In the hyperdynamic, ever-evolving Web media world, Yahoo!
But a new effort could help Yahoo! take a step back toward the top of the evolutionary ladder. Saul Hansell of The New York Times writes that Yahoo! and Reuters
Back in June, I wrote that Yahoo!'s decision to concentrate on user-generated video made sense but that providing an incentive (I was thinking a monetary prize) to submit material could raise the bar on content quality, boost traffic, and increase the revenue Yahoo! generates from external clips. Now Yahoo! has hit upon an alternative incentive: the opportunity to be a real photojournalist.
The popularity of MySpace, YouTube, various blogs, and other user-generated sites sheds light on a widespread craving in our media-saturated society -- the desire to reach out, get some recognition, maybe even snatch 15 minutes of fame. Unfortunately, the plethora of opportunities for self-expression has led to a cacophony that tends to drown out individual voices.
For better or worse, media giants such as Yahoo! and Reuters still retain an aura of legitimacy that allows them to cut through the Web community's clamor. And now, Yahoo! and Reuters are giving users the chance to join that officialdom and maybe even get a modicum of recognition. Believe it or not, I think this could be a powerful draw and land lots more user-generated content (and by extension, advertising revenue) for Yahoo! Reuters reportedly will compensate users in certain cases -- something I think Yahoo! should seriously consider.
Of course, the program is not without its pitfalls. As the New York Times article notes, Yahoo! and Reuters will have to sort through lots of submissions and find ways to ensure that material is legitimate. Even so, the payoff is likely to be well worth these headaches.