Yahoo announced plans to cut off access from Google and Facebook log-ins; Yahoo services will soon require a Yahoo account. This is the latest of a series of moves the company has been making to try and reinvent and reinvigorate itself, such as its purchase of dozens of companies in the past year to. The access cut-off Yahoo unveiled is another move to facilitate that effort and differentiate itself.
Many Web sites allow users to set up pass-through access from one site to another or allow users to sign-in with other account credentials. Yahoo had allowed access to some services with Facebook or Google accounts, but will not in the future. The change will be slowly rolled out. Eventually, anyone accessing a Yahoo site that requires logging on will need to create a Yahoo email address account to do so.
The first Yahoo product to be affected by the change will be Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick’Em, a fantasy sports site tied to the NCAA’s March madness college basketball playoffs. It is unclear when other sites will require Yahoo log-ons. Some reports indicate the change on Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick-Em will be made next week, just in time to frustrate sports fans trying to log in during the playoff tournament.
Yahoo claims the move to cut off Google and Facebook log-ins will allow them to offer personalized experiences for users. It will also, however, allow them to gather more sophisticated data for targeted advertising sales. Yahoo has been passed by competitors in display advertisements and is seeking to ensure that it captures that information on users that could translate to ad sales instead of its rivals.
It is also likely Yahoo is trying to find independent niches in which it can dominate and spark interest in the company again. Yahoo is a widely recognized brand, but has watched other tech companies take over and lead specific markets, like Google for search, Facebook and Twitter for social media, Amazon for online purchasing and Apple for mobile devices. Yahoo does have some popular products, such as its fantasy sports site and Flickr, a photo-storage site.
In the past 14 months, Yahoo has purchased approximately 30 companies (one every two weeks!) to expand its product range and improve its services. Tumblr, a blogging and social networking site that is increasingly popular with teens and college students, was its most visible purchase. This week, it purchased Vizify, a company that allows users to turn social media data into visually appealing infographics, videos or other Web displays.
Besides its external spending spree, the company has rolled out new versions of some key products. These included Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Finance.
Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, Yahoo was founded in 1995 by two Stanford University graduate students. It has been known for its search engine, finance, news, groups and other sites. After a decline for many years, Yahoo is showing increased traffic. Now Yahoo, along with several of the other companies it has purchased, hopes to further boost traffic and turn the increased interest into increased advertising sales, with the move to cut off log-ins from Google and Facebook as the latest step in that process.
By Dyanne Weiss