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Yahoo! Businesses The Internet The Almighty Buck

On Yahoo!'s Acquisitions 108

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the buying-up-the-web dept.
Barry Norton writes "The Guardian has quite an insightful article about recent Yahoo acquisitions Delicious and Flickr. They quote Joshua Schachter, Delicious' creator: 'We're excited to be working with the Yahoo search team - they definitely get social systems and their potential to change the web. We're also excited to be joining our fraternal twin, Flickr!' And why Yahoo's interest? The article opines: 'It takes a lot of the hard work out of searching the web. The very clever thing about social software is that it puts the burden on to the user, not the provider.'"
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On Yahoo!'s Acquisitions

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  • It takes a lot of the hard work out of searching the web. The very clever thing about social software is that it puts the burden on to the user, not the provider.

    If this is how Yahoo sees it, they're missing the point. Yahoo (and other web-portals) can use Social Networks to learn more about their users. For instance, a certain social circle may all be members of a bowling league, so maybe show bowling ball advertisers to people that have a direct connection with the bowling league circle. The connection I see is more in delivering more appropriate content to users, not saving money on search.
    • PR...! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mister_llah (891540) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @09:05PM (#14269070) Homepage Journal
      What you see there is the Public Relations Friendly(tm) version of the advertising plan you speak of...

      When making a statement about such an acquisition, you don't say "The very clever thing about social software is that we can sell advertising at higher rates because we can tailor the ads to the market and promise more responsive viewing."

      It's not that they are missing the point, it's that it doesn't sound very good to come out and say something that sounds so self-centered.
      • The article opines: 'It takes a lot of the hard work out of searching the web. The very clever thing about social software is that it puts the burden on to the user, not the provider.'

        This led me to believe the author of the article is the one that thinks this is what Yahoo is thinking. Which is why I said if that's what they think, they're missing the point.
        • Er, I guess I drew the wrong conclusion when you said, "If this is how Yahoo sees it, they're missing the point."

          I thought you meant that literally, as opposed to "this is what the author thinks that Yahoo thinks"...

          I am still a little confused, but as long as I know what your original meaning was intended to be, and that it makes my statement rather irrelevant, I think it would be best if I stopped typing now! :)
      • Well, if you push further down the original article you'll read the following: "More important to a huge business such as Yahoo is how social search could bring new ways to cash in... a tighter focus increases the likelihood of being able to charge higher prices for ads. In the long run, social groups might emerge inside the search engine - for example, a group of doctors in Hong Kong who share their bookmarks - who could be specifically targeted by advertising campaigns."
    • I don’t see that as a way to save money on search, but more as a way to offer a different kind of search or, in trendy parlance, to make searches more relevant. Basically what you’re doing with the whole user tagging thing is getting a bunch of human brains to categorize things for you, and the structure of the system causes those brains to only work on parts of the system that they personally give a damn about. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the infrastructure needed to sustain that is actually more expensive in the long term than large clusters of servers calculating PageRank or some other algorithm.

    • by Lysol (11150) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @09:14PM (#14269105)
      Sure, social networks can mine users data and habits, that's a big deal. But I'm sure Yahoo gets that. But don't underestimate having an army of users doing your work for you. I've worked for companies that would have killed to have users doing their work for them in this way. In fact, it's almost a sure thing to say that future 'content providers' will employ more of this along with AI and not have many companies employees - if any - touching any of the input data. As a programmer, sounds good to me..
    • If this is how Yahoo sees it, they're missing the point. Yahoo (and other web-portals) can use Social Networks to learn more about their users. For instance, a certain social circle may all be members of a bowling league, so maybe show bowling ball advertisers to people that have a direct connection with the bowling league circle. The connection I see is more in delivering more appropriate content to users, not saving money on search.

      Then they aren't missing the point. To quote the article [guardian.co.uk]:

      More import

  • So how long... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by User 956 (568564) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @08:59PM (#14269039) Homepage
    So how long until Yahoo changes their name from Del.icio.us to "Yahoo Social Bookmarking Service", just like they changed Konfabulator to "Yahoo Widget Engine", Oddpost to "Yahoo Mail" and Launch.com to "Yahoo Music"...?
    • They bought it... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mister_llah (891540)
      I'd wager it won't take very long, unless they intergrate the social network into their already existing Yahoo! Groups ...

      They bought the companies... I think it's a lot more straightforward/honest to change the name.

      Yahoo! is not a holding company or anything, they are in a brand war with Google, they need to get their name out there, it's just good business.

      ===

      I don't want to make any inferences, so I will just ask... do you think that it is at all questionable that Yahoo buys these companies and changes
      • by Phanatic1a (413374) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @09:19PM (#14269132)
        I'm far less concerned about their changing the name then about them completely ruining what made the original company worth purchasing in the first place.

