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Yahoo! Has Me Worried!

June 20th, 2008 by Colin Carmichael

The Future of Flickr and others…

yahooThe recent rash of departures from the senior ranks of Yahoo! has me very concerned. I’m not worried about the future of the Yahoo! brand, since it could go away and I’d hardly notice (with one exception).  It’s the social media platforms that have been acquired by Yahoo over the past 3-ish years.  I have come to rely on these tools both personally and professionally.

It began, of course, with the ongoing shuffling of senior executives – and I didn’t pay much attention. And I really didn’t care about Microsoft trying to buy Yahoo, or Google serving ads on Yahoo – none of that affected my day to day and I have limited bandwidth to process the inanities like that.

Then Jeremy Zawodny announced he was leaving. As far as I’ve been able to tell from the outside, Yahoo’s strength is that middle layer of passionate mid/senior types – the geek layer. Folks like Jeremy, Caterina Fake, Stewart Butterfield, Joshua Schachter. You’ll notice that everyone in that list except Jeremy joined Yahoo through acquisition – and they’ve all left recently, too. Uh-oh.

So what is to become of Flickr, del.icio.us, and the other social media tools and platforms Yahoo has acquired? Will they survive in a crumbling empire that is scrambling to figure what it does, exactly?

In my view has an opportunity to become THE social media platform – a federation of social media tools and platforms like Flickr, del.icio.us, Pipes and Live (video). Next step? Buy Twitter. Seriously. A federation of those five tools inter-operating under the Yahoo! umbrella but maintaining their functional and brand independence would be a social media powerhouse.  Just for fun, add Automattic to the mix and you’ve got six best-in-class social media tools working together – it’s hard to see how that could fail.

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2 Responses to “Yahoo! Has Me Worried!”

  1. Hey Colin, hope all is well!

    While I think there will be some rough waters, even if Yahoo! starts sinking, won’t someone buy it? As you note, there’s a lot of social value there. So, Yahoo! won’t be a search engine, but a social platform. Still there’s money there to be made!

    Know any wealthy VCs we can talk with?
    –Mike

  2. delicious.com could have easily added minor functionality to mimic what twitter does (plus tagging!) … but they didn’t.

    since twitter is still down quite a lot and has stripped away a great deal of functionality trying to keep their servers up yahoolicious could pick up the slack. but they won’t. :(