Return to Headlines INTERVIEW-Yahoo!(NASDAQ:YHOO) to offer services,eyes Spain
Reuters, Monday, February 09, 1998 at 03:39
By Marcel Michelson CANNES, France, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Internet company Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) Inc, which started as a search engine, now aims to create communities on the net and compete with online service providers such as America Online as well as with publishers. Heather Killen, vice-president international at Yahoo!, told Reuters the company planned to expand its geographic spread and would target the Spanish speaking communities next. As a media company, Yahoo! offers audiences, based on culture, demography or interests, to advertisers and merchants. The bigger the audiences, the better the pay-off. Killen said she did not agree with statements from people saying Europe or Freance was lagging behind the U.S. in Internet development. "I could not disagree more," she said. "The traffic we do in our French company is at the same level as what we do in Germany and the U.K." "As far as doing business is concerned, actual transactions, that is trailing on traffic, but that is as you would expect." "You have to demonstrate that there is an audience out there before people will see it as a major distribution channel." "A good old media principle. You create an environment, where people want to come and consume information and services. And then you provide marketers with access to that audience." "We sell advertising and we also increasingly directly sell to merchants access to that audience," she added. Killen said she believed Yahoo! helped create audiences -- people connecting to the Internet -- by being available in local languages in local markets. "We're going to extend our range, geographically and also try to deepen our product offering in those markets. It's important to offer users in 1998 a 1998 experience." "What you will see us do increasingly is provide services to users that will allow us to enter in a relationship with them. Yahoo! is available free on the web, it is not a subscription service," she said. "However we believe that we can create and have created a lot of services that make it worthwile to users to tell us something about themselves, through chat, through web-based e-mail, classified services. Have people create homepages on Yahoo." "Going from just a search and directory service, with advertising, to really creating communities online and creating relationships with our users, that is our big strategic step this year," Killen said. This would put Yahoo! in direct competition not only with other search engines -- Alta Vista, Excite! Hot Bod -- but also with the America Online/Compuserve (NYSE:AOL) combination as well as publishers which are spreading to the net, such as France's Hachette (SBF:LAGA) with its Elle magazine and website. Yahoo! does not provide Internet access. America Online does and Lagardere, the owner of Hachette, has its Club Internet for access. But Yahoo! does not need to provide access now that an increasing number of telecommunications companies are offering Internet access and are looking for content to go with it. Last month, Yahoo! teamed up with MCI Communications Inc (NASDAQ:MCIC) to rival America Online in the U.S. residential market from March.