Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Yahoo gets content . . .but can it make content?

Posted by Tom Foremski - October 4, 2005

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

There has been much chatter about Yahoo's renewed efforts to become a content producer. My good buddy Om Malik, at GigaOm, even proposed that I help them out.

I'm happy to help out with some advice, and that is: original content production is very expensive compared to servers and algorithms.

And, if Yahoo wants to be in the media creation business, it should have a campus in, or around San Francisco.

Yes, Geeks will travel down to the Yahoo campus, which is almost in San Jose(!) But Hacks? I don't think so! Hacks didn't choose a poorly paid career so that they could crawl down to San Jose and back every day.

Patrick Houston, who until just a few months ago was at Cnet, is heading the Yahoo effort to produce original content. And there is no denying Patrick's talents and his many years of experience in building editorial teams.

We shared a cab in New York not too long ago, and he told me he was excited about the project and the chance to do something new, from the ground up. And to use many of the media technology tools at his disposal in novel ways.

Yahoo's DNA, however, is aggregation and search. It generates content by machine, not person. It serves up aggregated headlines and web page links.

Many times, there is an effect going on within organizations that I call "you can't get there from here."

I'm not sure Yahoo can get there from here. Just as many of the older publishers trying to beef up their online business groups, cannot get there from here.

I think that these days, you need to be more like an AJAX-type-of-media company :-) C'est moi! Et vous?

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