You might remember that sometime ago I wrote an article about blogging and that you have to become the ball that everyone is chasing. Companies like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple should be the ball, bloggers like Robert Scoble, Doc Searls, Wil Wheaton, and of course mine should be the ball. So why do some people ignore this? Yahoo is ignoring this. I have had several lively debates on this subject in the last few days.
On observation of Yahoo’s activity since Google’s supremacy in search and the like I really see a copycat effect in action here. To me this is really obvious. The best examples are Google Video and Yahoo Video. I know there is not much that you can do with a video service but the interfaces are even practically identical. Yahoo seems to have no innovation in their execution of this new webservice.
You would think that a company with the resources of Yahoo would be able to turn out original and compelling ideas and not just caddy for the big boy. There are some differences in Yahoo’s philosophy, but they are not by design. There is an adult content control and when it is switched off, I entered a search term that your average thirteen year old might enter: “sex” I was quite surprised to actually see adult content delivered back to me for immediate viewing on the Yahoo website. I question how they got these pornographic “preview” videos, if there is a bot trolling the internet looking for videos with adult content to place on the network, if people are actually uploading 10 second worthless porn ads, or and this is the scary one, Yahoo are being paid to advertise these websites.
Upon further examination of the Google Video page I was not able to find adult material of any kind to download with the same search term. This is somewhere else that Yahoo is not with the game. Google realise that your average zebra can search sex at any tender age and has blocked all adult content on their video site, however Yahoo, don’t seem to understand that. Their child-safe feature is powerless.
On examination of the homepage for Yahoo Video homepage found it to be quite a nice looking site, and better than the Google Video homepage by miles. I really felt like I was experiencing Web 2.0 with the homepage at Yahoo. As soon as I clicked a video to watch I might as well have been at Google Video if it weren’t for the corporate symbols being different.
Back to being the ball.
As I have said many times, the larger companies, bloggers, whatever you lead in, you have to lead and not follow. The difference between leaders and followers is huge. I really think it shows the objectives of a company to big driving force when they are innovative and push the forward envelope.
Yahoo should take its own direction. Be the service that no one is afraid of. The goal Google can’t seem to manage. Their motto “Don’t be evil” is not working. Realise that if you lead your followers in a good direction, then Google will look worse for it. Just as you look like copycats next to Google right now.
Yahoo had email services before Google existed right? But when Google came along they implemented Gmail. They copied Yahoo, but when they did it, they made it better. Gmail goes above and beyond Yahoo Mail. That is what Yahoo should aim for if it is going to take something Google has done and recreate it. Re-create it only if you can do it better or you’re wasting your time, our time, and of course, money.