Yahoo’s having a good-news, bad-news kind of week …

Yahoo’s making some news this week, and some of it’s not good.

First the bad news:  A new report from the eMarketer research firm projects that Yahoo’s display advertising business (historically its biggest revenue segment) will grow only 2% in the United States this year – far behind the nearly 24% growth that’s expected for the overall digital ad market in the U.S. (H/T to Business Insider for spotting this.)

Analysts at eMarketer calculate that display ad sales at Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Google and LinkedIn will grow faster than the market – and even AOL is expected to report its first double-digit percentage growth (15.5%) since the recession.

But despite CEO Marissa Mayer’s efforts to overhaul the struggling Internet pioneer, experts say Yahoo still lags other online companies in offering ad targeting and automated ad-buying tools. Mayer recently announced some new initiatives in those areas.

On a somewhat brighter note: Former TV anchor Katie Couric kicked off her new gig at Yahoo by announcing she’ll be interviewing former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg later this week. Mayer hired Couric, with much fanfare, to help anchor an expanded Yahoo news division that Mayer hopes will attract more visitors and advertisers.

Yahoo also announced this week that it’s hired a respected computer security expert, Alex Stamos, as its new Chief Information Security Officer or CISO. Stamos has been an outspoken critic of government surveillance and the move may help Yahoo win some credibility with security analysts who have criticized Yahoo for lagging other companies in adopting encryption.

Finally, file this one under “impact to be determined:” The well-sourced Kara Swisher at the re/code blog is reporting that a Yahoo executive who helped oversee the company’s Japan business is leaving. That’s been a lucrative operation for Yahoo, but as Swisher noted, sales have suffered there in the last year. Naoko Okumoto is the latest of several execs to leave the division, but it’s not clear if that’s a sign of more trouble or an indication that Mayer is making changes to improve performance.

(Photo of Yahoo headquarters by Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group)


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