This is a season for redesigns: the much talked about Yahoo homepage redesign has gone live in India, via an opt-in beta. It’s clear that the company has one key objective: to keep users on the Yahoo homepage, or at least, within the Yahoo ecosystem. As CEO Carol Bartz had said yesterday in the earnings conference call, “Our vision is to try to be the center of peoples online life.” According to Bartz, everyone wins: Yahoo gets traffic, publishers get monetization, and users get convenient access on a single page. Yahoo has set itself the mandate of making their platforms more open, social and scalable. Take a look at the new homepage here.
While not as radical and risky as Rediff’s redesign, the new Yahoo homepage allows users to sign in and access external websites from the sidebar, while still remaining at Yahoo. Interestingly, Facebook is included in the sidebar as a default, while MySpace is an additional add-on. Orkut, apparently, can’t get a parking space these days. Then again, most of the sections available are either Yahoo defaults, or International partnerships. Access to Gmail and AOL mail is also available.
In case of most of these, the partner page pop-up features a 300×250 display advertisement, and generate impressions.
We wonder if Yahoo India has the leverage to sign up local partnerships for the homepage. So far, the only Indian partner featured on the hopepage is Dainik Jagran, which was there in the previous version as well, as a Yahoo Partner. Yahoo Finance also displays inputs for the BSE Sensex. Yahoo India would do well to add more local partners.
At the same time, we wonder if Indian partners will sign on with Yahoo? Will a Times of India or an Economic Times come on board with a competitor of sister concern Indiatimes? We think it is unlikely, but other media companies like Business Standard, the Indian Express or the India Today group, which is bearish on the Internet in India, may be interested.
Yesterday, Rediff CEO Ajit Balakrishnan spoke to MediaNama about Rediffs radical site design change, and in particular, about incorporating social elements to increase engagement around content.
Note: we’ll have inputs from the Yahoo earnings conference call later today.