Yahoo's Efforts to Outshine Google

Source Title:
How Yahoo Got Its Mojo Back
Story Text:

Om Malik posts a great commentary on Yahoo's ongoing bid to win blogger and techie favor - i've said so before, and i'll say it again: They're doing a great job...

Look at some of the recent additions to Yahoo's mix:

  • RSS and blogs in
  • Yahoo 360 - they're own social network / sharing / blog offering
  • Creative Commons search
  • YPN (comeing soon..)
  • Y!Q
  • Continued blogger love for Jeremy and Russ

They've been pulling every trick in the book to woe the conversation their way for well over 6mts now and i'd reckon it's starting to pay off when you see Om writing about it...

Many starting to see that many of Google’s forays into anything but search have been like its search results lately - off target. Orkut is a bit of a blah! Blogger is because, blogger was! Google News and Froogle - well I think Jeff Jarvis has some choice words about that. AdWords/AdSense are great, but prone to click fraud. GMail is wonderful, but the ads on my content, no thank-you! An Autolinks brouhaha ensued

Maybe im a sucker, but i've fallen hook line and sinker for this. Im not bothered that their is motive other than a love for the people heh.. what's important is that they understand that they need to do this...

It's a facinating game to watch.


Orkut? Froogle?

Oh yeah, I remember now.

Agreed, but...

Yahoo is definitely making some excellent moves in the area outside of pure search, and I'm in that Glad-Yahoo-bought-Flickr-instead-of-Google camp. But it's a shame their pure search has gone in the toilet of late. I'm seeing more spam in the areas I search/monitor than ever before. Frightening.

Not about beating Google

Jeremy posts a long explaination of what Yahoo have been up to and where they're headed. He points to this thread and says that beating GOOG isn't what get's him out of bed in the morning :)

It's a good read. Here's a snippet from near the end:

What people have begun to notice are the early results of a more fundamental change going on at Yahoo. Some have described it as re-writing our corporate DNA. That happens in a number of ways and for a number of reasons, but fundamentally things are changing in a deeper way. New people. New ideas. New products. New markets and opportunities. New features. Even new games.


fundamentally things are changing in a deeper way. New people. New ideas. New products. New markets and opportunities. New features. Even new games.

New people, yes - my stepbrother was some kind of technical manager on Yahoo! Europe product development, but apparently the company bought some hardassed Microsoft exec who killed staff morale in certain quarters (the typical line - do twice as much in half the time). Stepbrother walked from his job, and has me believe others have, too.

So, all bright and rosey on the outside - especially the mantra 'webmasters are Yahoo!'s friends' - but if Yahoo! fail to retain senior staff with necessary technical skills, then they could have a real issue maintaining product integrity. And that would be a great way to reverse all their hard work on the PR front.

It's all about the search...

I'm really happy to see other people really starting to notice that Google search results have gone south in recent months.

It seems to me that they have overextended themselves with 80 different products/services, and that the quality of search has definitely suffered.

Kind of draws parallels to how Microsoft rested on their IE laurels once they "won" the browser wars.

beating GOOG isn't what get's him out of bed in the morning

I believe him, however he is being somewhat economical with the actuality.

Yahoo's revived interest in search is a direct result of Google, they reminded Yahoo that search is a cornerstone of the www and showed them that there could even be a few $ made.

>re-writing our corporate DNA

So hard to do it is almost impossible. In Yahoo's case though there is no need, their corporate DNA is search, just taken them a long time to come_back_to that realisation.

They are not out of the woods yet, the recent dropping of express directory inclusion is a missed oppertuinity imho. I know mikkel is fond of saying that it is unprofitable to run a directory service at a level of $200 recurring, I call BS on that. The Yahoo directory was once and can be again the best place to find "good" sites, play it the right way and webmasters will actally pay them to find the good sites.

Yahoo directory

Still working!

I was looking for local ISPs where I live the other day - Google results were totally shite.

