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New MyYahoo Beta Rolling Out April 12, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.

I’ve been a slacker lately — haven’t posted on the new MyYahoo beta. Give it a test drive. Prior to the beta’s availability, Yahoo execs sat down with Jupiter and told us what they were trying to achieve:

– Web 2.0 freshness (more graphics, AJAX, interactivity — esp. to attract more women and non-news-centric users)
– More user control (add a 4th column, choose search providers)
– Connect outward (content previews)
– Sharing, also in the service of new user acquisition — e-mail or IM this page, working with publishers to make modules more shareable

And do all this without alienating the existing users, who tend to be Yahoo’s best customers in terms of time spent, applications used, paid services, etc. Jupiter analysis confirms this — you’ll be lucky to get 20% adoption of customization/personalization features, but those adopters are valuable. On the other hand, personalization scores pretty low as a content site differentiator (see Figure 6).

The other thing we’ve found is that resistance to customization appears to be a matter of dis-interest, rather than difficulty or privacy concerns. One thing Yahoo’s doing that’s cool is to make it easy to start — they’re making suggested packages of customized content for new users. But I don’t think they’re pitching the value — i.e., efficiency, and “more of the info I want” — hard enough. If I were to score them against their objectives above, I’d give them at least a B+. The beta’s very slick, and quite useful.

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