Saul Hansell, in a multi-page New York Times story titled "It's Not TV, It's Yahoo" describes Yahoo's new media plans and a few of those leading them. In doing so, he does something that many journalists neglect. He looks at the company's overall strategy. You know, the stuff that makes us different than those we're so often compared with (Microsoft, Google, etc.):

Mr. Semel describes a strategy built on four pillars: First, is search, of course, to fend off Google, which has become the fastest-growing Internet company. Next comes community, as he calls the vast growth of content contributed by everyday users and semiprofessionals like bloggers. Third, is the professionally created content that Mr. Braun oversees, made both by Yahoo and other traditional media providers. And last, is personalization technology to help users sort through vast choices to find what interests them.

Hey, check that out... Terry's talking about bloggers.

"You are not going to have 1,000 channels, you will have an unlimited number of channels," Mr. Semel said. "So you aren't going to use a clicker to change channels."

Anyone who's been reading a lot of blogs for a while understands what an unlimited number of channels feels like. It's not "just a search problem", is it?

As the amount of new stuff out there mushrooms even more, what do you think Yahoo could to do help make it easier to find the content you want?

Posted by jzawodn at September 24, 2005 08:14 AM

Reader Comments
# Andrew Ducker said:

Something like Blogdex - letting me know what common ly viewed things are out there.

Letting me store tagged bookmarks, and then recommending more bookmarks to me based on bookmarks that people with similar tastes also bookmark.

Don't assume I want the same specifics as everyone else - assume that market fragmentation is near total, and that fads can start in seconds and last for days - help me keep track of the internet weather.

on September 24, 2005 09:41 AM
# Ray Baxter said:

Use Yahoo search on the content Yahoo groups. I'm always stunned by this. I am subscribed to 16 Yahoo groups, and 10 of them are public. Trying to search for a past post in these groups is all but impossible using the groups interface to search. Yahoo search seems to only search the names of the groups, or maybe the home pages.

This isn't just a benefit to Yahoo groups users. Yahoo groups users are creating valuable content. This content should be available to users and Yahoo can make money on serving it.

on September 24, 2005 09:59 AM
# Hashim said:

i want a feed reader that makes it easier for me to subscribe AND unsubscribe from feeds.

- tell me how often a feed gets updated
- tell me how often I click through on a feed
- suggest other feeds based on the ones I read the most

on September 24, 2005 11:10 AM
# Guillaume said:

Well I remain a bit skeptical on this product.
Should it be MSN Video, Yahoo Plus video content or AOL video content I do not like to see 10 minutes clips (when it's not actually 1'30). I find this useless.
Gimme "real" video. I doubt people are doing hundreds stuff on the internet. If you have an interesting movie people will watch it. On the contrary who's gonna spend 5 minutes on a teaser huh? Come on, video streaming is getting old, gimme good real long streaming movies. It's time to take a step forward and make it part of the daily life.

on September 24, 2005 11:28 AM
# Joe Beaulaurier said:

Ray: About Y! Groups, I couldn't agree more. The group mechanicals already in place are fantastic. But, as you point out, there's just no linkages into the public groups. Even the Y! Groups directory is abysmal (a means to find the most populated or oldest or most active groups within a search would be a huge improvement). I'd love the option for an ad-free premium version of Y! Groups as well.

Hashim: About RSS readers - have you tried to use to accomplish this? Doesn't get much easier than MyYahoo. No recommendations yet though.

on September 24, 2005 12:48 PM
# Darren said:

Surely the thing that yahoo (or whoever gets there first) should do is organize searches into subject categories chosen by the user. User writes the header category and supplies 4 or 5 key words to decribe it and the Search eng slots search results into each category

on September 24, 2005 02:48 PM
# Marshall Kirkpatrick said:

Attention data, in one form or another.

Something like what the folks at Digg are doing would be cool, and that will probably evolve naturally.

on September 24, 2005 04:36 PM
# grumpY! said:

Yahoo is going totally wrong on this in my opinion

look at the viewership for "static narratives" - tv, movies etc. permanent downtrend.

look at interractive narratives - world of warcraft etc. permanent uptrend.

look at music mashups, creative commons music, etc

people do not want to absorb, they want to participate.

now look at where yahoo is putting its money.

for terry to even talk about "channels"...? channels? terry, the web is not just a better TV.

people do not want to absorb their media passively now, they want to change it by participating in it. the media people at yahoo as far as i can tell don't grok this at all - they are all old "static narrative" types.

tell me how i am wrong. please someone tell me why the internet is going to just be a better TV where people sit drooling watching "shows"......

look at how much time people interract per month on average with a "website" - no look at use patterns on online games. no contest. sites measure use in minutes, games in hours per month or even days.

dear yahoo execs, get into MMORGs now while you can still make acquisitions, and don't tell me java checkers is online gaming.

on September 24, 2005 09:20 PM
# Rimantas said:

Well, when company wants to fight a competitor instead of caring for user/customer...

on September 25, 2005 03:32 AM
# Marshall Kirkpatrick said:

Oh, and stop working with the Chinese government to arrest their dissidents. That would make it easier for me to use Yahoo to find the content I want to find!

on September 25, 2005 09:19 AM
# Chris said:

"As the amount of new stuff out there mushrooms even more, what do you think Yahoo could to do help make it easier to find the content you want?"

If I subscribe to feed X, Yahoo should automatically recommend feeds Y and Z, based on what other people have subscribed to, similar to amazon recommendations.

The next step is to then stop reading RSS content by feed and start reading it by tag/topic/category. Yahoo would show the user the most popular stories from the topics of interest to me. This would combine stories from feeds I've subscribed to, content my friends have been reading on the topic and the most popular stories everyone across Yahoo has been reading on the topic.

on September 25, 2005 10:04 AM
# z said:

Democratization of everything brings progress. If you make more liberal way for people to express themself and enable those eho want to find it you did your task.

this is very general philozophy but sometimes people (and bussinesses) should return to roots when planing strategy and fix their course while implementing it.

on September 26, 2005 01:49 AM
# Gudmundur Karlsson said:

Yahoo needs to partner with a hardware maker to make a Tivo-like box that downloads RSS based feeds of video, no tv channels, just RSS feeds.
The Yahoo user would then subscribe to RSS feeds for his box, one per tv show.
Subscribing to a tv show's RSS feed will be equivalent to buying a book on Amazon, then using that information and the same methods Amazon uses to make book recommendations Yahoo can feed "surprise" video - (based on the Yahoo user community trends) to the users box. Users could of course also select individual programs to download to their box and this information would be used to detect trends too.

The user would only use a PC to change subscriptions, not to watch content.

on September 26, 2005 08:11 AM
# David Ottow said:

With the mushrooming amount of content, what I want is quality, not quantity. Yes, the semantic web is important, and that depends on the content creator. Equally important, however, is ratings. If an independent API allowed me to provide a quality rating to a post, and potentially add my own tags to it, then instead of subscribing to a bunch of different RSS feeds, I could subscribe to 3 star or better posts with a sample of at least 1000 votes with the following tag keywords.

Still, that depends on the reader to supply the rating and tags. I think it should be relatively easy to deduce the quality of a post simply based on clickthrough plus, using perhaps yet another API, the amount of time a reader spent on a page reading the post... The longer the better. So really, the ratings should be generated automatically based on observed behavior, and if a reader offers his own, so much the better...that's another metric right there.

on September 26, 2005 11:29 AM
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