Went to Yahoo directory and found what I wanted, but only because I knew it was there.


NFFC, screw the directory inclusion. I run one, as you know, and $200 ann-rec is MY directory's door-buster price-point. It's a PITA and I don't blame Y for tossing it.

>It's all about the search...

Yes, while maybe not 100%, search is the driving force. MSN has all but acknowledged that, too.

Kudos to Y!

I agree but...

>NFFC, screw the directory inclusion. I run one, as you know, and $200 ann-rec is MY directory's door-buster price-point. It's a PITA and I don't blame Y for tossing it.

I think a larger human review element is needed in web search, the pure tech is not able to keep pace imho. Years ago a search engine could use the ODP, now such a suggestion is laughable. What I'm saying is that Yahoo has the chance to create their own human reviewing system and get somebody else to foot the bill.

Thats part of it, the bigger part of the bigger question is the direction that search goes. I firmly believe that a search service goes to shite when the range of possible filters/penalties reaches a certain threashold. It seems to get to the point of the SE being so busy trying to penalise sites that they lose focus on finding the few gems amongst the rough.

Imho, I think the search engine that can change this foucus, and some of it is just an attitude, from catching the "bad" guys to rewarding the "good" will be the winner over the next few years. I think that ties in well with Y's background in directories and the Inktomi background [the biggest human reviewers of any SE].

So instead of running around like loonys catching bad guys, why not work hard looking for the good and "boosting" those sites in web search. Best of all get the webmasters to pay for this cost themselves.


> why not work hard looking for the good and "boosting" those sites in web search.

(Nick, check the IP# someone's posing as NFFC). You're having one of your soft-hearted moments, NF? You know very well that some of our crowd can go from good to bad and back to good again with the flip of a switch. SEs, keep the hammer, trust me on this one.


I tend to agree with NFFC on this - i think Google certainly are so busy beating back an unbeatable tide that they're losing sight of the real goal: Relavancy.

There will always be bad guys that can take short cuts to the top, at least for the forseeable future, but by focusing on the positive, rather than the negative, I think Google would quite likely see a better ROI

I did check his IP though RC, it checks out heh...


>unbeatable tide

A rising tide (almost a storm-surge), and that's precisely why it has to be algo-driven. Most of the relevancy problems we have out there now can be traced to a fundamental design flaw --link pop.

Let me ask, would a Y directory listing be worth $200 ann-rec if they used the nofollow tag?

Algo Driven

Agreed - im agreeing with the general point on focusing on the good not the bad, i should have made that clear..

I dont think it can be anything but algo driven, even with webmasters paying for it, it wont scale well with human reviewers - but the algos should be tuned to finding the good, not punishing the bad. I think that's where some of the problems lay with G right now, focusing on the wrong things...


You can't filter for good. Too many fingerprints, everything is a blur. In fact, that's largely what is wrong now, they counted a link as a good sign, a vote.

I'll leave you wussies to your knitting.


Seems even Google have to resort to using human reviewers to check for relevancy.

...recruiting part-time, temporary, home-based workers to work on a search quality evaluation project ... Candidates will evaluate search results and rate their relevance.

Yahoo using ODP

Seems Yahoo are using ODP aswell see this page which states...

Yahoo! leverages the Open Directory Project (ODP) to further improve the user experience on distribution partner sites. ODP title, description and category meta data is used to enhance Yahoo!'s relevant search results.

ODP is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web with a global community of volunteer editors. For more details on the Open Directory Project, please visit

Which is pretty interesting, as Danny says in the SEW thread linked above:

My jaw pretty much dropped when I read that. I mean, you'd think they'd at least mention that they also use their own Yahoo Directory and give it a little credibility. Instead, Yahoo is saying on that page that the ODP is bigger and more comprehensive than its own directory.

You can thank barry for spotting that, i just skipped right over that thread yesterday...

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