Two of our Yahoo 360 bloggers have managed to get through on the telephone to Matt Warburton, the Yahoo Community Manager who announced on the Yahoo 360 Team Blog that the service would “transition.” Although they didn’t get more detail from Warburton, the sense I get from the reports of their conversations is that Yahoo really has no idea what direction a blogging or social networking site will take, or even if they will retain the services as part of their suite.
This is not good news for us. It means that Yahoo is committed to shutting down Yahoo 360, but that the company has no plan, as yet, for what it will do next.
Our blogging colleague Mr. E spoke with Warburton, and apparently talked in detail about what went wrong with Yahoo 360. Warburton mentioned the plan for a universal profile, the same thing referred to in the Yahoo Team blog and in Jerry Yang’s blog. Jerry Yang is Yahoo’s CEO. (Instead of blogging on Yahoo 360, he maintains the official Yahoo blog on WordPress.com. How’s that for confidence in and support of one’s own product?) Mr. E pointed out that Yahoo 360 was supposed to have been the universal profile, and hence the name “Yahoo! 360.” Warburton, who only came on board with the company in April, was unaware of this.
Mr. E got information out of Warburton that I felt was significant. He said that there would be a transition to another blogging platform within Yahoo and possibly tools to export a 360 blog to third party providers.
Tools to export blogs to other sites is definitely good news for those of us with a lot of blogs. There are some who have 600 or more blogs. Moving them one by one to another site would be horrific. However, moving the blogs with comments intact is another issue entirely.
Many of us want to be sure to preserve the comments. Lively debate, story lines, and just plain old conversation took place in the comments to our blogs, and we want to preserve that as well. Some of us regularly get in excess of 50 comments on posts. Losing the discussions that take place in the comments is almost worse than losing the blog itself – that’s where things often get heated and interesting.
When our blogging colleague Carl spoke with him, Warburton made it clear that there was no question but that Yahoo 360 was closing. There is apparently no plea, no argument, nothing that can persuade Yahoo not to close 360.
Carl concludes that Yahoo may realize that the manner in which they announced 360’s demise was not handled as well as it might have been. Apparently they are well aware of the displeasure among 360 users. A check of the 1100+ comments to the Yahoo Team Blog clearly indicates cries of outrage, grief, and outright panic by 360 users, so if the team reads the comments they certainly should be aware of it. We, the customers and users of the Yahoo product, the people Yahoo’s advertisers want to reach, are in the dark.
The situation is frustrating. It is difficult. Yahoo has blown it. Yahoo’s disorganization, and yes, its lack of a plan to fulfill the vision outlined in Jerry Yang’s Yodel Anecdotal blog post October 16, affects us all in a negative way. Change is hard enough without the change being to the complete unknown and unknowable.
I’ve been advocating that we stay put, maintain our social network here in Yahoo 360, and wait to see what Yahoo rolls out next. I’m still of half a mind to do that. With every new dribble of information, though, I’m more and more inclined to throw in the towel.
I take that back. If I’m to hitchhike out of here, I need my towel. I’m going to Multiply.com. I don’t need a babelfish to understand the platform, and it offers everything 360 does and even includes some of the features we’ve asked Yahoo to provide.
I’m going to be in both places for the foreseeable future. The foreseeable future isn’t very far away, since Yahoo plans to close 360 by early 2008. Until then, though, I will stay here. I will blog here. I will also be on Multiply and WordPress, and I may get active again on my Blogger.com account, just because I like Google products.
I encourage everyone on my friends list to follow me to Multiply.com. As of today, about a third of you already have. I hope to see the rest soon. I want us to be able to stay together.
Tomorrow, I promise, I won’t post more of this news. Tomorrow, Wench’s Virgin Training School has news of its own to announce….