When I heard Scott Thompson was the new CEO of Yahoo, I thought we had this.
I hope trying to fix Yahoo doesn’t turn the latter into the former. So I’m going to help. You want to fix Yahoo, here’s an easy place to start.
News. Stay with me here, Scott. I’m serious.
I’m neither a Yahoo lover nor a Yahoo hater. I don’t and won’t use it for email or web searches. I do like (and pay for) Flickr, but that’s not a big enough application to be a flagship product.
What I like best about Yahoo is its news. For whatever reason, I find myself reading current news at or via Yahoo more than any other source. Either via My Yahoo or the news headlines I have programmed onto my start page. I just like the way Yahoo news stories are presented and formatted.
Much of my news was, for many years, consumed via My Yahoo, until I capitulated to iGoogle (and specifically the Google News widget there) sometime last year. But still, My Yahoo is much more user-friendly. Among other reasons, because it doesn’t put your stock portfolio in micro, barely readable fonts. But like many Yahoo products, it seems like it’s being ignored into oblivion. In fact, much of Yahoo news is being ignored.
For example, at the bottom of many Yahoo news pages are so-called “Editor’s Picks” articles. I noticed these hard to miss British flag boots months ago.
The problem is that the same story has been an “Editor’s Pick” since June 23, 2011. Those are some lazy editors.
It doesn’t give me much incentive to click through to those picks. Not very sticky.
I think Yahoo could be a real player in the personalized news aggregation space, if it would devote some time and resources to My Yahoo and its news offerings. Microsoft can’t market its way out of a wet paper bag when it comes to online offerings. Apple doesn’t care about being an online news source. Neither does Amazon. The Huffington Post isn’t very appealing, presentation wise. iGoogle is butt-ugly. Google News is nice, but not very customizable. Contrary to what some people would like you to believe, Twitter (follow me via that link) sucks for news (actually in general, including for news). There seems to be an opportunity here.
So, c’mon Scott, go for it.
And as my payment for putting you on the right track, please don’t kill off Yahoo Pipes. Still the most under-appreciated thing on the internets.