Unofficially obsessed with Google.


Yahoo buys del.icio.us to capture smarter, richer Google users

12/12/2005 12:44:00 AM
We've all heard it: Yahoo bought del.icio.us! Much more than the large-web-corp acquires independent-techie-user site, this acquisition is about recharacterizing Yahoo's public image. The Yahoo buy was actually a bid to slowly capture Google's more sophisticated user base.

Ironically though certainly not causally, the Yahoo.icio.us deal was sealed one day after Yahoo News itself aggregated an article headlined "Study: Google users wealthier, more Net savvy." The article made the blog rounds and was even Slashdotted. In it, researchers concluded that 52% of respondents chose Google as their search engine of choice, and that net users in this sector of the sample were more likely to make over $60,000 than in other sectors of the sample. We can all sit here and question the merits of the study or we can just fess up and admit that we all know that Googlers tend to be more information-driven and tech savvy which generally correlates to income and intelligence. This has been obvious to most of us for a long time.

Although the article seemed really late (and culturally unaware) in pronouncing Yahoo merely a tweenster rival to well-read, adult Google, it highlighted the distinction between the user bases at precisely the moment that Yahoo was fighting to lessen the gap. Its buyout of del.icio.us closed the deal: Yahoo is officially searching for smarter searchers. Yahoo's other recent acquisition, the social photo tagging/hosting service, Flickr, was an unmasked attempt to bolster its position in the schema of relevant internet applications. The one failure with Flickr is that all of the early-adopters and tech savvy users whom it hoped to capture with the deal had already been longtime Flickr users and therefore were not forced to create Yahoo accounts in order to use the application. Regardless, it was a step in the right direction for the company in perpetual adolescence.

The silly thing in all of this is that while del.icio.us has always been lauded for its easy to wield technology, the buyout had nothing to do with acquiring a technology. And for that reason, I anticipate that Google has, somewhere down the line, plans to integrate a bookmarking/linking system into one of its existing applications. Perhaps somewhere in the personalized Google search or Gmail, even.

For now, though, Yahoo users can still pine for their 21st birthdays, as they're nowhere near having drinks with the big boys (who just happen to have bigger brains and fatter wallets).

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