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Yahoo Is Looking To Make A Social-Networking Buy

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imageYahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) has been busily shopping around its assorted businesses — but it’s also on the lookout to make an acquisition of its own. Chief Technology Officer Ari Balogh (pictured, right) tells Reuters that Yahoo wants to buy a company that would let it become a larger player in social networking. “I can guarantee you there will be some acquisitions, and we will do some stuff in house,” he said.

The company has had lackluster success in the space on its own. It closed its year-old social-networking site, Yahoo Mash, last August, and it basically closed down another attempt, Yahoo 360, a year before that. Yahoo has tried to make a big entry into the space via an acquisition before, reportedly offering as much as $1 billion for Facebook three years ago.

So what might Yahoo be interested in buying now? Reuters does not provide any color, and it’s not clear how Balogh is defining social networking — a category that include messaging services like Twitter and blogging services like Live Journal. However, several properties come to mind. AOL (NYSE: TWX) had been said to be interested in selling its social networking site, Bebo, although Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes denied that last month. Another social-networking site with big reach — but a somewhat questionable future — is hi5, which laid off half of its staff last month after it was reportedly unable to raise additional capital.

6 Responses to “Yahoo Is Looking To Make A Social-Networking Buy”

  1. Wyman88

    I think Bob is saying what I have been thinking, and more, for a long time now. Yahoo is sitting on a Goldmine, if only Yahoo has the brains to take advantage of it. I Blog on Yahoo360, but Yahoo has essentially shut it down, not only making it difficult to post on my Blog, but very difficult for people to visit my Blog, whether 360 Friends or total strangers. When I did a review of a Rocker's CD and an interview with a budding Young Adult author on what had become my lifeless Yahoo360 Blogsite, I had over 300 visitors in the span of about 3 weeks. This was despite all the problems people had getting to the content due to extremely slow loading and page missing—404 denials.

    Had these two posts loaded quickly, allowed comments from outsiders, etc. I might have had 2 to 3 times the visitors and those visitors would have seen Yahoo ads, if Yahoo knew how to properly place ads. Now, imagine if Yahoo had also promoted my site a little when it suddenly saw all these visitor hits to my Blog over a short space of time. With a little promotion, I might have gone viral and suddenly had a reason to continue my Yahoo360 Blog, rather than what I have had to do, essentially move posts of this nature to a new Blogging Network, where it is easier for me to post and easier for people to go to my Blogposts.

    Even so, I am staying with Yahoo360 for now with the hope that Yahoo will come to its senses. Much of what Bob suggests above is what Yahoo should have done long ago. People stopped posting on their Yahoo360 Blogs due to no fixes for the many bugs that have cropped up, plus a lack of promotion for anyone but a few select Bloggers. I sometimes think Corporate people at Yahoo want to destroy the company so Big Corporate America can take it over and suck it dry. Also, to merge with Microsoft is the height of stupidity. This would mean the end to Yahoo. Selling the Search Engine would also be stupid, whether to Microsoft or Google or anyone else.

    Listen to Bob, Yahoo. He has some good ideas. A CEO who drops F-bombs does not a successful company make. One who grows a company and its profits, while keeping the company intact and profitable, that's what makes a successful company. As a former loyal fan of Yahoo, I have watched it grow to Corporate and too customer unfriendly. It is ran for Corporate Management these days. Will the new lady CEO return Yahoo to the PEOPLE? Time will tell. Thank you.

  2. Yahoo already has most of the components necessary to create a solid social site.

    It's e-mail & IM services are both good. It has message boards & e-mail groups. It owns Delicious & BuZZ which are good ways to share links. Their blogging service is good enough. Y! also owns Flikr, which is an excellent place to & post photos. It's got a casual gaming site which is as good as the apps provided by Myspace & Facebook.

    IMO, Yahoo needs to improve it's music service by allowing people to stream individual songs, as they can on Myspace & It also needs to beef up it's video sharing capabilities. Finally, it needs to tie it all together with a much better UI. It's graphics are simply too "bulky" & old fashioned. The site appears to be based around presenting text rather than graphics & video That will need to change.

    Even if Yahoo does create a good social network, what could they do to tempt users away from Facebook? My advice would be to go a bit unconventional. Create a good general purpose network and add, which doesn't get a lot of press despite being a GREAT site. Or, perhaps they should buy Fring & let people create their own social networks.

  3. Balogh idoes not appear to be in LinkedIn himself. Funny to be looking to buy a social networking company yet not play around / participate in one of the leaders in the space.