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Yahoo's Puzzling "Brand Universe"

  • GigaOM, Wednesday, January 31, 2007 10:45 AM
After a decidedly unsuccessful foray into the content generation business (which led to the departure of several top executives), Yahoo got the bright idea to construct pages using content created by others. In an effort to exploit the Web giant's good standing with major entertainment brands, Yahoo is building a "Brand Universe." It includes popular celebrities, video games, movies and TV shows with dedicated pages decorated with nice graphics and aggregated content from Flickr, Del.icio.us, Yahoo Answers and other Yahoo properties.

What exactly is the Web giant hoping to achieve? Is this a marketing platform? Is anyone paying them to do this? Are the brands even working with Yahoo to create these pages?

In some cases yes, others, no. Monetization isn't a priority, according to Vince Broady, head of games and entertainment, who insisted the project's "purpose is to support their brand." This is the first attempt by Yahoo's newly formed "Audience" division to grow its audience.

Gannes says the move proves that Yahoo is essentially transitioning into a marketing platform. The first branded page is for Nintendo's Wii (it's pretty uninspiring); pages for the Sims, Halo, Lost, "The Office," "Transformers the Movie" and "Harry Potter" are forthcoming.

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