ICYMI: News on Slack, AWS, Yext, Google, Twitter

A few announcements and news items caught our eye this week. Here is our quick take on each.

Slack Partnership with AWS Seen as Shot at Rival MSFT

Slack and Amazon Web Services have announced a major partnership to support the evolving ways of the workplace.

Here is what the announcement says:

“Slack will migrate its Slack Calls capability for all voice and video calling to Amazon Chime, AWS’s communications service that lets users meet, chat, and place business calls. Slack is also leveraging AWS’s global infrastructure to support enterprise customers’ rapid adoption of its platform and to offer them data residency – the ability to choose which country or region their data is stored at rest in while fulfilling compliance requirements.”

As this article in TechCrunch points out, the deal is as much about the fight against Microsoft as it is about deepening its ties with Amazon.

“Make no mistake, this is a big deal as the SaaS communications tool increases its ties with AWS,  but this agreement could also be about slighting Microsoft and its rival Teams product by making a deal with a cloud rival. In the past, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield has had choice words for Microsoft saying the Redmond technology giant sees his company as an ‘existential threat.'”

Yext Q1 Beats Street Estimates

Yext posted an adjusted Q1 fiscal 2021 (ending April 30) loss per share of $0.10, which beat the analyst consensus of $0.13. In fact, the “answers” company has beat consensus EPS estimates in three of the past four quarters.

The company posted Q1 revenues of $85.35 million, up 24.2% over the prior year. This fell just short of the analyst consensus. However, Yext has exceeded revenue estimates in two of the past four quarters, according to Yahoo Finance.

Yext’s stock has outperformed the S&P 500 this year as well. Yext is up 11.3% through June 5, while the S&P fell by 2.3% over the same period.

“Our platform is mission-critical to providing accurate and timely official answers to urgent questions. Given the large TAM opportunity and strong demand for our Yext Answers product, we are continuing to position Yext as The Official Answers Company,” said Howard Lerman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Yext.

Yext made news recently when it became the first search technology partner to join the Adobe Exchange program. 

“Now, every Adobe rep in the world can refer Yext Answers to their customers,” Lerman said.  “And Yext can show customers how Answers will deliver lower support costs, higher revenue conversion, and deep customer insights on their websites.”

Google Cites Bug as Cause of Recent Local Ranking Volatility

Barry Schwarz wrote this week in Search Engine Land about volatility in local rankings on Google and Google Maps that had the SEO community all abuzz.

Apparently, the volatility, appearing in late April and early May, was not the result of a mysterious algorithmic change. It was just a bug.

“Sometimes, just sometimes, changes you see in search rankings have nothing to do with you,” Barry wrote about the incident. “Sometimes Google makes mistakes. The local rankings have been much more stable over the past couple of weeks since Google fixed this particular bug…While it is rare for Google to confirm a bug fix around indexing and rankings, it can and does happen on occasion.”

Galloway to Twitter: Bag Ads Model in Favor of Subscription

NYU Professor and podcaster Scott Galloway is known for his blunt assessments of what major brands are doing wrong. And how they can fix it. Just ask WeWork if the wounds from this takedown have healed.

Galloway has also been pretty tough on Twitter. In particular, he has been critical of Twitter’s “part-time” CEO Jack Dorsey. He thinks Jack hasn’t done enough to create value at Twitter, despite the platform’s enormous audience.

This week in an interview on a Bloomberg News podcast, Galloway suggested a way for Twitter to increase its value and do more social good in the process. His advice? Stop selling ads and pivot to a subscription model. Galloway suggests he would like to see Facebook do the same. But right now there is more pressure on Twitter to create value. So that is where he is directing this message.

The context for the discussion is the controversy over Twitter’s decision to flag some of President Trump’s tweets for inaccuracy or incitement. Galloway has criticized both Twitter and Facebook for what he considers “ad-based models that encourage rage.”

Galloway believes the controversy offers Twitter an opportunity to pivot and “unlock shareholder value.”

“This is an opportunity for Twitter to consider a subscription model,” Galloway told Bloomberg. “There is a large population of us that are sort of addicted to Twitter and organizations that rely on it to disseminate information. They would pay money for it.”

He goes on.

“This is the time to address the underlying cancer and not just the symptoms. And that is an ad-driven model as opposed to a subscription model.”

What do you think? Is Galloway onto something? Or is he smoking something?


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