Friday, July 08, 2005

Yahoo and being underfoot

Yahoo is moving quickly these days, and it appears many smaller companies are at risk of being caught underfoot.

Yahoo launched MyWeb2.0 a week ago. Unfortunately, this puts del.icio.us, a nifty social bookmark site that just got funding, in a bad position, not only competing against clones like de.lirio.us, but also competing against a search giant.

And, as Gary Price reports, Yahoo HotJobs is adding job listings spidered from other sites, creating a job metasearch engine similar to the core idea behind many job search vertical startups like Indeed.com.

Now, Steve Rubel discovers that Yahoo will soon be launching an feed search engine similar to Technorati and Feedster. Rumors popped up five months ago about a Yahoo RSS Search after some folks spotted a suspicious Yahoo crawler in their logs. It is not surprising to find that the rumor is true.

In some ways, it is good for a startup to see the entry of a big company into its area since it attracts attention and legitimizes the field. Apple's support for podcasting is a big win for any startup working on podcasts. The entry of Yahoo into social tagging supports those startups betting that tagging will go mainstream.

But competing directly against these giants is scary if you have no differentiator. Back in January 2005, in "Will Technorati die?, I wondered how Technorati would survive the entry of the search giants into blog search. Since then, Technorati has launched some interesting differentiators, including aggressively going after blog tagging and some clever features for surfacing interesting parts of their data.

The recent pace of innovation has been exciting. But, for the little guys, standing still in all this excitement risks getting caught underfoot.

Update: For yet another example, Yahoo Real Estate just launched maps of rental listings. When they take the obvious next step of doing this for home sales, the feature will be similar to the products offered by Redfin and a few other startups.

Update: For more on Yahoo HotJobs and the many startups in the space, see Charlene Li's excellent article.

1 comment:

Mind Valley said...

As an entrepreneur and founder of blinklist (another personal and social bookmarking engine) I have to completely agree with your post.

It is both exciting to see the big boys moving into this space because it validates what we have been seeing as a big new trend. However, it is also super scarry because now as a much smaller startup we will have to scramble really fast to find a point of differentiation to keep winning users.