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Yahoo's CEO, Bartz, Keen on Social Networks

     
4:34 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yahoo's CEO, Bartz, Keen on Social Networks [reuters.com]
Yahoo Inc Chief Executive Carol Bartz said social network sites are a key area of interest for the Internet media company, even as it tries to figure out how to boost its Web search business.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Bartz suggested Yahoo might seek to partner with social networking companies rather than build its own products in this area.

"I do not believe we can invent the next Facebook," Bartz said.

"It is very clear we have to do that," she said in response to a question about her thoughts on the tremendous growth of social networks like privately held Facebook and Twitter.

9:20 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yep, Yahoo answers is using twitter.

Dont know why, but these sort of quotes does not give me much confidence in her.

12:08 am on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Seb7, that may be a bit unfair, as I think Ms. Bartz would have not done well in failing to acknowledge social networks as a market space.

That said, I would agree that buying a current social network site is probably not going to help Yahoo! at all, unless the site has a profitable business model attached to it.

I do not think that she phrased the response "I do not believe we can invent the next Facebook" very well.

Perhaps a more positive and accurate response might have been "I do not believe we should attempt to invent the next Facebook, if there are strong alternatives to doing so". I am fairly certain Yahoo! could easily create yet another free social network site. The question is really, should it? I think (hope) that is what Ms. Bartz had in mind.

[edited by: Commerce at 12:09 am (utc) on Mar. 5, 2009]

2:18 am on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yahoo already has a "social network" in their Groups unit. Not that it has the same appeal as the tweets and facers. What Y! needs more than anything is a compelling business model that will generate income. What that is I can't say...and I think that uncertainty is what Bartz was alluding.
4:04 am on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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What Yahoo needs is to un-clutter itself. the age of the "Everything for Everyone" big web portal died years ago, and AOL and Yahoo are both dying as a result.

They need to clear the clutter off their front page. Decide on a "Brand" and "Mission" (and yes, normally I hate both those words) to go with, and make that their front page.

You know what I see when I visit their main page? Too many friggin options. Users DO NOT respond to having that many options. It's confusing.

Google gets that, and that's why they're the king of search. Simplicity of the front end. Behind that deceptively simple front end, they have an absolute wealth of depth and features. Most people don't use them, but enough people use each feature individually to justify the bandwidth/server load.

If Yahoo got it's head straight, it would do the same thing.

Front page of Yahoo:
.
That logo they've had forever and, in spite of repeatedly screwing the pooch, has more goodwill than bad.

Text box with a "search" button. Front and centre. Keep the various search types that they currently have.

Below that, three simple graphic boxes for:
Mail, Messenger, Weather (believe it or not, Yahoo Weather is both popular and useful)

All those links in the three (count em, THREE) left hand sidebar boxes? With a ridiculous total of 31 links? Subscript text links at the bottom of the page.

Everything else? Ditch it. Bury it. Give it it's own portal for access. Whatever. It doesn't belong on the front page.

Zero advertising on the front page. It's annoying to see moving graphical ads anywhere, and it clears the room when you put it on the front page of a portal.

Yahoo has lots of great assets, individually. They need to spin each asset into it's own little world, and stop making their frontpage look like the cover of a flea-market weekly.

Bring the user base back with a clear, easy to navigate front. Monetize the living crap out of them once you've sucked them into all the subsidiary assets.

9:16 am on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I am a huge fan of iGoogle and I think Google has really done well with this, it is a portal page, but it's a portal page that's relevant to me. Pretty much nothing on Yahoo's portal page applies to me so I ignore it.
9:25 am on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yahoo already have a social networking type site, called Yahoo! 360o, but it never really took off.
5:37 pm on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Couldn't agree with you more grelmar. Although I'd add to this - make some real investment in improving their search results.
5:35 pm on Mar 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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mmm. I believe Yahoo does have everything, they really need to jell all their services together.

I can’t believe they’re still running two email versions – when are they ever going to finish it?

Instead of creating their own social networking, I definitely think they should atleast take some ideas from it. I personally would make the yahoo inbox a central user console where most of the yahoo services can be reached.

Create a folder for videos, a folder for pictures, folder for odd files etc... Users can personally upload their files of videos, pictures etc to their email console as a place to store attachments and have their own mobile file storage. But the real feature for yahoo would be giving the user the ability to publish their files just by ticking them. So really it just an alternative connection to Y! Video, Flickr, and Y! briefcase (about to close the briefcase - no pone intended)

I’ve got lots more of ideas..!

[edited by: Seb7 at 5:36 pm (utc) on Mar. 6, 2009]

4:06 am on Mar 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yahoo is a like a treasure trove that we all, webmasters solitaire, would like to open and reshape.

And I agree with you all, it has so much potential, it's not even funny.

Another wasted online space we never talk about is MSN.com. Give me even half of these apps and content and I will be a billionaire.

6:56 am on Mar 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yahoo is a like a treasure trove that we all, webmasters solitaire, would like to open and reshape.
5:24 am on Mar 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Agreed grelmar. Excellent points.

But then ...

"...might seek to partner with social networking companies rather than build its own products in this area"
... what do they think Flickr is? Chopped liver? ;-)
11:40 am on Mar 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yah, I am agee. Social Networking Sites like Twitter and Facebook are really helful to getting Traffic.
5:28 pm on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'd have to agree about Flickr not being chopped liver. The site gets over a million photos uploaded each day, and a good percentage of those generate comments. The fact that she didn't even *mention* flickr is somewhat alarming. It's so much more user-friendly than facebook, and its API is much better as well. She may be thinking the site is too niche or something, but if so she's missing the point. That is a *huge* and active social community with momentum. Twitter's great in its simplicity. Facebook has reach, but it's a mess. Flickr is right up there with them. No I do not work at Yahoo. Just sayin'... big property to overlook.
3:21 pm on Mar 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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"I do not believe we can invent the next Facebook," Bartz said.

well said. they should focus on the position that they hold in the mind of internet surfers; they are a portal - mostly syndicated news pieces. i see hundreds of people on the social networks sharing their content daily. if they can find a way to monetize that activity they'll have a start.

maybe something along the lines of what reuters offers, where companies pay to have their news syndicated on the reuters' domain. i don't think reuters offers links back to the original stories; yahoo! may want to add the capability to link back to the original stories and sell companies on the fact that they can increase their link weighting across the search engines. they could probably also use all the metrics showing the amount of traffic they generate from the social networks as a result of so many social media users sharing of their content.