Sep 292014

Yahoo started as a directory in 1994 and since has evolved into much more. After 20 years of service, however, Yahoo has decided to hand its own directory walking papers.

Because of competition from Google and decreased demand for what its directory has to offer users, Marissa Mayer has decided to pull the plug without offering a life line.

According to Yahoo, “Yahoo was started nearly 20 years ago as a directory of websites that helped users explore the Internet. While we are still committed to connecting users with the information they’re passionate about, our business has evolved and at the end of 2014 (December 31), we will retire the Yahoo Directory. Advertisers will be upgraded to a new service; more details to be communicated directly.”

Yahoo is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.” RIP Yahoo Directory.

Sep 242009

On September 28, 2009, Y!OU And Yahoo will be officially unveiled to the public. The theme of the new worldwide marketing campaign is to put you, the web surfer in the middle of Yahoo’s new offering.

Simplification and personal relevance are the keywords that Yahoo is using to describe its new offering. More relevant search, simpler photo sharing, high quality video calling for Yahoo Messenger and a new mobile Yahoo homepage are what will be leading the marketing campaign.

According to comScore Yahoo properties took second place behind Google properties in regard to unique visitors in August 2009. But, Yahoo search has dropped dramatically and Microsoft Bing has come on strong since the end of July to surpass it as the number 2 search engine.

One wonders whether Y!OU And Yahoo will be enough to keep the company growing and keep another Microsoft deal at bay? You or Y!ou’ll find out in just a few days whether the hype is all about you or not.

Jan 122008

On the Sponsored Results part of their Finance pages, Yahoo is now testing images with their PPC ads. According to Search Engine Journal, these images are being supplied by ImageAdvantage. By putting these test ads inside the Yahoo Directory, they will be able to run live tests before rolling this feature out to the entire network.

At this point it is unclear whether or not this is part of the Yahoo Publisher program, which is still in beta or part of Panama, which is available to advertisers. Yahoo acquired an ad serving company called Blue Lithium in the Fall.

Blue Lithium serves image-oriented graphical and Flash banner ads. As of the beginning of this year, Blue Lithium has been offline due to their integration with the Yahoo system, which leads one to speculate, whether the Yahoo image PPC ads are part of this integration?

No matter, as perhaps Yahoo has learned from Widgetbucks, Chitika and a few others who have proven that having product images next to text ads generate clicks. And, clicks mean revenue for publishers and sales for advertisers and that’s what this lucrative game is all about.

Dec 082005

When Yahoo lost the bid to acquire Voice Over IP service provider Skype to online auctioneer, eBay, it decided to taken on Skype head on.

Yahoo has decided to add on some Skype-like services to its Yahoo Messenger service. Like Skype, Yahoo Messenger already offers free worldwide PC-to-PC calling.

Yahoo has decided to add a new paid service to its offerings. According to a Yahoo press release, “Yahoo’s new ‘Phone Out’ option enables users to call regular and mobile phones for one cent per minute in the United States and two cents a minute to about 30 other countries, including calls to Argentina, Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Korea.” Users can also sign up to receive unlimited calls from anywhere for about $30 per year.

By comparison, Skype is offering PC-to-phone calls for 2.3 cents per minute and a SkypeIn phone number costs about $35 per year. By not acquiring Skype in the bidding war with eBay, Yahoo saved itself $2.6 billion last October.

One has to think that this savings has been passed along to the Yahoo customers, in turn, saving them a pretty penny. And a penny saved, is, uh, well you know the rest.

Oct 172005

Yahoo has announced plans to build a vast archive of copyrighted books, something no other search engine so far has succeeded in doing. Yahoo is partnering with the Open Content Alliance to provide public access to digital versions of books, academic papers, video and audio. Yahoo will provide the search capabilities to the Open Content Alliance website.

According to the OCA website, “The Open Content Alliance (OCA) represents the collaborative efforts of a group of cultural, technology, nonprofit, and governmental organizations from around the world that will help build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content. Content in the OCA archive will be accessible soon through this website and through Yahoo!”

Much of the material for the website will be submitted directly by publishers and authors. Only copyrighted material that has the express written consent of the publishers and authors will be indexed, however, which means initially the archive will be lacking much of what brick and mortar libraries can offer. But the intent is a rather novel one favored by writers, authors and publishers in that it is permission driven.

Other participants in the Alliance include the University of California and the University of Toronto, Adobe Systems Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co., the Internet Archive, and O’Reilly Media Inc.

Aug 032005

Why should Google have all the fun, and all the bucks? Yahoo has decided to roll out its contextual advertising program today in order to compete with Google AdSense head-to-head. What this means is that publishers will be able to display Yahoo advertisements on their websites in lieu of Google ads.

When I say, in lieu, I mean that according to both Google’s and Yahoo’s terms of service agreements, each requires exclusivity for displaying ads on a website. Neither one, it seems, wants to feel claustrophobic and fight for ads space with each other in close quarters.

Like AdSense, the Yahoo Publisher program will let a webmaster display ads relevant to the content of the website, display public service announcements when none of these ads are available and track the earnings throughout the day. Unlike AdSense, though, Yahoo intends to offer some additional features not yet integrated into Google’s advertising program. According to Yahoo, this means publishers will be allowed to, “Integrate other Yahoo! services into your web site, including Add to My Yahoo! (RSS), Y!Q and much more to come.”