        Launch.com was great, until Yahoo took it over and made it completely fucking useless and annoying.
        • Re:They bought it... (Score:2, Interesting)

          by ravenwing_np (22379)
          Mr Schachter is an intelligent man with his own vision. Many companies were bidding on del.icio.us. I have faith that he joined the company that allowed him to keep as much of his original vision as possible.
        • Launch.com was great, until Yahoo took it over and made it completely fucking useless and annoying.

          I dunnoh. It seems pretty great these days, particularly with the YMU service. What is making it useless and annoying for you?
    • Don't forget about Overture... er - I mean "Yahoo Search Marketing".

      What's next... they buy out Slashdot and call it "Yahoo News for Nerds"?
    • Re:So how long... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by scsscs (669925)
      Yahoo wont change the name. Unlike Konfabulator and Oddpost, which were acquired for their technology, Del.icio.us, like Flickr, was acquired for its community. The name is an important part of the community. I do suspect that eventually Yahoo will merge logins with Del.icio.us like they did with Flickr, and that Del.icio.us data will find its way into other Yahoo services, but other than that I think Yahoo will be hands off and support Joshua Schachter's vision of what the site should be.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Delicious is spelled "del.icio.us" and Flickr is spelled "Flïck..krr" I hope you're more careful in future.
  • by PenguinBoyDave (806137) <david@davidmeyer.LIONorg minus cat> on Thursday December 15, 2005 @09:08PM (#14269084)
    With all of the services Google has been offering, YAHOO has to catch up if they hope to stay on top. Google started simple and grew. YAHOO exploded, and has never really grown. Personally, I like what YAHOO has to offer, but I spend much more time on Google.
  • Hey! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by isecore (132059)
    Don't forget Konfabulator! They bought that as well. [slashdot.org]
  • Yahoogle (Score:1, Interesting)

    by komodo9 (577710)
    This is just the next step in Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft fighting to provide more features than any other website. Google buys Blogger, so Yahoo needs delicious. Google makes maps, so MSN needs to make them also. Everyone's copying each other, and Google usually starts it. -- United Bimmer BMW Enthusiast Community [unitedbimmer.com]
    • Maps.msn.com existed long before Google maps. Sure, they probably stole the idea from Mapquest, but don't give Google credit for that one.
    • Re:Yahoogle (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Google started search? No.
      Google started free email? No.
      Google started newsgroups? No.
      Google started analytics? No.
      Google started online advertising? No.
      Google started satelite maps? No.
      Google started blogging? No.
      Google started toolbars? No.

      The only innovative thing Google has done is convince the masses a corporation is unable to do evil. And that's only innovative because nobody else has succeeded at it before.
      • Re:Yahoogle (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tjr (908724) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @09:52PM (#14269265) Homepage
        Indeed, Google didn't invent any of those things, but they sure made them better. Substantially better, in some cases. Google is known for having a lot of scientists on staff, and they likely do a lot of original CS research to make things better, but they also must have a lot of really good HCI people who know how to design interfaces, and a lot of really good engineers who know how to actually build usable software.
        • Okay, so Google's not really innovative. They don't invent things, they make them better.
          Sort of like the Japanese with manufactured goods. And what happened to the Japanese who, like Google, were supposed to take over the world?
          Their economy imploded, and couldn't recover. Why? Because they weren't able to innovate when the train of 'things to improve' ran out.

          If that holds true for Google too (and honestly I hope it doesn't) , woe unto he who owns their stock.
          • As long as Google continues to make sure it's web services are the best versions (the best webmail, the best ad utilities, the best search, etc.), then people will continue to use them. Even if Google never innovated anything else, but just continued to maintain their current product line, I suspect that they would be a profitable company as long as people are using the Web. But is Google really not an innovator? I think they are. They are currently into micro-innovation: they come up with lots of litt
        • "Google didn't invent any of those things, but they sure made them better."

          Hmmm, groups.google.com didn't get any better as time passed, it is getting worse (for use as an archive and having to read borked posts made with their client).
      • Re:Yahoogle (Score:3, Funny)

        by StikyPad (445176)
        You keep using that word, innovative. I do not think it means what you think it means.
      • How about GMail? Google Maps? Completely new and innovative. Google Desktop search, although not the first, popularized it and forced MS to come out with one.
    • You forgot:

      Yahoo makes maps, so Google needs to make them also. Yahoo has news, so Google needs to have news also. Yahoo has stock quotes, so Google needs to have stock quotes. Etcetera.

      Though Yahoo has live traffic info on their maps and Google has not copied it. Yet.
    • I liked the way you put it...Yahoogle

      And finally it's gonna end up with: Google buys Yahoo! Microsoft buys Google. World Domination and Apocalypse!

