Yahoo VP: Yahoo 360 May Get Makeover

Yahoo may remake its blogging and social networking service Yahoo 360, the company said Thursday.

"Yahoo 360 may be doing a 180 [degree turn]," said Bradley Horowitz, Yahoo’s vice president of product strategy, at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Horowitz’s statement followed a comment from an audience member who questioned why Yahoo didn’t have a better blogging authoring and hosting service.

Yahoo 360 was launched in beta in March of last year, and it remains in beta.

In September, the leading blog hosting and authoring service in the United States was Google’s Blogger with 21 million unique visitors, according to comScore Networks. MySpace.com’s blogs came in second with 16 million unique visitors, while Microsoft’s Windows Live Spaces came in third with 9.8 million. Six Apart’s various services landed it on fourth place with almost 9.3 million, while Xanga nabbed fifth place with almost 7 million. Yahoo 360 came in sixth with 5.7 million unique visitors.

Social media is a key focus for Yahoo, and blogging is a big part of that, so the company will be a major player in blogging no later than five years from now, said cofounder David Filo, who also participated in the discussion in which he and Horowitz answered questions from the audience and from conference chair John Battelle. The company will look at Yahoo 360, at internal projects and also acquisitions, Filo said.

Asked to comment about persistent rumors that Yahoo may merge with a major competitor like Microsoft, Filo dismissed the comment, saying that type of hearsay is common.

Regarding its rival Google, Filo said it is certainly a major competitor but that Yahoo worries about all of its competitors, large and small, and that small startups can be "as much a threat to our business as Microsoft or Google."

-Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service (Miami Bureau)

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