Yahoo! announces blogging and social networking betas
By Charlene Li
Until today, Yahoo! was the only major portal site (I include Google in this group) to not have a blogging or social networking offering for its users. Well, welcome Yahoo! to the fray! I spoke very briefly with Julie Herendeen, VP of Network Products at Yahoo! (disclosure: Julie and I are old friends from HBS) tonight about the service. Yahoo! 360 will have three major components:
1) Blogs for Yahoo! users. You’ll be able to control access to the blog by designing how can see which sections. Presumably, this
2) The ability to add content from within the Yahoo! network to the personal space. This will primarily include Yahoo! Photos, but also any reviews you’ve written for local businesses, music/movie reviews, and Yahoo! Groups. This will eventually evolve to also include non-Yahoo! network content, presumably through RSS feeds (an extension of Yahoo!’s RSS service available today on MyYahoo!)
3) Be able to see reviews from people within your “social network”. This would include music, movie, and even local business reviews, with the idea that you trust the reviews more from people that you know. It’s a little unclear at this point (I was being briefed right before getting on a flight) whether this feature will be available with the launch or in a later edition.
On paper, it’s everything I would hope for from a portal like Yahoo – fully integrated into the service. It closely resembles MSN’s integration of Spaces into MSN Messenger (see my review of MSN Spaces here).
I’ve long contended that portals will be the 800 pound gorilla in the social networking space, simply because they are more likely to have social groups already as members (see my Forrester report on social networking here). The largest social networking groups can’t hold a candle to Yahoo!’s 165 million registered users.
Here’s my personal example – my entire family (brothers, parents, in-laws, husband) are all Yahoo! loyalists. While I really like MSN Spaces, it simply makes no sense to try to convince my extended personal network to port their relationships over there, even if I’m an MSN fan. So if I’m going to share photos or family news, it makes sense to do so within a service that everyone already uses.
Yahoo! 360 will be available only in beta only by invitation. Once you have an invite, you’ll be able to invite others into the network (this was the strategy employed successfully by Orkut and Gmail). The beta will start on March 29th.
So here’s your chance – send me an if you’re interested in joining my network and I’ll invite you as soon as I get my account. Your payment – tell me what you think of the service.
Update 3/17/05: I've received over 50 requests, so I'm going to have to put a stop to the requests for now. As soon as I work those already in the queue (note: I haven't gotten the beta myself yet!!) I'll post it. Also, if you requested a beta from Yahoo! and actually got it, please let me know and I'll take you off my list.