      (Note: In the above sentence G,M and Y are interchangeable)

  • One can also make the argument that the web was created by humans and social tagging (via HTML links)... this is more or less the same but not defined by a protocol standard yet.
    • I realize this isn't responsive to your post, but it got me thinking.

      If Google and CLEVER [ibm.com] (Google's theoretical forerunner -- check out Kleinberg's paper for an early near-prototype of PageRank) have taught us anything, it's that algorithms that use the linking relation as a metric for ranking web pages relative to a keyword is completely natural. Such algorithms use the linking relation to measure what amounts to popularity or agregate usage.

      In effect, they conflate authority with popularity. This is

    • I thought Al Gore did this? Perhaps we should look to him for new innovative leadership in creating new online frontiers.
  • This! (Score:4, Funny)

    by OSS_ilation (922367) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @09:23PM (#14269155)
    Is! exciting! news!
  • Yahoo and Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mister_llah (891540) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @09:32PM (#14269185) Homepage Journal
    Why is it that when Google makes a purchase, it is lauded as a brilliant idea... ... and when Yahoo makes a purchase, it is bashed and made to be a horrible thing?

    ===

    Can someone explain this to me, and in a way that doesn't involve singular instances... a broad spectrum view of why so many people are so keen on Google and so unkeen on Yahoo...

    I'd really like to know!
    • Because yahoo has a history of screwing up what they buy after they get it.

    • llah, have you been reading the blogs and news lately? some are perceiving Google as the new Evil Empire supplanting MS. Of course, a lot of people are giving them a break to prove themselves since they've just embarked on this new path to world domination. The Web 2.0 crowd (excuse that term, I hate it myself) is going kind of gaga over Yahoo lately. They're doing some cool things. I think some people do have problems with Yahoo's changing half the stuff they buy. But they haven't messed with Flickr too m
      • Well, I didn't mean in the whole of the interweb, I meant on Slashdot in particular... :)

        ===

        It seems the vast majority of Slashdotters are vehemently pro-Google (and therefore, anti-Yahoo) ... and I just want to know... why?

        Google has done its share of copying ideas from Yahoo, but when Google copies, it is called 'improvement' ...

        It is the kind of double standard that reminds me of this:
        http://yahooracists.ytmnd.com/ [ytmnd.com]
    • So far Google hasn't been directly responsible for getting a foreign journalist jailed.

      Flickr site [flickr.com]

      Reporters sans Frontiere [rsf.org]

      • Yeah, but Yahoo! Maps hasn't been being used by enemy soldiers in Iraq (like Google Earth) for coordinating troop movements and such.

        Yahoo may have given information to Chinese authorities, but it's not like they jailed the person.

        Google helps greatly with the Great Firewall, too... [you may recall several articles on Slashdot about this]

        ===

        If this is your point of contention, the reason you think Yahoo should be bashed, then shouldn't Google be bashed, as well?
        • by tommers (893816) *
          And while I was very outraged when I first read about Yahoo and the Chinese journalists, I found it much harder to fault Yahoo when I found out that the warrant did not have any information about the accusation. It could have been to track down a murderer, terrorist, or pedophile or it could have a Chinese kid wearing a shirt saying "My government are meanies". Its much harder to expect a company to deny the police information just because they don't like every single crime that country accuses people of.
          • Yahoo! is big enough that they should take a stand when they know what the issue is
            I agree that they could take a stand, but in my experience organizations take less of a "stand" the bigger they are.
      • So you think that if Google is furnished with a lawful order in a foreign country they are going to tell the government to piss off?
    • Because typically when Google makes a purchase, it is a brilliant idea... ... and when Yahoo makes a purchase, it is a horrible thing.
    • Can someone explain this to me, and in a way that doesn't involve singular instances... a broad spectrum view of why so many people are so keen on Google and so unkeen on Yahoo...

      When I go to www.google.com I see a clean, empty page with a few lines of text and an input box. When I just visited www.yahoo.com, I saw Donald Trump's face. 'Nuff said.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Yahoo! is a portal, not just a search engine. If you want to compare Google to Yahoo!'s site, pick a comparible branch of Google:

        www.yahoo.com vs. news.google.com

        Both cluttered with crap I can't be arsed reading there because I can get it skewed and triple-fisted on SlashDot instead.

        Comparing Yahoo!'s search site to Google is a little more even:
        search.yahoo.com vs. www.google.com
    • by ramsj900 (885385) *
      1)With google products I always feel like they designers are on my side of the equation trying to make my web experience I want to use google to enhance. Yahoo always feels like they are ramming content...any content if I will just spend 5 more minutes on their site. 2)Yahoo's convoluted entanglement of pages and half-baked, half-operating, offerings seem like the same old shit, not even dressed up in a pretty package. Google rolls out stuff that is cool and different in an attempt to address how users a
    • Yahoo puts advertisers first (see paid search submissions, secretly placing paid results at the top, etc).

