flickr_logoThe only real reason that Yahoo! remains to be relevant is Flickr. Now, by relevant, I don’t mean profitable, long-term viable, or responsible for x-thousands of jobs. I mean only that “if it was gone, people would miss it.”

Flickr is the only real part of the Yahoo! portfolio that really gets it. And it wasn’t even a Yahoo! legacy, it was an acquisition.

Other than Flickr, Yahoo! will go down in history as a footnote in the Google story — the market leader that didn’t buy Google while it was up for grabs.

jerry_yangNow don’t get me wrong. Jerry Yang isn’t a dumb guy. And under his leadership, Yahoo! had plenty of good ideas. They were all just poorly executed.

Aside from Flickr, Yahoo! has made many valiant attempts at evolving. Take Yahoo! Pipes: very cool stuff, just a little too geeky.

And Yahoo! Answers: neat and fun, but not grass roots enough. I mean, it should’ve been launched outside of the Yahoo! garden, and possibly by a younger, less “experienced” team. Or perhaps left to someone else to develop and then acquired by Yahoo!.

Even Yahoo!’s Web 2.0 acquisition, MyBlogLog, was just another poorly executed idea about an over-evaluated  market niche. There just weren’t that many people who wanted to build a personality cult around their participation in the blogosphere.

MyBlogLog should’ve at least offered something more than a sidebar widget; maybe a WordPress plugin comment plugin that could (1) offer a map to the commenter’s other comments on other blogs so that (2) tracked your web-wide comments back on your profile so that (3) users had more of an incentive to stay logged in, and (4) Yahoo! would actually have some data tradeable and captlve data — i.e. if you uninstalled the plugin, a bunch of your comments were lost.

But Flickr is a site that has a very well defined market, offers them a useful service (hosting, sharing, printing, order fulfillment, community, etc.), and actually has a revenue model. I mean, I don’t even know how to use an SLR, but I’m considering dropping $25 USD/year on a Flickr Pro account because, over the last 2 years, I’ve passed the 200-image limit of a free account and I would like to share all my crappy pictures with the world.

That kind of acquisition strategy at that price-point is some kind of genius because it doesn’t even have anything to do with the technology. It’s all about people’s tendency to be digital pack-rats.

And just like some amateur like me is willing to pay for a service I only really use three times a year, the market would actually miss Flickr if it went away tomorrow. We’d lose a host, order-fulfillment solution, archive, and most of all, a veritable community. I don’t even think that MySpace can say that, anymore.

And that a kind of relevance that you can’t find in any search result.

6 thoughts on “Why Yahoo is Still Relevant

  1. The other Yahoo property worth something is, but they messed that up by making that “interesting” URI just re-direct to

    The MyBlogLog seems to have been overtaken by Disqus. In fact, i saw the MyBlogLog thing and thought it was just another “friending” thing to plug into your blog engine.

  2. I wasn’t aware that was a Yahoo property. Mind you, that’s probably how they afforded the domain

    But I think you’re right, the redirect should have gone the other way around, from to It gave it some kind of personality that made it seem more user generated and less of a walled garden.

    As for MyBlogLog, their TOS is still Yahoo:

    So I guess their still a Yahoo property, but maybe Disqus manages them. In fact, I think Disqus does something very similar to what I suggested (above) that Yahoo should have done with MyBlogLog.

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