Yahoo – the Internet´s most popular site and the recently talked about New Yahoo Search Engine, is apparently keeping a very close eye on the social networking space pioneered by start-ups such as Friendster and recent larger social networking experiments such as Google´s Orkut and the rumored Lycos overhaul.
The Rueters news wire reported that Yahoo CEO Terry Semel is quite interested in social networking and may even be looking into adapting existing Yahoo member accounts into the friend making realm. “At this moment in time, it’s exciting, it’s interesting, it’s viral,” said CEO Terry Semel, a former Warner Brothers studio co-chief, at a Commonwealth Club meeting in Santa Clara, California. “We haven’t seen any business models around it yet. It’s an area we watch very closely.”
“The business is advertising,” Semel said, recalling when he first joined Yahoo in 2001. “I looked at it like a (broadcast) network and how do we advertise.”
Yahoo has been a web pioneer in friend and love-interest making Yahoo Personals, community based Yahoo Groups, blogging tools in Yahoo´s Korea blogs, Yahoo Chat, and sloppy message boards- which are very popular in the Yahoo News debate rooms.
Semel did not confirm whether Yahoo would go down the acquisition route as they did with Overture, Inktomi, Launch, and other add ons which have boomed their advertising revenue generation machine. However, with current Napster acquisition rumors and the draw of a social networking site like Friendster, Yahoo may be soon following a similar path to their successful moves in 2002 and 2003.