What is Yahoo! Live?

Essentially a LIVE streaming video chat room. The last part probably has negative connotations for many of you, but it’s the best way to describe the product. It’s still in experimental release, but with recent layoffs I wouldn’t anticipate a ton of expansions. For details on the Yahoo! Live product launch, check out the official release or read Danny Sullivan’s coverage at Search Engine Land or Arnold Zafra’s at Search Engine Journal. TechCrunch did the best job of assessing its strengths, weaknesses and functionality and you can read about it here.

Now that we’ve covered the basics…

Why should you care about Yahoo! Live?

Here’s a quick visual from Google Trends for the last 12 months, searching “Yahoo Live”:
Yahoo Live Google trend data

Also, at this moment (2am-ish on March 12, 2008) only 1,215 people are watching 51 channels. What does that tell us?

  1. It’s late on the East Coast, but that’s still an incredibly small number of active users.
  2. There’s an even smaller number of active channels.

Pair that with the ridiculously small amount of media attention the product received and you get a positive or a negative for your online presence. It depends on how you see the world and what you understand about current trends in the search marketing industry, as well as, recent news and past products from Yahoo. Yeah, Mash and 360 failed miserably (I think… I’m not on there anymore, are you?), but Flickr is alive and well. Of course, Flickr was a success before Yahoo wrapped its purple-people-eater fingers around it and those others were “Advanced Product” internal pet-projects that failed.

Which piece of the puzzle does Yahoo! Live fall into? ________ (that should be on the SEOmoz quiz)

Regardless of whether it’s doomed to a speedy death I still see potential for personal and a few professional projects. Is it right for you? You’ll need to decide based on resources, audience and time constraints. In my opinion, everything is worth a test if it doesn’t compromise current performance.

How is Yahoo! Live Used Right Now?

To date, it’s been used for the following live purposes:

  • Political awareness for the presidential race
  • Song creation by artists collaborating online
  • Creative expression (think lava lamps and fish tanks with commentary)
  • Concert broadcasts
  • Webmaster Radio show chat room
  • Personal discussions
  • Water cooler sessions
  • Spam and other obnoxious purposes (think Dateline special solicitations)

Usage varies, but after a small experiment on Twitter with the search community the potential for my own purposes became abundantly clear. After a mini-brainstorming session on Live, Eric Lander, and I will toy around with scheduled topic-focused discussions and send invites to the community as they develop. Any suggestions for the first one?

Here’s my channel:

Also, I know I had a ton of suggestions for Yahoo! to improve the Live product. If you’d like to submit your own, please do so here or email ylive@yahoogroups.com

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