As it transitions to becoming a content provider from a pure search approach, Yahoo is innovating and moving boldly into unchartered territory as it launches today its UpShot blog that will carry search-driven news content. Yes. That's news content that will be produced on the basis of search results. Read on.
From Search To Content
There have been many signals of Yahoo's transition into content provision rather than pure search, including its $100 million acquisition of Associated Content; its contents deal with Facebook and Nokia; as well as its recent management shuffle, with the head and advocate of search, Larry Cornett, leaving.
A Bit Of Both: Search-Driven News Content
The company's new step, effective today, is the launch of a news blog called UpShot that will be generating news content on the basis of queries conducted across its sites. In other words, the news content will be created by a team of editors and writers from trending search topics. This means that instead of a "broadcasting" approach, the news will be targeted for the sites' readers who will themselves, indirectly crowdsource the topics they will be reading about on UpShot. The page, http://news.yahoo.com/upshot is still redirected to Yahoo News at time of publication but it's slated to go live today.
Speaking to the New York Times, James Pitaro, VP of Yahoo Media, said: "We feel like the differentiator here; what separates us from a lot of our competitors is our ability to aggregate all this data. This idea of creating content in response to audience insight and audience needs is one component of the strategy, but it's a big component."
The key to the new service is in Pitaro's next comment: "If you're a news start-up, focusing on breadth would be the wrong way to go. What we're seeing is the market getting increasingly fragmented. And because of that you can survive by owning a niche category." Meaning that the search results will enable Yahoo to identify news segments that have fallen through the cracks so far and produce content for them.
Patterns Vs Pure Content
The question that immediately springs to mind is the validity of such search-driven news content. News is news, it happens, then people report on it. Instead, this new approach will consist in creating news from existing queries? ... According to the New York times, what will be precious are the search patterns, more than the actual queries.
For instance, Yahoo Answers - which recently hit its billionth answer - will be contributing to the data analyzed for pattern recognition. In a nutshell, it is those patterns that will allow Yahoo to see what readers are most likely to be interested in. This is how UpShot will grab retina attention.
Retina attention automatically rings the ads bell: marketers are always eager to have a targeted audience. And THAT is what upshot is all about. More targeted markets for which data is already available. The team for analytics plus two editors and six bloggers will be the ones to make it all happen.
What do you think? Smart move?