Monday, August 15, 2005

The walls on Yahoo's garden

The Economist for August 13 has an article titled "Yahoo's personality crisis". The article is subscription only, but here's a few excerpts:
The question is what Yahoo is ultimately planning to become that is different than its rivals .... Yahoo sees itself as a media firm ... [and] believes content will no longer be generated by a few large wealthy firms, but by users themselves.

There is a huge problem with this vision, however ... With so much content owned by Yahoo or generated within its site by users, the quandary for the firm will be: "Do you point people to your own stuff or to the most relevant stuff?" ... If Yahoo's users get the feeling they are being ushered to sites purely because they belong to Yahoo ... they will [leave].
This is basically a question of whether Yahoo goes for a closed, "walled-garden" experience -- as they and AOL largely have done in the past -- or embraces content and services available on non-Yahoo sites.

I'm more optimistic than the Economist that Yahoo will be open. Yahoo's recent features seem to trend toward embracing content from non-Yahoo sites. I suspect Yahoo will seek to have the best content on Yahoo, but will pull in good content from wherever on the Web it resides.

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