I was looking forward to the Yahoo Web 2.0 Strategy session as there have been a lot of questions about Yahoo’s strategy since they missed the YouTube deal and haven’t acquired Facebook. While I think it’s pretty strange to really judge their strategy based on those two things alone, I was hoping this session shed some light. It started off a bit slow as an overview, but delivered some interesting things at the end.
Yahoo and Social Media
Eckart Walther, the Vice President of Product Management for Yahoo! Search led off. Eckart went through a powerpoint that gave some basic definitions of social media and how Yahoo feels about it. He pointed out that Yahoo’s mission is to “Enrich people’s lives by enabling them to find, use, share, and expand the world’s knowledge.” Obviously, social media and much of what Web 2.0 seems to be about fits their mission well.
He also defined it as “Anyone with a XXXXX is now a XXXXX.” So, anyone with a keyboard is now an author. Or anyone with a camera is now a photographer. Anyone with a computer is now a publisher. Basically, users are now empowered.
He broke down what they’re seeing in four categories:
1. User generated content. Flickr is an example of this as users generate all the content.
2. User organized content. This is where del.icio.us comes in, as it’s really about organizing URLs through tagging.
3. User and publisher distributed content.
4. User developed functionality. Mashups like combining Yahoo Maps with Flickr to create geotagging.
He ended with pointing out that Yahoo is the world’s largest community.
Integrating Advertisers with Web 2.0
Next up was Colin (I think) Fishburn. He’s the Director of the Client Strategist Group which means he’s responsible with helping integrate advertisers into Yahoo’s social properties. Colin led off with a bang by declaring that “the killer app of the web is really other people.” He pointed out the media evolution that’s occurred from moving from people consuming Mass Media (newspapers, broadcast TVs), to consuming My Media (My Yahoo! and personalized web apps), to We Media (social applications of Web 2.0).
When they look at brand partnerships on these properties they want them to be:
1. Great for the users
2. Great for the advertisers
3. Great for Yahoo!
This limits what they can do, as they don’t think it’s great for users to slap advertising all over communities like Flickr and del.icio.us. Instead, he gave a couple of examples of what they’ve done:
Nikon Stunning Gallery
Nikon Cameras created a web site using the Flickr APIs to show off images that were being taken with their cameras. Users tag pictures with nikonstunninggallery to have them show up on the site. Nikon then took the top 16 submitters and gave them a new camera they had released, then used the images those submitters took with the camera in national ad campaigns where their pictures were used in magazines such as National Geographic and others. I thought this was a great example of a creative way to partner with an advertiser in a social media context.
This is an organization and site based on working to end poverty. They used Flickr, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Answers, Google Video (strange but true), Yahoo! Maps, and other services to power all the various parts of the site. Basically, the site is an organized mashup of Yahoo services aimed at a particular audience. And yes, Bono is involved.
Yahoo! teamed up with Pepsi to create an online show that highlights nine funny/interesting videos out there on the web. They integrated Pepsi throughout the site and built it together in a collaborative project.
Nissan Live Sets on Yahoo!
Yahoo! Music teamed up with Nissan to create a new version of the AOL Sessions concept where musical artists come and record a special set of songs. The difference is that Yahoo! is also involving the fans by bringing in 250 fans of the artist and giving them Nokia phones enabled with Flickr access so the fans can take shots during the show that get added to the Nissan Live Sets site. Of course the video of the performance can be watched, songs can be downloaded, and they cut an EP from it as well. It’s very new and they are very excited about it.
What’s interesting is all these things had flown under the radar for me, and I think Yahoo! is that way right now. Not everything they do gets spread all over the blogosphere like Google, and they have a lot of interesting content initiatives going on all over the place. While it might not get as much buzz, I think Yahoo! is really delivering some applications that general consumers will be heavily involved with.
What Publishers Want
Next up was Josh Meyers, Senior Director of Yahoo! Publisher Network and GM of Domain Match.
Josh focused his talk on the four main things publishers want:
The Yahoo! Publisher Network vision then is to satisfy these things and enable consumers and businesses of all sizes to realize the full value of publishing.
How do they do it?
1. Content – Yahoo has a broad set of content offerings they can offer to publishers. The One.org site is an example of using Yahoo! content to add or create a site with. Personally, I think this is a huge opportunity that they need to package better and include in the Yahoo! Publisher Network interface. As a publisher, how can I get Yahoo Answers content integrated on my site? Yahoo Groups? Flickr feeds? Yahoo Videos? Package this up and put it in the interface. This would be a way Yahoo! could differentiate from Adsense and it’s offerings as they own far more content than Google.
2. Audience – Josh mentioned My Yahoo! and other ways in which Yahoo! could actually drive audience to publishers. Besides My Yahoo! I couldn’t think of any other examples of them pushing audience to publishers. I guess one could consider del.icio.us and MyWeb as Yahoo auidence that ends up clicking through to publishers. Again though, these opportunities should be packaged in some way to make it easy for Yahoo! Publisher Network publishers to take advantage of it.
3. Monetize – Yahoo! Publisher Network is what monetizes for publishers. They have their normal contextual ads, sponsored search, and even provide display advertising for some publishers. I think the “Panama” Yahoo Search Marketing platform update should help bring more advertising dollars into their network.
4. Control – Allow publishers control over their advertising, and they also are counting on the Yahoo! Developer Network and APIs to help give publishers control to build tools.
That sums it up. What stood out to me was the brand advertising integration examples and the opportunity Yahoo! Publisher Network has if they can package their tools and content to be used by publishers in better ways.