100 Days For Yahoo. In a recent earnings conference call, new Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang said that "the next 100 days or so" will be spent mapping out YahooÄôs strategic plan. So we thought we'd help with the strategic analysis.This week's Read/WriteWeb Files is investigating the
10 top Web properties that Yahoo owns. But the real question is: how to tie all of Yahoo's properties together and utilize them better? Josh Catone wrote that the solution is to make My Yahoo into an open platform, a la Facebook or iGoogle. Josh explained what can be done to create a more useful and meaningful Yahoo! for users, one that can keep people on the site and drive them to use their search engine. His theory:Yesterday I listed
Yahoo! needs to realize that the web platform is getting more and more important. Google already has, and is building a platform around their start page, iGoogle, by encouraging developers to build "gadgets" specifically for it. For Yahoo!, a platform can unify their services -- which right now are scattered -- and add utility to their page that will keep users there long enough to conduct searches. Yahoo! controls some of the hottest and most useful properties on the web, but has not figured out how to tie them together. They've started to bring some of their acquisitions under the single Yahoo! sign-on umbrella, but that still doesn't bring my del.icio.us links, my Flickr photos and my fantasy sports team management to one central location.
The good news for Yahoo! is that they already have a property just waiting to be turned into a full fledged platform: My Yahoo!
Josh goes on to recommend 3 immediate courses of action for Yahoo:
1. An Open API - why have a team of people adding only "official" modules to My Yahoo, when Yahoo could have thousands of developers doing the work for them for free?
2. Richer Applications - For My Yahoo! to be taken seriously as a platform and compete with Facebook and iGoogle, they'll need to support richer applications. That means applications that can be interacted with on the page.
3. Make the Platform Social - My Yahoo! already has 50 million users (by December 2006 numbers) -- certainly a lot more than Facebook. So it makes sense to build in a social network, rather than purchase one from the outside an go through the headache of figuring out how to get it integrated.
Yahoo Better Positioned Than Google
As Josh noted, "Yahoo! is actually in a better position to create a winning platform than Google is right now. Their start page is already established and has an enormous user base, they have a rich developer culture built around their other APIs and they can seed their platform with some of the best content on the web."
Josh's post is an excellent kick in the pants for Yahoo. I've just presented the Cliff's Notes version here, but read the whole post. Also check the comments, there are some insightful ones.
So will Jerry Yang take Josh's advice and make My Yahoo an open platform? The answer to that may effect the way you vote in this week's poll ;-)