For advertisers this means yet another method in which to target their ads to a specific market. For those publishers, especially those who are concerned about carrying all their eggs in one basket by only carrying Google Adsense on all of their websites, the Yahoo Publisher Network will offer a viable alternative to diversify advertising assets. In today’s Internet publishing world, diversification is key to survival, so the YPN network will help many publishers survive and thrive for the foreseeable future.

Jun 202005

Search engine guru, Danny Sullivan called for search engines to issue “weather reports” at Search Engine Strategies in San Jose last summer, informing the public on when an update to their search engine algorithms is about to occur. Yahoo has taken this to heart and is offering up their second Yahoo Weather Report concerning at update that is occurring tonight.

According to Tim Mayer of Yahoo Search, “This is our second weather report. We will be making changes to the index tonight so you should be seeing more of your pages in the index as well as some fluctuations in the rankings of results from previous searches.”

It is commendable that Yahoo is sending out a Weather Report or a “Warning Shot” as I like to call it to the search community. Not all other search engines have followed through and those who do, mostly do it after-the-fact once speculation of an update begins on the message boards. With Yahoo setting an example of doing the little things to keep being customer focused, hopefully some of the other search engines will follow this lead.

Jun 132005

A Japanese man from Osaka was caught phishing in Yahoo waters recently. Instead of surfing the Internet, Kazuma Tabano was busy setting up look alike websites, trying to reel in naïve customers. The Japanese man built a Yafoo site that was nearly identical to the Yahoo Japan website. Now while Mr. Tabano was arrested by Japanese police, he wasn’t charged for phishing without a license, but rather for copyright infringement since his Yafoo logo clearly resembled the Yahoo logo.

According to The Register, “It is suspected that the man gained personal information on between 20 and 30 people who entered his site. The data was transmitted via mobile phone to the man’s PC. It isn’t clear what the phisher intended to do with the data. Police suspect he may have illegally entered the real Yahoo auction site by pretending to be one of his victims. The suspect is in charge of data input and software operations at a company, police said.”

Phishing in Japan is a fairly new phenomenon with only a handful of sites set up in the last 2 years. In the U. S., however phishing victims have cost banks and credit card companies an estimated $1.2 Billion in 2003. Some of the more common phishing sites have been those that have been set up to look like an eBay or Paypal site, asking email recipients to verify address, phone number and credit card information.

So, remember when it comes to phishing, don’t take the bait. If you do, however, wriggle off the hook quickly, report what has happened to your own bank and credit card companies and then contact the Internet Fraud Complaint Center so that you can help others to stay off the line as well.

May 272005

According to an Associated Press story, an Oregon woman is suing Yahoo! for $3 million over naked photos that her ex-boyfriend had posted and which Yahoo! failed to remove in a timely manner. Ms. Barnes, a 48-year-old woman from Multnomah County, claims her ex-boyfriend started posting “unauthorized profiles” in December that included her email address and work phone number.

According to the Associated Press, “Moreover, the former boyfriend engaged in online discussions in Yahoo chat rooms, posing as Barnes and directing men to the profiles, the suit claims. Due to these profiles and online chats, unknown men would arrive without warning at plaintiff’s work expecting to engage in sexual relations with her,” the suit says.

The AP goes on to say, “Barnes sent Yahoo a letter in January saying she did not create the profiles and wanted them removed. Additional attempts to get Yahoo to remove them in February and March failed to prompt a response, claims the suit.”

Does the search engine giant, Yahoo! actually want these kinds of legal woes? Their behavior suggests that perhaps they do. Yahoo! must know that it would be very easy for a person like Ms. Barnes to do some Internet searching for “character defamation” and happen upon a site such as Personal Injury Lawsuits to find out more about libel, slander and personal injuries that include compensation for embarrassment and other kinds of emotional pain and suffering.

And the kicker is, that she probably conducted all of her Internet legal research on Yahoo!

May 232005

Yahoo! has decided to open up a contest for the top hack of its new Y!Q product. The Y!Q Challenge offers $5000 to the Webmaster with the most innovative use of its new context search technology on his or her website. According to Yahoo! the entries will be judged on:

  • Relevance
  • Prominence
  • Placement
  • Usefulness

According to Yahoo! they are running the contest “to encourage publishers to use Y!Q on their sites. By implementing Y!Q, publishers will have a head-start in using one of the many new offerings that Yahoo! has planned for publishers in the near future.”

Its great to see a large company like Yahoo! engaging the public in such a personal way in order to improve their products. By conducting a contest (or focus group) Yahoo! stands to gain a great deal of knowledge of what the public wants and how the public would best make use of their products. Donald Trump, in his Apprentice Television show, would surely approve of such a method of finding out what the public wants and then giving it to them.

Its good also to see Yahoo! engaging the hacker community, to help them use their talents for good for the benefit of everyone. MSN early this year decided to engage the same community to bang on their search product and offer advice in order to help develop a better mouse trap. The only thing missing now is Google following suit and engaging the public in the same manner.

No matter what, though, Yahoo! has taken another great step in engaging the public to participate with their product offerings (A few weeks ago, Yahoo! also started offering a free 5-page website to small businesses in their Local Search program). So, look forward not for the new technological offerings from Yahoo! but also innovative ways in which Yahoo! keeps using to get the word out and engage the public in all it has to offer.