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Yahoo launches dashboard for small businesses

Yahoo may be putting 50 of its properties on the chopping block as new CEO Scott Thompson looks to make the once-dominant internet portal a little leaner and more nimble, but apparently small businesses are important enough to Yahoo that it will create new products.

Today, Yahoo did just that by launching an online dashboard designed specifically for small businesses.

The Yahoo Marketing Dashboard allows small business owners to view their sites’ traffic, keep track of their search rankings and monitor buzz on 8,000 sites, including Twitter and Facebook. Yahoo bills it as the “one place” to “get a clear picture of your marketing results and reputation.”

The base offering is free, but Yahoo is offering a number of premium add-ons for a fee. For $ 19.99 per month, for instance, a business owner could expand the amount of data visible through the aforementioned reputation monitoring feature. And Yahoo is trying to bring search submission back; for $ 9.99 per month, Yahoo says it will submit a company’s website to over 100 search engines and directories.

The latter is somewhat cringe-worthy, and raises questions about just how valuable Yahoo’s new offering is. On the other hand, there are aspects to Yahoo’s offering that it appears the company got right. For example, recognizing that Google Analytics is extremely popular, Yahoo’s dashboard allows businesses to pull in their Google Analytics data.

Yahoo’s motivation in launching a marketing dashboard for small businesses isn’t that difficult to grasp: small business is of great importance to Yahoo and its competitors, such as Google. But serving small business and keeping a small business customer happy can be difficult.

“The number of online marketing options are growing…It seems like a new company or a new way of reaching consumers emerges each day, and for small businesses who don’t have agencies or a lot of background support, this proliferation of options is pretty challenging to manage,” Yahoo’s director of product marketing for Yahoo Small Business, Shannon Parker Hane, stated.

Any company that can successfully help small businesses many those challenges has the opportunity to do very well. Time will tell whether Yahoo becomes such a company, but as it tries to reinvent itself, trying to cozy up to small business probably isn’t the worst idea.

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