      Google puts the users first, ads are unobtrusive and respectful, results aren't paid, etc.
  • Now if someone could just get across to Yahoo that the acquisition and crushing of All Seeing Eye over not getting their way in a lawsuit with XFire is pissing off alot of gamers, perhaps people would gain a bit of insight as to why Yahoo is generally loathed only slightly less than AOL.
  • Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft will eventually buy ALL the internet services that exist and then battle it out.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They keep adding more and more stuff into the Yahoo page
    but it justs looks too busy.

    Google - damn - the logo, the search box, some small print.
    Sweet Perfection!

    Google could do something to clean up those page designs.

    And drop any useless graphics and go easy on the advertisements.
    Especially moving GIF, Flash, talking video ads with sound, etc.
    Ads that complex are just annoying, not encouraging business.

  • Their acquisition seems reasonable to me. In this way they can target people with specific needs
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Algorithms and 'communities' used to deliver content based on previous and current interests are completely
    perverse if you think about it. What defines human intelligence? It is the capacity to grow, to change. All of us move from one thing to another in our lives. We are not cast in stone. Generally the more intelligent you are the faster you will move through lifes chocolate box. Politically you'll be a fascist at 14 where the simple rules of power seem appealing, but by your 20s you'll have discovered ot
    • Interesting post AC and even though it may just be a C&P it has relevance to this social bookmarking. In fact, I'll quote it for the people not reading at -1.

      "Algorithms and 'communities' used to deliver content based on previous and current interests are completely perverse if you think about it. What defines human intelligence? It is the capacity to grow, to change. All of us move from one thing to another in our lives. We are not cast in stone. Generally the more intelligent you are the faster yo
    • Yet we already do filter by interests. Most of us pick newspapers biased to our political views, TV channels that feed us programming that match our interests, go to restaurants that serves the type of food we already know we like etc.

      We experiment mainly in two ways: Where one preference means we come in contact with someone who doesn't share our preferences in another area - for instance meeting friends who share an interest in programming but eat different food than me might get me to try eating someth

  • The Del.icio.us acquisition by Yahoo is about to turn into one of the most innovative and powerful marketing tools since Adsense. Visitors who swarm a site will be presented with end up with highly targeted ads being served at them and advertisers will have better market segmentation as tags are grouped by user.
  • I worry that del.icio.us-- which is the best, though not the most featureful, service of its kind-- is going to get ruined by Yahoo. Of course they say they are not going to mess with it and that it won't get merged into MyWeb and Joshua can do his own thing... and I'm sure that no small part of the acceptance of the offer is based on Flickr surviving the transition pretty well (even given the balking at the Yahoo account thing)... but we've all heard this story before. Yahoo ruined Launch. AOL gutted Winam
  • Presently it seems that both Yahoo! and Google are both presently concentrating on lapping up growing and popular websites.. When will the serpents eat their tails? The question is: Who (Yahoo!/Google) is going to acquire the other(Google/Yahoo!)? I wish they used this time and effort to improve their search technologies - which seems to be stagnating - they're putting their feet into too many boats - forgetting where they came from, their roots, what made them what they are really.... ...because I still
    • I could understand skepticism about the significance of social search, but Yahoo seems to be focusing on how many of these community features can improve the search relevance experience. Since search engines are so complex and there are so many things to balance, it seems it gets harder and harder to improve an engine through tuning alone, so working on longer term concepts that improve relevancy in new ways might end up creating the next evolution in search relevancy.

      But, I do agree that over the past two
      • Aren't these acquisitions just a ploy to gain market- and mind-share? It's just that they are making it look like these would be used for improving search results.

        Social networking is a powerful marketing idea but nothing more, in my book. Search relevance improvement is out of the picture.

        Oh, for a non-commercial Web again! What I need is information, not your product...

  • The very clever thing about social software is that it puts the burden on to the user, not the provider.

    And it's very easy to send a copy to the Chinese Communist Party so that the user can be properly "re-educated."

  • Since we're talking about acquisitions, does anyone else get the impression that eventful.com is trying to get bought by Google?
  • service... StumbleUpon [stumbleupon.com]. Yahoo simply acquired the one that's currently more popular. Not for long.
  • (On behalf of a colleague:)

    If anyone else is a little uncomfortable about the web app (if not to say 'Web 2.0') consolidation going on at the moment, especially wrt Yahoo, they may be interested to know about an alternative to Flickr.

    It's called iMob [imob.org] and is run by the folks from Seattle Wireless.

    It's not polished like Flickr, and I don't know how much usage it gets, but I figure that more people using it is only going to encourage further development of the site.

    As for a non-corporate alternative to

  • I've backed up my http://del.icio.us/steevc [del.icio.us] bookmarks just in case they decide to mess it up. I've almost given up using browser bookmarks apart from a few I visit every day.

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