Friday, March 18, 2005

What a surprise - Yahoo promoting websites that don't need promoting

Steve Rubel noted in his blog recently how Yahoo Search is now offering up select recommendations of RSS feeds at their site; the one he caught the other day was for CNN. He was wondering out loud whether these recommendations were picked randomly by Yahoo, or if they had set up prearranged partnerships with the sites being promoted; the entry then attracted the attention of Helena Maus, a member of Yahoo's PR department, who partly said in response: "...The third party sites we've included are culled from some of the most popular RSS feeds available on MyYahoo! and again based on editorial decision [not prearranged partnerships]."

That's all fine and good, I suppose, but begs an important question - why bother promoting websites that everyone already knows about? The entire point of the internet is that people are seeking things they don't already know about; Yahoo promoting CNN is like American Idol promoting Pepsi, and who the hell online wants that? Well, okay, I suppose you could be cynical and talk about the millions of morons at Yahoo who have never heard of this strange creature called CNN; I prefer to be an optimist, though, and believe that the majority of people online already know about such "underground" websites as the New York Times and Amazon. I urge Yahoo, instead of simply promoting the top 10 websites in existence or whatever, to expand this list of recommendations, and to provide choices that could be of benefit to those of us who aren't drooling idiots.