RealTime IT News

Yahoo Debuts Advice Column

In a play for more eyeballs, Yahoo today announced Yahoo Tech, which delivers tech-purchasing advice for information-seeking consumers.

The site will feature licensed and original content aimed at consumers looking to buy new gadgets and technology, according to a statement.

Companies are spending more on advertising across the Internet, but content that offers advice on what's best to buy will always get attention from those who are selling.

In addition to licensed content from Consumer Reports, the Dummies brand, PC World, CNET, and PC magazine, the site will feature a set of Tech Advisors.

Like professional wrestlers, each advisor will embrace a persona. There will be "The Mom," the "Techie Diva," "The Working Guy," and "the Boomer." The characterizations should help advertisers know where to put their market-specific banner ads. No word on theme music.

Yahoo Tech crystallizes the differences between Yahoo and its biggest competitor for Internet advertising dollars: Google.

When Google announced its finance Web site last month, many suggested the company could no longer deny it had become a Yahoo-like portal.

But don't expect any Google rivals to "Dory the Mom" or "Robin the Boomer" anytime soon.

While Google has a plethora of portal-like products, including Gmail, Google Finance, and Google Calendar, the content generated for those services still originates from elsewhere.

Google's trick is to put contextually relevant advertising in close proximity with that content. That proximity and shared color-scheme help to profitably blur the line between content and advertising made bold by banner ads.

Yahoo Tech, on the other hand, shows the Yahoo's steadfast loyalty to the banner ad. The method suits the metrics Yahoo uses to sell itself to advertisers. Unlike Google, Yahoo measures how much time surfers spend on its site.

With its world of portal services, ranging from 60 Minutes video content to fantasy sports, Yahoo has been able to attract a large and loyal audience that spends a long time looking at Yahoo sites every day.

Yahoo measures that amount of time and shows it to advertisers who relish the idea of consumers putting their eyeballs on pictures of their products or logos every few minutes.

While Google advertisements lead consumers to the transaction point, Yahoo advertisements create brand awareness.

And now with the help of "Gina the Techie Diva," no less.