"Our goal is to become bigger than Yahoo"
November 2, 2002 8:51 PM   Subscribe

"Our goal is to become bigger than Yahoo" "...We don't serve banners or pop-ups...We will not rent, sell or trade your personal information... Out of the gate, we make money through Google's advertisements - Google sells the ads, Dell pays Google and Google pays us....Does it work? Yes. In fact, we will be profitable in our first month of operation." Could this be a Google back-door attempt to begin to move into Yahoo territory, or are they just starry-eyed dreamers? Their mission, and some answers from the founder, apparently the same people behind iWon.com. PS Site really does look like a Yahoo carbon copy. There must be some copyright issues.
posted by Voyageman (28 comments total)
Uh...that's just the Open Directory Project. Anybody can syndicate that content. Thousands of sites do so.
posted by waldo at 9:22 PM on November 2, 2002

Also, it is the people behind iwon. There was a story about it in the NYTimes recently. Times story.
posted by whatzit at 9:34 PM on November 2, 2002

"one-click access to any other Web-based Email service, including AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo!, MSN and more - right on My Way"

So, you're going to provide a link for me to mail.yahoo.com and all I have to do is register on myway.com? Wow, thanks. How was I getting along before this came along?!
posted by stoic at 9:39 PM on November 2, 2002

This is a total, Doctor-Who-style time-warp moment back to 1999. Complete with a just awful .com name. MyWay.com?!
posted by josh at 9:47 PM on November 2, 2002

And what exactly is so special about this, aside from the fact that it's a Yahoo interface ripoff with a Google/ODP backend? There is absolutely nothing about this site that Google doesn't already give us, except that Google is cleaner, faster, and generally more deserving of support. These guys are just trying make a buck of other people's work.
posted by oissubke at 10:24 PM on November 2, 2002

"Our goal is to be bigger than Yahoo" -- by doing exactly what Yahoo does, only 3 years later?

I have to give 'em props for one thing... they gave me a little smile, reminded me of the salad days, when I was pulling a big paycheck for implementing someone else's fucked-up business plan.
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:45 PM on November 2, 2002

heh, really.. the thing is, they won't make a buck... If only *I* had a buck for all the failed "portal" sites that have come and gone...
posted by benh57 at 11:21 PM on November 2, 2002

Well, ad-free web based email is a Good Thing.
Also, what they not have is quite interesting.

The no-ads engine and directory thing was already done by Webcrawler a few months back -- and as far as I can tell myway are part of the Infospace (Excite/Webcrawler/Dogpile) network themselves.
They apparently took over the domain name from a failed portal company.

The logo is pretty bad though...
posted by c3o at 11:57 PM on November 2, 2002

Things I have at yahoo and... um... haven't checked, but most of them aren't on that portal:

Reuters worldwide newsfeed
Tech/Science/Local county news
Theater listings
Map/locator form
Package tracker
Search form
Ski resort report
posted by azazello at 11:58 PM on November 2, 2002

Here's their press release.
Interesting quote:
In September 2002, InsightExpress executed a quantitative study researching the My Way concept. The study polled 1,429 portal users and concluded that:
* 77% of Yahoo! users and 78% of MSN users would "definitely" or "probably" use My Way.
* 21% of Yahoo! users and 29% of MSN users would use My Way instead of their current primary portal.

posted by c3o at 12:03 AM on November 3, 2002

First, on the quote mentioned above, it's impossible to do any kind of accurate quantitative study researching how many people would abandon their existing service for a proposed concept. They can't accurately convey the differences between the MyWay experience and the Yahoo experience, and the poll probably went something like this: "Would you use a competing service that offered the same functionality you currently use in your portal, but without advertisements?" Sadly, that blanket generalization doesn't cover the actual differences in implementation, reliability, brand recognition, actual desire to change, etc.

The first thing you learn in HCI is that users all know what they want, but that has no correlation to what users actually use and like when they get it.

As a former Yahoo interaction designer, I'm deeply offended that someone blanket-strips our interface designs in order to say "Look, we're just like Yahoo, only without ads because we don't have as many employees and only innovate through duplication."

Luckily, I consider it a forgone conclusion that they will fail for several reasons, not the least of which is that they're going after a pie that google itself is going after. Yahoo and Google are parting ways because Google wants Yahoo's pie, so they're not about to deliver it to someone else.
posted by kfury at 12:09 AM on November 3, 2002

I'm surprised by the all of the negative feedback. though several good points have been made, most importantly the issue of the pretty direct copy of the interface from both Yahoo and Google.

