In a 2014 interview, Ms. Mayer laid out her vision for the magazines as a rich medium for storytelling and advertising:
“You can layer in video. You can change the content. You can bring in the social aspect. You can tell someone, ‘Oh, by the way, your friend also read this article and thought it was interesting,’ ” she said. “A magazine, all 10 million copies have to be the same. Digitally, you can personalize it. You can put different advertisements that are more meaningful to the users in each one.”
In reality, Yahoo’s personalization technology never reached that level of sophistication. The editors of the magazines were constantly fighting with the people who ran Yahoo’s home page to get prominent display for their work. The home page editors, relying on reader data and computer algorithms, preferred to run articles licensed by Yahoo from other sites because they drew more traffic.