Over the last couple of months, I've been helping some of the folks in Yahoo! Search figure out how to start opening up, reaching out, listening, and generally get more in touch with those outside of 701 First Ave in Sunnyvale, California.

The first visible result of that is the Yahoo! Search blog that we launched today. While it lives at ysearchblog.com, you can also reach it via search.yahoo.com/blog if you're so inclined.

As you might expect, the first post is by Jeff Weiner, the SVP of Yahoo's Search and Marketplace business unit. In other words, the search buck stops at his desk. Over the coming weeks and months, other folks from the Search team will make appearances to talk about who they are, what they do, and so on. Who knows, maybe I'll even show up there too.


I'm sure there are a few questions floating around out there, so let me try to guess some of them in advance and provide answers:

Q: What software are you using?

A: MovableType, just like the site says, lightly patched to work with Yahoo! Web Hosting. And, yes, we paid for it. :-)

Q: What about comments?

A: Comments are enabled and we really, really want to keep it that way. If folks abuse the comments, however, we might have to moderate, shut 'em off, or something else. That would suck, so stay on topic and don't spam. We don't require an e-mail address, name, or URL. They're all optional. But it'd be nice to know your name if you leave a comment.

Q: Trackbacks?

A: Of course.

Q: RSS feed?

A: Of course: http://www.ysearchblog.com/index.xml. Or you can Add it to My Yahoo.

Q: Is this just going to turn into a lame PR blog?

A: I don't expect that to happen. PR does not own the blog. And it'd be a wasted opportunity if it was just another PR outlet.

Q: Will you link to competitor's sites or those you don't agree with?

A: I hope so. I've tried to impress upon the folks involved that running a weblog is about openness and that it's a two-way street. Bloggers can often smell PR influence a mile away.

Q: So PR's not involved?

A: Of course they are. Someone has to keep an eye on the wannabe bloggers. They're not going to be re-writing all the posts, if that's what you're worried about. They know that blogs are not press releases, and hopefully this will help them better understand this brave new world.

Q: Will individual employees get their own corporate blogs like they do at Sun, IBM, or Microsoft?

A: I don't know. Let's take this one step at a time. (I'd personally love to see that happen.)

Q: Who do you expect to read it?

A: It'll probably be a mix of journalists, bloggers, power users, and random other folks. Time will tell.

Q: You didn't answer my question.

A: That's not a question. But leave a comment if you have an unanswered question about the blog.

Go Easy

With that out of the way, let me point out that this is a new thing for Yahoo. There will likely be a few kinks and we'll likely screw up a few times. Cut us some slack.

I hope that several other initiatives follow the blog in the not too distant future.

If there are topics you'd like to see show up on the blog or folks you'd like to see writing, post a comment or Trackback to let us know.

Reaction Elsewhere

Posted by jzawodn at August 18, 2004 04:09 PM

Reader Comments
# Anil Dash said:

Nice work! They'll probably grow into having a more human voice over time, but I'm glad you were able to convince them to do it at all. It's sometimes a hard sell to do a public blog in a big company.

on August 18, 2004 04:20 PM
# Randy Stewart said:

hmmmm.... MT lightly patched to work with Yahoo! Web Hosting. Any shot we'll see this for the rest of us? I'd been considering installing MT on my Web Hosting account and then discovered that it didn't work. Any thoughts? Or alternative blogging software from the big Y!?


on August 18, 2004 04:50 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


Thanks. I also hope we can keep the human in and the corporate out--at least as much as a public company can.

on August 18, 2004 05:00 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


Yeah, I'm gonna talk to the web hosting folks about that. For me, this was an interesting execise in eating our own dog food, and I wasn't happy with the flavor in a few areas.

I'd love to see the hosting side made easier for techie folks and offering an optional MT install.

We'll see...

on August 18, 2004 05:02 PM
# Yoki said:

Congratulations on convincing the guys and girls in PR to let Yahoo run this blog. PR people are quite often clueless and staunchly unwilling when it comes to blogs.

on August 18, 2004 05:53 PM
# Steve Rubel said:

Jeremy, as a PR guy I'd love to see Yahoo!'s customers blogging. It would be great if this site became the defacto community where anyone can come to find out how customers are using Yahoo! Search in creative ways to find their long lost aunt, or the 1959 baseball card they longed for, etc. I hope Yahoo! PR will use this site as a listening device, not just a mouthpiece. Seems like it's built that way.

on August 18, 2004 06:07 PM
# Hashim said:

open comments? Whoa, not even MT does that on their own sites.

on August 18, 2004 08:25 PM
# Nino Marchetti said:

Awesome job helping to get this Yahoo blog online Jeremy. One more thing for me to look forward to posting about...

on August 18, 2004 09:12 PM
# echeslack said:

Can they really avoid it turning into a PR-blog? I don't think that a lot of the companies that setup weblogs have a real use for them. In a lot of cases, I think the purpose really is to put a human face on the company, which I guess is important, but could easily be done in other ways.

I'm not trying to sound negative, I think it's a great idea in many cases. I guess my question is just: what is going to be on the blog that I can't get elsewhere? Is some R&D being made more transparent, etc?

See my blog link for my thoughts on company weblogs.

on August 18, 2004 09:44 PM
# Victor said:

for a few seconds I thought Yahoo launched a blog search service... Maybe that's something Yahoo needs to think about.

on August 18, 2004 11:41 PM
# C.K. Sample, III said:

Any conscious reason for the URL ysearchblog.com = "Why search blog?" Just wondering...

on August 19, 2004 07:04 PM
# Yogi said:

MovableType? Sure will be fun if the site gets busy or it's time to upgrade! Word Press is waayyy better.

It Yahoo now known as "Y"? Or would that be Y(tm)?

on August 20, 2004 12:38 AM
# Seth Finkelstein said:

Google's blog itself has always struck me as PR-ish. I think anything so watched and so associated with a company itself can't help but become PR.

Let's put it this way - the acid test of not-PR will be if Google and Yahoo could get into a good old-fashioned flame-war on their respective blogs :-) :-) :-)

on August 22, 2004 02:12 PM
# Dirk said:

I too think you can't help but become PRish. It gets more naturally the more ranting and bashing is included, which will never be allowed by the PR division.

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