However, I think this is a good wake-up call for Yahoo (and maybe even Google). While there isn't much innovation in terms of the interface, they have done a good job of building a site that feels simple and easy, but with a lot of powerful functionality. Even if they did this just by taking Yahoo and removing the ads - I don't think we should underestimate that the power of that distinction.
posted by stevengarrity at 4:21 AM on November 3, 2002

IWon.com ia offensive in so many ways.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:22 AM on November 3, 2002

I tried creating an account to see their web-mail interface. They require a ZIP Code to create an account. This is a clear weakness, as both Google and Yahoo have done a great job of catering to international users.
posted by stevengarrity at 4:33 AM on November 3, 2002

Iwon installs trojanware.

That's enough reason for me not to go anywhere near them. Isn't this post basically spam anyway?
posted by mark13 at 5:13 AM on November 3, 2002

* 77% of Yahoo! users and 78% of MSN users would "definitely" or "probably" use My Way.
* 21% of Yahoo! users and 29% of MSN users would use My Way instead of their current primary portal.
they asked users? yeah, right, like users know what they want! based on those results all myway.com has to do is get itself set as the default home page on the next 40 million pc's sold, and they're in like flynn. to quote another product endorsement thread, "i'm really excited about this!"
posted by quonsar at 5:37 AM on November 3, 2002

Who the hell uses Yahoo these days, anyway?
posted by crunchland at 6:16 AM on November 3, 2002

This My... shit (My Computer, MyBusinessCards, MyTrafficNews) has long since worn out its welcome. Computer users don't need to have technical things referred to in baby talk anymore. Your grandma can figure out a search engine by now.

This thing'll be dead within the year.
posted by yalestar at 6:36 AM on November 3, 2002

I'm with Crunchland. I haven't intentionally used yahoo.com in years. There's really no need. Sure, I end up there when I follow links to photos and reuters stories, but I can't remember the last time I actually went to yahoo to search for anything or to read news or check email. In fact, I stopped needing Yahoo in the 90s and never looked back.
posted by shoepal at 6:52 AM on November 3, 2002

posted by planetkyoto at 7:54 AM on November 3, 2002

They require a ZIP Code to create an account. This is a clear weakness, as both Google and Yahoo have done a great job of catering to international users.

and... non-americans don't have zip (postal) codes? i used to work in a mail room and i don't recall ever sending out a package that didn't have some sort of postal code on it. i just tested the form myself, it'll take anything except a blank, even single digits or letters. hardly a limitation.

though i also do not use yahoo, i think anything that uses less ads, has no popups, and a simple privacy policy should be applauded.
posted by dobbs at 7:56 AM on November 3, 2002

I'm surprised by the all of the negative feedback. ...

Annoying ad company creates Yahoo clone by rebranding Open Directory Project database and doing little work of its own; gets lots of press anyway. How is the negative response a surprise?
posted by rcade at 8:39 AM on November 3, 2002

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with this service.

This isn't designed for the Metafilter demographic. It's designed for my mom and all those other people who like to have a home page with links to all their favorite news and topics so that they don't have to directly interact with their browsers.

There are a lot of people who use those portal sites, and they're getting really tired of shitty spam tactics and pop-ups from the likes of Yahoo!. (Clue to the former interaction designer: these "interactions" alienate users. How's your stock doing?)

So yeah, of course it's been done -- search engines were "done" too before Google came along and gave users what they wanted without pushing crappy ads and invasive cookies on them. There's a big ol' non-savvy audience out there, and this might be what a lot of them are looking for, especially as they realize that the spam in their Earthlink inboxes has been sent their way by Trusted Brand Names.
posted by blissbat at 1:25 PM on November 3, 2002

I'm with blissbat. Seems like a swell and simple replacement for the once-useful Excite custom page (upon which the "My Page" seems *very heavily* based).

As for the "My" language, yeah, it's played, but it's also a convention people understand. For a product of this sort, I can see why they'd aim for familiarity over novelty.
posted by merlinmann at 2:10 PM on November 3, 2002

How about OrTheHighway.com ?
posted by Wet Spot at 5:13 PM on November 3, 2002

Who the hell uses Yahoo these days, anyway?

I do.

The mail and briefcase are very handy. I've been using them for years.

That is, if I'm allowed to post that here. I use Google daily but I don't worship it.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 8:36 PM on November 3, 2002

I'm pretty sure I could do most of this site in a weekend, including an equally craptacular logo. And I'm hardly a genius. How does this take 157 people?
posted by anildash at 4:29 AM on November 4, 2002

It took 157 people plus focus groups to create street-cred.

Does anyone not think that Iwon.com isn't another accounting fraud scam waiting to happen?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:44 AM on November 4, 2002

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