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Dear Twitter, We Want to Be You. Love, Yahoo




Twitter Bird GoofyLet’s face it—everyone wants to be popular, at least when it comes to business. And these days, you can’t deny Twitter is popular (or at least it sounds popular with all the media attention it’s getting—though that may be about to change). So you can’t really blame other companies for a little envy.

Especially when that company is a perennial second in almost everything they do. Yahoo looks like the latest Twitter wannabe, according to Matt McGee at Search Engine Land, and you can see it in so many areas. All of their social pursuits seem to resemble the most popular microblogging service in some way, including:

    yahoo-logo
  • Yahoo Meme—Microblogging site, plus pictures, video, and following and reposting others’ posts. (Launched a few months ago, Portuguese only.)
  • TweetNews—created by a Yahoo developer, this search engine resorts Yahoo news results based on their Twitter popularity.
  • Yahoo’s new homepage—now with status updates
  • Yahoo Mail—more status updates and socialy features

The list goes on. And on. Seriously: Yahoo Mojo, Important People and Sideline are the three newest projects, and all are Twitter-related, analyzing your tweets and others’.

Now, let’s pause here. Aside from the tools based directly on Twitter, do all these moves mean Yahoo is courting or competing with Twitter?

Yes and no. Yes because of scarcity (hello, Econ 101)—we all have a limited amount of time online, and in that time we generally have to choose between Yahoo and Twitter (or, you know, some other site). It’s hard to use them simultaneously, even if you do tile your windows.

But just because they’re looking to add more real-time social features to their products doesn’t mean that they’re taking on Twitter per se (except when it does, of course). It’s a good sign that Yahoo sees real time and social as two important directions the web is going today—woot for hopping on that clue train, eh?—and they’re trying to incorporate the features people want and expect into their products.

So good on Yahoo. But seriously, quit copying Twitter.

What do you think? Is Yahoo coveting Twitter’s traffic? Are they courting an acquisition? Or are they just part of the larger real-time social trend?

  • aussiegold

    Twitter is a short message update service. Updates are merely a tiny percentage of what Yahoo do. So no, they aren’t copying Twitter, they are simply moving with the tide.

    The social web has been moving in a direction where updates were the natural next step. Remember that Yahoo had Messenger status updates before anyone!

  • http://www.virtual-coach.com/ Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach

    It’s smart business marketing to see what is successful in other sites…and if applicable, to bring it on over.

    I remember the Yahoo days of 1997 or so…wow, have they ever changed.
    .-= Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog ..False Profits – Why you should NEVER trust online income earning claims =-.