Friday, August 7

Yahoo! is Becoming a Newspaper

The NY Times has an interview with Carol Bartz. One highlight is that she claims that Y! was never a search engine:
“We have never been a search company,” she said. “It is: ‘I am on Yahoo. I am going to do a search.’ ”
Danny Sullivan takes issue with her interpretation of history.

As for the future, it sounds like Y! will become an online news and media organization:
“My fortunes are tied to my pages,” Ms. Bartz said... Its Sports section, for example, has reporters producing top-notch original material ranging from scoopy news items and blogs to long-form analysis pieces.
Y! has had a long internal battle over whether it is a media company or a software company. By divesting Y! of it's biggest software systems, Ms. Bartz seems to be making the direction clear. Y!'s future will be in media, not software technology. In short, it means getting rid of developers and servers farms and hiring reporters in their place. The direction is ironic because it's a throwback to Y!'s past as a manually created directory which it abandoned in favor of technology driven search algorithms.

Considering the recent fortunes of online media companies and news organizations it seems like the wrong direction. But, maybe she can pick up all those unemployed journalists on the cheap and run a better organization. Better yet, maybe she can get users involved in creating the content for her with more tools like Y! Answers.

These are sad words to hear and I believe the wrong choice for the future of the company. However, as a developer and researcher, I'm only slightly biased. Just a little bit.

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