In keeping with its trailing-edge tendencies, Yahoo! has had to play catch-up again in the Web 2.0 space. This time it’s social networking.
Let’s do a quick stroll down Yahoo’s road of broken dreams. Yahoo! didn’t do much with GeoCities when it acquired it in 1999, even though sites like MySpace and Xanga cashed in on user-gen sites much later. For audio and video, even though it acquired Broadcast.com early on (making Mark Cuban a billionaire) it doesn’t have a real video product like YouTube or an audio success like iTunes Music Store. Yahoo had to buy its way into photos with Flickr, even though it seems activity there has flattened out. And it only recently upgraded its Yahoo! Mail to become AJAX and Web 2.0 savvy. You can imagine why investors are disheartened by Yahoo! and its strategic direction.
So on that record, Yahoo! has put its entry into the social networking arena — Yahoo! mash.
One tech web site described it best — Xanga + Facebook + Wiki = mash.
It has the sparse but customizable HTML-ability of Xanga/MySpace, the modular components of Facebook, and for an interesting twist, a wiki-like ability for any of your friends (or anybody at all, if you like) to edit your profile page.
That last “wiki” feature is perhaps the only thing that will turn heads. It’s invite only for now, which makes it a pain to find folks you know. Isn’t that the whole point to be able to search and find folks? And once you’ve used Facebook’s clean slick interface, using Yahoo! mash seems like going from Prada to Walmart.
Especially amateurish is their “Mash Pet” feature which appears to be what an engineer scribbled on a whiteboard with five seconds of thought. Iconic and cute it is not.
But they might have something with the wiki idea. It’s got the right potential signal/noise ratio to make it interesting if it can handle rich media.
Send me a note if you want to be invited “in”.