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If you believe at all in the “marketplace” vision of next generation commerce, it is hard to dispute that Yahoo! remains front –and- center as a verticals factory. This core strength of Yahoo!’s is especially important to note in the wake of Microsoft’s pullback from acquiring the company.

What accounts for Yahoo’s focus on verticals is the critical “engagement of advertisers and publishers” in areas they wish to target, noted VP Michael Yang, who runs autos, real estate and now health for Yahoo! “Yahoo! aspires to be the starting point of the Internet,” he said at The Kelsey Seattle conference. “We want to increase the size of the funnel at the beginning level (awareness).”

Yang argued that the company’s goal with verticals is to be #1 or #2 in each area. In the case of finance, news and sports, it is already there. “In other areas, we aspire to do that.”

Yahoo!’s traditional focus on community also informs the development of every vertical. “It is where automotive is going, and where we are taking health,” said Yang. “We are taking a truly national, centralized experience” and “trying to be holistic.” Yahoo! is also focused on “exposing new data” wherever relevant.

(This post is excerpted from an advisory written for Kelsey Marketplace clients)

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