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The battle over Yahoo’s search business as witnessed over the last few days seems both ridiculous and petty. And it takes the attention away from what is Yahoo’s true value: a media aggregation platform. Yahoo is the place a lot of people — some 400 million — visit to get their news, sports scores and email. I have always liked that business, and yesterday I experienced, first-hand, the enormous strength of Yahoo.
A story by Judi Sohn, who edits WebWorkerDaily, one of our growing portfolio of blogs, was featured on the home page of Yahoo last night. The story got voted up via Yahoo’s Buzz, a service akin to Digg, except much more powerful.
In a few hours, the story about what to expect when switching from a BlackBerry to an iPhone was viewed over 200,000 times and attracted over 350 comments. Now that’s a lot of traffic — but more importantly, a gigantic amount of engagement displayed by Yahoo visitors. The traffic sent our way by Yahoo was many times the traffic we get from, say, Digg or StumbleUpon.
At the risk of repeating myself, Yahoo’s core business now is “audience.” The company, instead of trying to out-Google Google, needs to beat itself by figuring out new ways to keep the audience growing. The first step is, of course, acknowledging that it is a content company. The next one: figuring out new engagement and audience-grabbing ways.
Update: Hitwise sent me a traffic comparison for Yahoo Buzz and other social sites. Buzz is kicking butt!