It's time for Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) to own up to its recent shortcomings -- but its new ad campaign wants to lay it all on you.
A pair of Wall Street Journal tech blogs, Digits and AllThingsD, report that Yahoo!'s new "It's You" marketing push kicks off today.
The global campaign is focused on the site's customized features, something that CEO Carol Bartz hinted at during a recent CNBC appearance.
"The next big thing is that people need a little organization," Bartz said during CNBC's Squawk Box two weeks ago.
She was lamenting the 85% of Yahoo! visitors who never bothered to update their My Yahoo! profiles, thus making the news and information less relevant.
The "It's You" movement is already in motion. Those who have checked their Yahoo! Mail accounts over the past few days have noticed the site's wraparound attempts to become a social network.
The header at the top reveals plenty.
New! Introducing an easier way to stay in touch with friends and family, right from here!
- See their emails first
- Get Updates when they share photos, write reviews, and update status
- Receive birthday reminders!
Users of free email who check their virtual boxes will be asked whether they want to receive updates from three of their most recent email recipients, similar to how Facebook suggests friends. If you choose someone, that person will have to confirm the connection -- similar to Facebook and News Corp.'s (Nasdaq: NWS ) (Nasdaq: NWSA ) MySpace.
Even a box at the top teases you with a status-prodding "What are you doing today" query.
Is it too late for Yahoo! to become a social network? Now that MySpace is offering users their own "@myspace.com" email addresses, it's only natural for the free-mail giants -- Yahoo!, Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Hotmail, Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Gmail, and Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX ) AOL -- to fight back.
They have a long way to go if they want to compete with Facebook's sticky ways, but they may as well start. Facebook added 50 million users over the past two months alone, so time is not on anybody else's side to break things in slowly.
What would it take for Yahoo! to take on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.