The Yahoo! 360° blogging/profile/social networking product launched in April 2005. After about 2 years, talk of closing down the service began, but was delayed until there was a similar product to which existing users could switch. Now, 2 years after that announcement, the closure is finally here. Today is the last day 360° will be online and available for users to download or migrate their old blog content over to the new Yahoo! Profiles.
I did not work on Yahoo! 360°, nor was I a serious user of it. I’m sure a lot of existing users are frustrated either because Profiles doesn’t do what they want, or the simple fact that it’s just different. I will say that if a product like this is no longer a high priority internally and does not have a clear future, it’s really best to close it down (in an orderly fashion) and redirect those internal resources elsewhere. Even without any new feature development, the ops impact alone for keeping a service like this online is pretty significant.
For those that are looking for help with 360° migration or other issues, please see the online help.
My Cantoni.mobi mobile website resource site has been cruising along with a growing user base and a steady stream of suggested new sites. I wanted to stick with the original one-page design as long as possible, but finally I realized the page size was just too large. With over 300 links, the page weighed in at almost 22KB. Worse, I found it increasingly difficult to navigate within the page because the links list was just too long.
Tonight I’m releasing a big update to the site: we now have a “home” or index page at Cantoni.mobi. The home page has a list of categories, each of which are now on their own page. The structure is to simply add the category name in the URL, so News junkies for example could bookmark: http://cantoni.mobi/news/.
With the split, the home page is once again really lightweight (under 3KB) while the category pages are all under 8KB each.
Watching the Great American Race yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice that Ask.com has tuned into NASCAR in a big way. Sure enough, it turns out that Ask.com has signed a big deal with NASCAR:
Ask.com, a leading search engine and an operating business of IAC, announced Wednesday it has entered into partnerships with NASCAR, NASCAR.COM and Hall of Fame Racing. Under the terms of the partnership with NASCAR, Ask becomes the Official Search Engine of NASCAR, with category exclusivity and a broad set of promotional rights in order to reach the sport’s estimated 75 million loyal fans.
In addition to the on-screen advertising, Ask.com is sponsoring Bobby Labonte in the 96 car (for 18 of the first 21 races), has created a NASCAR toolbar, and has created a new NASCAR homepage. I think the idea of an “official search engine” is pretty solid, even if it sounds a bit hokey. This move won’t put Google out of business, but Ask should pick up some incremental search traffic from NASCAR fans during the year.
For an idea of how valuable this kind of exposure can be, see my previous article on NASCAR sponsorship exposure value.
I wish Yahoo! had taken this opportunity a couple years ago when we were involved in NASCAR (Yahoo! sponsored Tina Gordon in her Busch series car). Unfortunately, I don’t think the value was there for Yahoo!, especially considering that Gordon didn’t qualify for many races and didn’t spend much time running up front.
Here’s a screenshot of Ask.com taken in the middle of the Daytona 500 yesterday:
Getting geared up for the Super Bowl this weekend, which also means the usual anticipation, discussion, and review of all the TV advertising contained within. (About 33 minutes’ worth according to the NY Times.)
On the NY Times site today I discovered this cool multi-media exploration: The Super Ad Bowl:Two Decades of Players. They have a breakdown of all ads that ran during the big game each year, including a video player so you can relive your favorites.
The Times credits Adland as one of the sources for the data. Looks like a great site to follow if you’re at all into TV advertising.