Is Yahoo Crazy?

Yea you read that right. I think they are just nuts in certain ways. First I want you to go to yahoo and try to run a search with their blog search engine. Good luck with that it is almost impossible, now if you do a news search you will see some blog search results and you can then did deeper but you would have to know that first. This is one I have been struggling with for a long time, why would you go out of your way to build an awesome blog search tool and then burry it so no one can find it?

Oh and it is not like no one has an interest in it either, one person has even created a piece of code to allow you to search it directly. You can get more info on that application here, and as he points out if he can do it certainly the experts at Yahoo could as well.

Now we have yet another thing Yahoo has done that makes about as much sense as putting your lamp behind the door of a closed closet then wondering why you have poor lighting in your house.

On August 7th Yahoo announced Yahoo! Search Builder, some thought it was great, some greeted it with a yawn stating that is was pretty much a copy of Eurekster’s Swickis yet others such as the Comtech News Team expected something to be there that is sadly missing.

What did we expect to see when this product came strait from Yahoo?

Simple, a way for Yahoo Publisher Participants to link this new Search Builder to our Publisher accounts. Publisher for those who don’t know is Yahoo’s answer to Googles very successful AdSense Program. This allows site owners to display content based ads on their sites and earn revenue when their visitors click on those ads.

One feature both Google and Yahoo have done for their publishers is also allow them to place a simple “search box” on the site as well. When a visitor uses it they end up on Google or Yahoo with a list of results just as if they had searched directly on Google or Yahoo. Yet they website owner is still rewarded because if the user then clicks on any of the ads on the results page they again receive a cut of the ad revenue.

This has worked well for what could be termed a “Power Player” such as major ISP or News Site that has tens of thousands or loyal visitors or more. For instance a Internet Service Provider might create a standard “start page” for their customers and include such a search box to create a significant source of revenue with that captive audience.

However, both Google Adsense and Yahoo Publisher are not really powered by a few power players. The backbone of the programs are tens of thousands of webmasters focused on interesting niches from everything from poker, to fishing, to technology, to flowers to just about anything you can think of. Now what incentive does a visitor to such a site really have to use a “search box” that is just a mirror of Yahoo? Not much if they wanted a Yahoo or Google result they would just go there and do the search.

Yet Yahoo Search Builder allows for so much more. Let’s say we here at comtech news wanted to create an MP3 based search engine to keep our visitors up to date with MP3 and digital music news. We could dig in and find the 25 best sites that have up to date information about MP3 news. We could include no spam sites, no manufacture sites of a promotional nature and keep it soely a group of news type information.

Of course that is exactly what a reader of our Ipod – MP3 Section would want to see. These results would be very interesting and relevant to our visitors and they would come to realize that if they wanted MP3 info about the latest and greatest to come to our site and use our niche engine.

Nice right? Sure but get this Yahoo has provided us NO WAY to link those results to our Publisher Account so in effect we would be giving them our search traffic for free. Now we like Yahoo but not that much!

Now if this isn’t bad enough I think Yahoo is really missing the bigger picture. Let’s say I have 4 sites in a particular niche and create slightly different Yahoo Custom Searches for all of them. Of course I include my sites in the list of 25 and some times a visitor will search on one of my sites and end up on another and continue to refine their results. Each time they run a search the Yahoo Ads will be based on the results of the search and that will make the Ads MORE RELEVENT to the user.

So who benefits from this?

First – Yahoo because more people would use the tool to send them qualified visitors of course in time the ability to help their users target demographically from this source alone is mind blowing.

Second – The publisher who would have a powerful new way to improve and further monitize their site.

Third – The Visitor who has a way to find more info and get more out of their web experience.

Fourth – The advertisers who will get very targeted traffic from users who have run very specific sources.

In short everyone wins. That is why my post has been titled “Is Yahoo Crazy”, it is hard to understand why a company doesn’t do something that is good for everyone involved including them.

Worse, if you visit the Post on the Yahoo Search Blog Announcing the Launch of Search Builder and look in the comments you will see a ton of questions about the new application. You will note that Yahoo Company Employees have answered just about all of them. Well, except you guessed it the visitors including me who have asked about linking this application to our Yahoo Publisher accounts. No answer in fact we have just been ignored as though such questions were never asked.

If you participate in Publisher please go to the Search Builder Post and ask them the if they plan to allow Publishers to monitize this application and if not why not.

In many ways Yahoo does a better job then their huge rival Google but many times they just don’t publicize their efforts enough or in this case they don’t quite finish the job. That is why I am asking, Is Yahoo Crazy or is there another hidden explanation.

So what are you thoughts on things like Yahoo hiding their own Blog Search and providing no incentive for their many tech savy Publisher partners to utilize their new Search Builder?

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