Posted November 17, 2010 9:02 am by with 1 comment

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Yahoo is making a lot of bets on its ability to create content as a big part of its future. Things must be getting better at the beleaguered company because at yesterday’s Web 2.0 Summit cnet points out that CEO Carol Bartz was able to answer the new favorite question regarding Yahoo which is “What exactly is Yahoo?”. Her answer

She has, at the very least, refined her answer to the question “What is Yahoo?” to a list of the terms “content, communications, media, technology, (and) innovation.” Bartz added: “I think it got off track a little bit when people thought it was a ‘search company.'”

Yahoo’s much noted and mocked purchase of Associated Content, one of the web’s biggest purveyors of high volume, and often questionable quality, content has led to the latest hyperlocal offering that is in beta as of this week. Let’s hope that this marriage of content farm mentality and the local scene doesn’t add to the proliferation of ‘craptent’ on the Internet but I doubt it.

This ‘rollout’ has been so low key that I found out about it from a random tweet (see there is value to Twitter and a hat tip to @rtyler79). The first markets that are getting this coverage can be seen below.

With AOL’s Patch having a much bigger footprint and a head start in this area it will be interesting to see just how far this can go. With the ‘success’ of hyperlocal online to this point I would say the jury is out. Also, if no one is really aware of this new offering from Yahoo despite the announcement of the Yahoo Contributor Network this week you wonder if Yahoo is talking to an empty room here.

Of course, Bartz feels they are on target and that the industry just doesn’t get them.

But Bartz says she doesn’t think that the world’s tech and media hubs have the right perspective on Yahoo. The “real world,” she said, believes in Yahoo and understands its mission.

The real world understands its mission? Wow. That’s rich. The real world stops by to check its oldest e-mail address that has been relegated to handling e-mail from sign-ups that we don’t want cluttering up our regular inbox. Whatever.

So what can we expect from this new hyperlocal venture? If you are looking for some high quality journalism this may not be the place to come to. Either the cost of the high quality has gone WAY down or this new ‘system’ that Yahoo will be incorporating is just looking for warm bodies who can string a few sentences together the following ‘offer’ to write for this new deal is less than enticing. This comes from the Journalism That Matters Google Group that showed up in a search result. The author is Barry Parr and this happened on October 15.

A friend who runs a local mailing list on Yahoo Groups just got the following email. We live in interesting times.

From: “localwrit…” <>


Yahoo! is creating an exciting new opportunity for San Francisco and San Jose area residents. We’re looking for neighbors who want to participate in their communities by getting out the word on what’s happening around them. Because you have led locally focused Yahoo! Groups, we thought our new initiative might be another way for you to communicate what you care about with others.

You can be among the first to contribute to this soon-to-launch neighborhood content destination by joining the conversation today. Depending on where you live, signup at either or sanjose. After you sign up (which is free and carries no obligations) on Associated Content by Yahoo!, you’ll be given $10 writing assignments that will explain more about this project and how you can get involved!

Pueng Vongs
SF Bay Area Editor

Ten bucks an article is what is populating these hyperlocal efforts. That’s from the original content side and that will show up along other local content from other publishers.

There is a Local Deals component and more but with no one discussing it (except for here maybe?) when was Yahoo going to let the world know outside of a few press releases?

Overall, this looks to be something that will land with a thud. Yesterday’s Yahoo blog post didn’t even mention these hyperlocal sites being live. The post talked about new local search features and mobile search features (which are usually local by nature) but no direct mention of these hyperlocal news ‘sites’.

What do you make of this? Is this another Yahoo dead end?

CORRECTION: I have received information from Patch that there was an error in the following statement that was part of the Journalism That Matters post. The statement “To put this in perspective, $10 per story, for a Patch editor producing 2.5 stories/day, 6 days/wk, would yield an annual income of $7,800 — no benefits.” is not referring to Patch but likely referring to the Associated Content offer. I am awaiting feedback from Patch regarding what they offer for content. I will update as soon as I know. My apologies for any misleading information.

  • Cynthia

    Yahoo is all over the place this week and it’s not helping their cause. Because I once wrote for Associated Content, I got an invite to join the special Yahoo Contributor Network so I went and took a look.

    It’s becoming a cross between Examiner and Associated Content and I’m sure they’ll have no problems finding 1,000’s of “writers” who are interested in throwing nearly free content their way. Will the content be any good? Like Examiner, some will and some won’t. But I don’t think Yahoo is actually worried about quality right now. It looks like they’re simply trying to fill bottomless jars with shovel-fulls of sand