Yahoo! Schizophrenia

august 16, 2005

Here is an interesting blog posting that quotes (in full) an Economist article about Yahoo!. The article, and the people interviewed, seem to think that Yahoo! is a walled garden of content, "they're like AOL in ’95,” says Tony Perkins, the founder of AlwaysOn, an online social network for technology insiders. But, is that really true? I mean, look at the Yahoo! properties that have open APIs and that aggregate data from all sorts of other sites: 360, Flickr, Yahoo! News and My Yahoo! to name a few. I'd say that Yahoo! is actually pretty open. "Yahoo!'s 'business model is necessarily in conflict,' says John Battelle, the author of a forthcoming book on the search industry. With so much content owned by Yahoo! or generated within its site by users, the quandary for the firm will be: 'Do you point people to your own stuff or to the most relevant stuff?' If the former, Yahoo!'s reputation as a trusted internet search and navigation brand may evaporate; if the latter, its content may not earn the returns to justify Yahoo!'s investments in it. By contrast, says Mr Battelle, Google, which has chosen not to make content, does not face this conflict." Nice try Mr. Battelle, but have you seen developer.yahoo.net?