Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Can Yahoo Be the Better Facebook?

According to Alexei Oreskovic in his Rueter’s article, Yahoo’s Plan: create community from isolated sites, Yahoo Inc co-founder, David Filo, and new CEO, Carol Bartz, are planning all kinds of social networking features for

Yahoo is turning up the volume on many of its communications and community features and building bridges between the collection of Yahoo sites that have at times operated like virtual islands.

"You start to introduce Yahoo users to other parts of Yahoo," said Filo.

Whether users warm to Yahoo's vision of the social Internet with the same zeal they have for social stalwarts like Facebook and News Corp's MySpace remains to be seen. But if Yahoo's social networking features catch on, advertisers will take note.

Here’s why I’m intrigued:

* While she was visiting, my sister-in-law hit all the Day-After Thanksgiving Holiday Sales on my laptop with Yahoo. She surfed the web and charged her purchases to her Yahoo account.

* My friend, who leads a support group for parents of children with food allergies, wouldn’t start a Facebook group because everyone is happy and active with their Yahoo Group.

* My husband, an early adapter to Yahoo, cruises the daily photos from around the world. As I peak with my head on his shoulder, the popular photos summarize the world’s news, catastrophes, festivals, fun, nature, and … everything, in just a few glances.

Ms. Bartz is on the fast track to turn Yahoo into a social networking site. Yahoo would be packaged with a live stream of friend’s activities from the real groups in their lives. Saying it could be successful if done correctly is an understatement.

Facebook is a take-it-or-leave-it place for most of the people I know. Most users sign in when bored or procrastinating. I’ve been accused of updating my status too much and I only do it once or twice a day. “No,” I reply, “You should see some of the other people I connect with on Facebook, they send out stuff all day long.” But for most users this is not the norm.

For me, and almost everyone I know on Facebook, it’s a place for friends. We fan famous people and products, but it hasn’t morphed into actual sales for products and services on Facebook. Bottom line: companies want to make money, so they need customers or potential customers buying what they are selling. Companies can interact on a more personal level directly with customers on Facebook. Pages can encourage product loyalty. Also, the herd mentality of fanning what your friends fan is another quick/free marketing benefit. However, the ultimate goal of sales cannot be ignored.

Since Yahoo is such a commercial site already, it could happen in a spectacular way with Yahoo. We don’t think of as a place for friends but rather a place for information.

Mr. Oreskovic writes:

When an individual recommends a news story from the Yahoo homepage, uploads a photograph on Flickr or makes a trade on a fantasy baseball team from Yahoo sports, Yahoo will send an alert to a network of friends or contacts.

Yahoo is developing technology to broadcast roughly 100 types of such posts and actions.

Many of Yahoo's properties rank among the most popular on the Internet. Yahoo's homepage had 329 million unique visitors in February, according to research company comScore; Yahoo Mail had 282 million unique visitors in February, second to Microsoft HotMail.

In the last decade, in order to stay informed by my kid’s school, the delegation of PTAs, and my support group, I had to join Yahoo. Plenty of other people were forced to do the same. We’re all still there. It’s a big job for Yahoo, but there’s potential.

I’m going to go update my profile on Yahoo right now and give it a chance.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a reason to use Yahoo search from Lifehacker. Don't let Google have all your personal information.