Archive for Yahoo

Better..Best..Bested

Posted in Brand, Internet with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2008 by manuscrypts

A long time ago, during those heady MBA days, a few of us had put together a theme for the batch – kaizen, a Japanese philosophy for constant improvement. I think it still holds a lot of relevance with regards to the way brands treat themselves. Google, while not the web’s knight in shining armor it used to be, still teaches a lot of lessons, and I remembered them when i read this article on how, perhaps the first killer app on the net – email is now being challenged by things like micro-blogging platforms.

Remembered them because, even though they were late entrants into the arena, the ‘invite’ marketing really worked for GMail, and though competitors matched or improved their storage space factor, GMail was so good, that I have never felt the need to consider an option. Thats also because while most other players stopped after they matched the space and minor additions, GMail kept improving, and still does – check this and this. And the counter on the GMail homepage continues to increase. Constant improvement.

Meanwhile, the proposed competitor to email, micro blogging, and more specifically Twitter also seems to be on a constant improvement mode. After being heavily criticised for their downtime, they seem to be getting that under control and now the rumour mills are abuzz with their proposed purchase of Summize.

On the flip side, I saw a video sharing site – Viddler.com, with some pretty cool features, like being able to add tags and comments right within the timeline. So when a scene appears, the comment appears right then. I haven’t seen too many innovations from YouTube recently. I also read a nice article recently, on how del.icio.us had perhaps lost the chance to become Friendfeed. Intriguing, right? Perhaps, Yahoo may be getting the message, and hence this radical move in the search space, where lots of new players like Yoozilla, Gloofi, Evri and possibly a dozen others are cropping up and doing amazing things that Google is perhaps missing out on. And while Google ups the ante in virtual worlds with the launch of Lively, there is Vivaty, which is ‘virtual world meets social networking’

So, is improvement a function of current size? When a player gets beyond a certain size (in terms of products, sales, manpower and so on) is it then tougher for them to improve constantly.? Does the growth curve plateau and newer, smallers start taking the shine off from the once nimble large player? If we stretch that and step back a bit, is that the reason why say, a traditional set of players like newspapers are having problems adjusting to the web (generalising here) while new entities like Instablogs or possibly soon, a Topix (a potentially cool site, you must take a look) increase in popularity and relevance?

In the future, will this constant improvement create a scenario where services will, in short time frames , change so rapidly, that they will bear only a slight resemblance to what they started out as, with only the brand name being a constant, a brand that stands for the cutting edge in that service category?

until next time, zen and the art of constant improvement

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Mobilisation

Posted in India, Internet with tags , , , , on June 17, 2008 by manuscrypts

For those in India who look forward to the internet taking a major stake in ad spends, this (via PluggdIn) cannot be music to your ears. While the internet spend has grown by over 90% in 2007, as far as absolutes go, its a mere 2% in the overall media spend. And with the total figures increasing for all media, its a case of the rich getting richer, and the poor getting much lesser than what they deserve. Ironically, The Times Group finds a place among the top spenders on the net.

In this report, mobile has been included under digital which has internet, search and mobile. I think its only a matter of time before it becomes a separate category altogether. Like i have written earlier, the mobile is poised to become the internet’s saviour in India. Which is one of the reasons why I’d consider this news very significant – Yahoo has announced a tie up with Idea and MTNL for mobile advertising as well as One search. The SMS search was launched late last year. And if we go by the interesting stuff that Yahoo has been doing globally, the space is bound to throw up some fun stuff considering that Yahoo can leverage all its content from mail to messenger to social media on this platform. (Remember the Reliance-Yahoo Messenger ad?)

Meanwhile, their friends at Google have not been idle either. Their SMS search was launched just before Yahoo. Their deal with Airtel was also well hyped and they have also launched a voice based local search earlier this year. (while on that, this one – Ubona is an interesting service in Bangalore)

Also, its not just the web giants who are fighting for the mobile advertising pie. One example would be Nokia’s acquisition of Enpocket, which already services a few clients in India. And in this context, one cannot afford to ignore the major happening in october (hopefully) and the impact it would have on internet access via mobile.

until next time, net losses

One for the elephant

Posted in India, Internet with tags , , , , , , on May 8, 2008 by manuscrypts
आप ट्यूब says Google Translator when I asked for a translation to celebrate the launch of You Tube in India. This will give you the details including the content partners that has the likes of NDTV, Zoom, UTVi, Bindass etc. I’d written earlier about the other video sharing sites. This launch should be a huge blow to all of them unless they can really do some differentiation.
All this attention for India had already made me feel very globally wanted 🙂 and then I read this in the morning about Yahoo India launching a different kind of search – Glue. What is different? Lets try an example – Aamir Khan. Unlike say, a Google/Yahoo search which gives you links, and you can make it images or videos or blogs etc at a button click, what the new Yahoo Search does is give you not just the links, but also quick facts, videos, images, (boring?) Yahoo Answers , LastFM top tracks ( :p you didn’t expect those ). Interesting, don’t you think, even though it would be significant only for celeb entities and not for people like moi? Of course, Live Search does give some images, but this goes beyond that. And for now, i think, it happens only in India, and so we’re no longer glueless in search (okay, i shall refrain) 🙂
I had this sense of deja vu, which i thought was because of a blog platform experiences of a similar nature, but I was wrong. A bit of search in my Favourites pointed me to this. Not surprisingly, from yahoo themselves, and a while back. Okay, this one doesn’t throw up Radio (Yahoo Music? for international version), but hey, its got Wiki, and you can customise your search. Take it for a spin and see if you can discover more.
I have a suggestion, considering that you’re looking at search, and the world is going social, how about including one of my fave Yahoo acquisitions del.icio.us also in this new search page? Think about it, if i have searched for some stuff on our currently used example Aamir Khan, and if i found it interesting, I’d have bookmarked it. Of course, while privacy settings do exist, a lot of this kind of content would be public. Which means that the search might also throw up (through the del.icio.us links) some interesting but not so well known links about Aamir. In addition, Yahoo also gets some mileage for Del.icio.us.
But meanwhile, sigh, all this for the 9% broadband penetration. The elephant had better get a move on, if all this interest is to be sustained.
until next time, a search engine for soulsearching 😉

