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March 16, 2005

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 email 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.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Yahoo! announces blogging and social networking betas:

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Comments

Lemi4

I tried to send you a Haloscan trackback ping, Ma'am, but it failed; here's a permalink to my blog post:

http://lemi4.blogdrive.com/archive/121.html

Tristan Louis

I've also posted a review of the service on my site (at http://www.tnl.net/blog/entry/Looking_around_Yahoo!_360 ). One thing that concerns me, however, is the fact that Yahoo! is claiming copyright on your content in the RSS feed. See the entry for more info on this...

Joe

Dear Ms. Li,

I would like a Yahoo 360 invite.

Thank you.

Online Poker

Hi, just popped in here through a random link. Cool site, keep this good work up :-)

Online Poker

Leonard

Why does the SkypeAPI provide the potential solution that Yahoo 360 and others are unable to match. I've been in Yahoo 360. (as in http://amorphis.tuonela.info). I even approved one buddy, so I've not made it a big test case. I remain convin..

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