In probably the most substantive move of the Marissa Mayer era for Yahoo (beyond outlawing telecommuting), the search engine snapped up blogging site Tumblr fro $1.1 billion. It’s a move that changes Yahoo’s positioning against everybody’s arch-rival, Google Inc., on several dimensions.
First off, it adds a billion page views a month to Yahoo’s inventory, which in itself is nothing to sneeze at.
Second, there’s an existing inventory of 50 billion blog posts, with 75 million being added every day. More inventory, but this on the supply side.
Third, that content is in the holy grail category for online publishers: user-generated content. The best can be curated into Yahoo’s news, sports, lifestyle and business feeds. It’s a free wire service, in essence, of heavily engaged writers and readers.
This makes Google a truly social news site. Where Google aggregates links, Yahoo aggregates content, and now more of it engaged social content. I won’t use the word “portal” — that’s the kiss of death — but it is certainly a more generally useful site than Google. It will likely never catch Google on the search front, but it reinforces Yahoo’s position as possibly the leading news aggregator — with a handy search engine built in.