/>
X
Business

Yahoo's social networking strategy: Connect the network profile dots

Yahoo in recent days has launched two social networking efforts--Mash, a social widget type site, and Kickstart, which is designed to be a more professional networking site.What exactly is Yahoo up to with these sites?
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Yahoo in recent days has launched two social networking efforts--Mash, a social widget type site, and Kickstart, which is designed to be a more professional networking site.

What exactly is Yahoo up to with these sites?

For starters, it appears that Yahoo is clearly in the "build don't buy" camp with social networking. After all, instead of Kickstart it could have acquired LinkedIn. Meanwhile, Facebook launched its own ad system and shacked up with Microsoft. Google has run off with its merry band of OpenSocial converts. Yahoo has been quiet aside from Kickstart and Mash.

Today, these sites have a me-too type feel to them, but there is a secret sauce that Yahoo is leaving out. The sauce: All the data Yahoo has on
mash1.png
you available in one place. I have my master account information on Yahoo, a fantasy sports profile, an email address and a mug shot uploaded to Mash. However, when I go to Kickstart I have to populate yet another profile with Yahoo. It's tiring.

If Yahoo really wants to help a user out give some options with Kickstart. Import my mug or avatar from Yahoo Mail or Yahoo Sports so they are available with a click. Since Yahoo already has so much information on me the data should be plug and play. How about my Flickr account? Those photos may be nice to share selectively in Kickstart.

In other words, make all this data sharing easy. Ditch the network silos. This concept sounds simple, but is actually hard to pull off given Yahoo's network doesn't seem to have one overarching architecture. And if you really want to do me a favor suck in all my other data housed elsewhere. Even if Yahoo has to join OpenSocial it would make sense.

For Yahoo to succeed in social networking it will have to break its own data silos. There are no guarantees, but if Yahoo makes the profile process easier it may just get some traction.

Editorial standards