Going Glocal

Posted in India, Internet with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2008 by manuscrypts

Heard here that Yahoo had launched its local search. I had been quite impressed by Yahoo Cities earlier, and had started referring to it more and more for events in the city. My only grumble was that i couldn’t get a feed for it. In addition to events, they also have news, answers, maps, travel, blogs, videos and podcasts, a forum among other things.

There were a lot of the usual suspects missing from the list above, so when i read the news, i assumed that this would be complementary, and to a certain extent, it is. I was kinda disappointed because i had thought that Cities would be scaled up to include the missing parts too.

Yahoo Local has listings of restaurants, pubs, fitness centres, and a host of other services that are a part of the regular city life. Some of the data is provided by Indiacom and users can also add businesses. The site also asks for reviews, which means Burrp, Needgrub etc will face heavy competition, especially if Yahoo promotes this through city targeted (say) email bursts. Don’t know about Burrp, but Needgrub has carrots for reviewers.

On other fronts, it also means competition for Ask Laila, Guruji, Sulekha, mycitybuddybuzzintown, just dial, Yulop, KyaKare, and Onyomo, who at one point of time was way ahead. Also, the other name that springs immediately to mind is a certain company called Google, who had gone local sometime back. I also saw another step from them recently. But i think Yahoo has upstaged them in this case. Meanwhile, I don’t use Yahoo Maps and cannot therefore comment authoritatively on the same, but given the crowd above and the kind of services some of them offer, Yahoo’s integration of Yahoo Maps may not be a quantum leap. Also, I was quite disappointed with the directions within the city that Yahoo gave (although vernacular is a good start). At least in Bangalore, this one is much better, the only snag is that nobody updates one ways!!! And that, in Bangalore, is about as dynamic as the average Indian politician’s loyalties.

But like i said earlier, I wonder why they have developed Cities and Local as two separate entities. Wouldn’t a one-stop-shop be much more useful to the average user in this case? For example, given that most events happen at public spaces like auditoriums, malls, hotels etc, and these find a listing in Local, what additional value can Cities bring to the table? News can also be easily integrated into Local, especially if it can be made sub local.

If a combo happens, what I’d be really be happy to see would be a customised search toolbar and say, a widget, that gives me local news updates as well as updates on events happening around town. With messenger, Yahoo Groups etc the possibilities, as the cliche goes, are endless.

In fact, a local website could be the perfect platform to get into social networking with a twist. The site would already have the skeleton ready – think about it – you are interested in buying a book, there are listings of bookshops, the community gives you reviews and the shop that gives you the best discount, they can even recommend similar books…. similarly with plays, music, food, and all the other things that you entertain yourself with. Instead of a global scene like Facebook, you can actually start realising the virtual life… no, i didnt mean poke!! Hold Scrabulous tournaments, go trekking, organise Flixster quizzes, find people who enjoy similar movies and actually watch it with them…. Real Social Networks, get the drift?

until next time, no more locally challenged?

Sab Kuch Mobile main?

Posted in India, Internet with tags , , , , on April 2, 2008 by manuscrypts

A few days back, it was announced that Airtel and Google had come together to launch Airtel Live.  Since I’ve not been there myself, I’ll take their word for it in terms of quality and the value for customers. Sometime back, the launch of  Google search on Airtel had helped a lot of TV channel sales guys meet their targets. 🙂

Around the same time, there was also the news of Yahoo and Reliance continuing their association with oneSearch being made available on Reliance. Yahoo Mail and Yahoo messenger were already available. Other services that users can avail of are financial news, Yahoo Answers, Flickr, Wikipedia etc. Its relevant to note that Yahoo also has deals going on with Idea, BSNL among others. At this stage, I’m guessing that this is only applicable to GPRS sets. Meanwhile, its also interesting to note that Reliance’s IPTV dreams will be powered by Microsoft’s platform, though with the dismal broadband penetration, this is a very long term game.

So, what we’re seeing is good old convergence, not just of content and platforms, but the providers also.  AOL, Rediff- anything happening yet? Reliance has been releasing its blog ads for sometime now. Its quite a neatly made ad, which keeps the message simple. And for the last couple of days, I’ve seen a new ad being aired (damn page refuses to load, though), one thats co branded- Reliance and Yahoo, and thats for messenger. Its again a very simple, neat ad, which clearly succeeds in communicating the message. There’s also some (though not very large) push being given by Yahoo online though a contest where you can win Moto handsets by logging on to YM through your Reliance mobile.

So Reliance will blog on its own and use Yahoo for services, for which Yahoo has already made a name for itself. Smart. I wonder where all this is going though? Moblogging has been on for quite sometime, without any of these guys being involved.  While this may help broaden the base of bloggers (thanks to the Reliance reach), is there a value add that I get by choosing Reliance blogs over say, blogger? The SMS, MMS also cost a bit, anyway. So, I wonder… Anyone care to educate?

until next time, a digital maze

So, which is the bigger evil?

Posted in Brand, Internet with tags , , on February 5, 2008 by manuscrypts

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or

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