scandal better than Michael Jackson dying

    There is nothing wrong with what she said even if the PR people didn't like it. I do find the results of this to be odd, I didn't think Tiger Woods was nearly as popular as MJ.
    Loverock Davidson
  • RE: Yahoo's Bartz: Tiger's scandal

    It seems to me that many people are tired of reading about Tiger Woods. Michael Jackson's death was a news story, Tiger Woods story is just gossip. Where are the good journalists? There are many stories to report on like climategate and health care reform. Why isn't that being covered? Is Yahoo! too cheap to hire journalists to report on these stories? Why is there a black out on these news items?
    • Because nobody cares

      Climategate story on ABC, Tiger Woods story on NBC.

      Most people I'm guessing would switch to NBC, so what's ABC to do? Lose viewers?

      Nah, they'll just put on their own Tiger Woods story.
      John Zern
  • RE: Yahoo's Bartz: Tiger's scandal

    amolfr,good post!