From the Wire

The CEO of Yahoo!, Jerry Yang, is all over the Internet news pages this morning.  According to one story by Eric Auchard of Reuters, Yang spoke at an industry conference Monday where he "highlighted his vision for reinvigorating the pioneering Web company and solidifying Yahoo's role as the essential starting point for Web users."  It's kind of strange given the amount of people I know who actually use the many Yahoo! products, but both the press and Yahoo! as a company would have me believe Yahoo! has become some kind of underdog in the realm they helped invent.

According to Auchard and a host of other reporters, Yahoo! is in the process of re-inventing itself as the Internet starting point.    I don't know about you, but I sincerely hope they pull it off.  Late last year, I began using the beta version of the all new My Yahoo! page and I absolutely love it.  I've got access to all of my industry RSS Feeds, multiple news outlets, the NHL scoreboard, current TV listings, up to date weather forecasts, and an incredible assortment of other modules.  Of course, I can also check my mail and chat via the Yahoo! Messenger, and all from the same window.  That's pretty impressive, so I guess that's why I don't really think of Yahoo! as the underdog of Web 2.0.  However, even when I look at Yahoo! through the still infantile eyes of Social Media, it doesn't appear to be any more the underdog.

Social Media is built on the premise of community.  Well, I would argue that Yahoo! emerged from the dot com boom as one of the most communal sites around.  Sure, they've stumbled a few times, but I attribute that to trying to be everything to everyone.  You can't make everyone like you and it's useless to try.  So, stick with what you do best and Yahoo! does community best. 

However, after reading up on Yang's speech, it seems like even the Yahoo! suits feel Yahoo!  lacks the community found on other  Social Media sites.  Now, MySpace, Facebook, and the like were created from the outset to be interactive based, online communities.  Is that not also a fairly accurate description of Yahoo!?  I admit my bias, but Yahoo! offers its community so much more than the others ever could.  They've got the profiles, messaging, and all things 2.0.  However, Yahoo! also has real news, shopping, photo storage, integrated mobility, and gobs of other features. 

Granted, I can't turn my My Yahoo! page into a Fuscia infused playground for pixies and unicorns (Yes.  That's a direct shot at some of the more hideous MySpace layouts.), but maybe that‘s what Yang is moving toward (Please, no.).  In the meantime, Yahoo! currently offers everything I need and more.  Yahoo!'s got a fan in me and I can't wait to see what the future brings.

Written by Brian Easter on January 8, 2008

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