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Social networking and social search

Del: 27/06/2007


The social change is creating new tools of interaction between web services and users. Yahoo! is a search engine and an Internet portal which continues to offer always more interactive services, through many ways of collaboration with the users. In order to creating services to meet their needs.
From Yahoo! Answers, that is used also by companies to get directly in touch with their users to know their opinions about the brand and adapting strategies to their needs, to Yahoo! Search, the search and sharing engine.

We talked about it with Jeffrey Revoy, Vice President of Search and Social Media for Yahoo! Europe

Yahoo! Answers represents a revolution in the advertising WEB 2.0 and some Italian companies already chose this service, as “Vichy” and “Banca per la Casa-Gruppo Unicredit”. What results did you have in Europe?

Yahoo! Answers is the leading human knowledge sharing community, with over 90 million of unique users e 250 million of answers in the world. In fact, more people use Yahoo Answers then own an Ipod. Yahoo! Answers allows to create personal network of contacts sharing knowledge about specifical areas. In Europe it’s having a great success, especially in Italy where is performing in the best way: it was launched in June 2006, and in less than one year the Answers community is over 2 million and 800 thousands of users, and now it’s the social networking product with the higher growth rate in Italy (comScore, March 2007).
Besides in this country were launched the first two campaigns which used Yahoo! Answers as innovative communication tool to reach the reference target, involving it actively and making it protagonist. In particular Vichy, one of the most important cosmetic brands by l’Orèal group. It was the official sponsor on ‘Beauty and style’ category for the whole month of March, with the product Skinset. While “Banca per la Casa - Gruppo UniCredit”, the biggest Italian bank specialized in house-loans, it was present with the loan product BasicWeb – and the line of loans for Internet clients-, in the section “Finance”.
Thanks to Yahoo! Answers, the two brands had the possibility to interact with users posting every week a new question on their respective categories. In this way the presence of the sponsor was totally and perfectly integrated with the structure of the service offered by Yahoo! and users could share their knowledge on beauty and personal finance themes. Simultaneously the two brands had the chance to observe trends and opinion of users on their products.

What are its point of strength and weakness?

Yahoo! has been offering creativity, innovative, customized and integrated campaigns able to generate an incredible exposure of the brand to the target audience for more than ten years now. Yahoo! Answers surely represents a fundamental instrument for the advertisers who want to leverage on social networking power to reach their audience through an innovative and interactive service. Advertisers probably now need to learn how to use it at the best.

The social networking promoted by Answers Network (Beta) aims to create contacts and share knowledge on specific arguments, therefore to stimulate the creation of a virtual community. Is that a new “social search engine”?

Answers Network (Beta) is an easy feature to create a personal network of contacts on specific areas of interest in Yahoo! Answers adding users who share the same passions or who stimulate interest through their activities on the site (i.e. people who constantly send qualitative questions and answers on a specific category). Thanks to Answers Network functionality the 90 millions users of the service have now direct access to the world knowledge and to the knowledge of their community. We can also see Answers Network as a new social engine based on the social networking principle that combines the power of the universal knowledge and the trust users have in their personal communities. Creating a personal network of contact the experience of Yahoo! Answers users will be more personal, productive and interesting as the feature will put in contact users directly with the information more relevant to them.
Leveraging on point of strength of other Yahoo!’s community such as “Contacts” for Flickr and “Your Network” for, Answers Network will improve the experience of the users helping them to find information they are looking for through the similar interests of other people.

Yahoo!, different from its competitors, offers social search, i.e. a type of search that implies a wider engagement of users. Would you please explain what it is and what are the biggest improvements?

Search is ultimately about finding and using information. It has gone through several phases over the last 12 years. At First, Search was driven by people via Yahoo Directory (Jerry and David’s guide to the World Wide Web), it then became automated with key word Search (Alta Vista) and eventually became driven by Algorithms with Google (and then Yahoo).
As broadband penetration increases and people become publishers of all forms of content (rather then just consumers), we see Search entering the next phase of development which combines the best of people (or Social Search) with algorithmic search. By combining people and machines, users will find the most comprehensive results, essentially “better Search through People”. As one of the leading Global Web Search providers, we feel Yahoo is well positioned to lead this next evolution by combining our Web Search with such leading products as Yahoo Answers,, bookmarks, and Flickr to offer the users the most comprehensive solutions.
Yahoo! has been the first search engine to combine the technology of Web Search with the knowledge of people to offer a more relevant experience of search launching Yahoo! Answers. Social search offers a type of search more complete and integrated that combines the algorithm results with the human knowledge. Yahoo! Answers let users to post questions, in their natural language, to the community and get answers based on other people knowledge and experience. Yahoo! allows the active participation through social networking services letting people to publish personal content and let them share what they load. Yahoo! Has some products which are now recognized as universal symbols of the User Generated Content such as Flickr, the biggest online community for photo-sharing, Yahoo! Video and other services like Yahoo! Music where users can share their playlist, Yahoo! Travel and Yahoo! Shopping through which users can write their reviews on places visited or products purchased.

                                                                                Deborah Baldasarre


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