When Yahoo! Execs meet Cebu bloggers!
Yahoo! Philippines came to Cebu for a little gathering with Cebu bloggers. We learned so much about the history of the company, what’s in store for ph.yahoo.com, their views and some of their web success stories at the same time they got to know us and the things we write about.
ROLL CALLI arrived at the TGI Friday’s Ayala quite a bit later than them and everyone else was already cozy when I joined in. It was great seeing my friends and colleagues in Cebu Bloggers Society Incorporated (CBSi): Ate Wil of misswihelmina.com, Ate Ag of empressofdrac.com, Kuya Mark of bugits.com, Kuya Kevin of kevinraychua.com, Kuya Rab of rabsing.com, Ate Guada of kiatan.com, Kuya Bjorn of bjorncebuano.com, and Kuya Tianex of tianexxtreme.com. It was also my first time to meet Zyza, Ate Guada’s sis, Mr. Jun Tariman of juntariman.wordpress.com and DYAB, and another time to encounter Mr. Jerome Locson of jeromelocson.com.
YAHOO! PIPSYahoo! Philippines Country Manager, Mr. Jack Madrid is a man who exudes confidence and was well-schooled in every manner. He greeted us and chatted with us one by one as he tries to get to know us better. He was once graced the halls of MTV Philippines, Ayala Corporation and Dell Philippines as Managing Director.
Yahoo! Philippines Country Editor, Mr. Erwin Oliva, a musician and a dad. Aside from teaching in UP Diliman, he also runs a personal blog http://erwinoliva.com which he calls his virtual nook.
YAHOO! HISTORYTwo years ago, Yahoo! Philippines started with only three people, Mr. Jack Madrid tells us, and it was only until mid-2009 that they wanted to have an office with all departments to develop Yahoo! Philippines homepage (http://ph.yahoo.com). The reason they wanted to develop the homepage is that they wanted a Yahoo! Site that is made only for Filipinos which their business rival is not good at. So they partnered with leading content providers for their news items.
Despite the success of their obvious counterpart, some 20 million people still use the Yahoo! Search Engine, he says.
- During the recent Philippine elections, Yahoo celebrated a high traffic with 100% clickthrough rate when they first broke the news about Manny Villar’s conceding. Even their international CEO, Mr. Madrid adds, couldn’t believe it.
- Comelec also used the Yahoo! Video they shot for a nationwide television campaign about the automation of elections.
- The Yahoo! Purple Thumb, he claims, was proud of its elections live blogging and real time updates. They wanted a site that will guide the nation from the elections, to the tabulation and finally to the SONA.
- They started with running 6-8 stories from traditional media content providers such as newspaper publications. Now they co-publish around 20-24 stories per day that is 100% original content from contributors and bloggers.
- Manny Pacquiao’s successive wins have made him one of the most searched athletes in the world so Yahoo! Decided to collate news about him in a Manny Pacquiao dedicated site which was interestingly decided over bottles of beer. Mr Madrid says that they “did something special over the last 3 fights even if they don’t have much video content since they are licensed to HBO and Solar.” Aside from live blogging, the commenting area was flooded by speculations and predictions from people that even non-Filipinos could follow through the Yahoo! Site.
- Basketball is very popular in country and to tap the youth’s interest in UAAP, they launched a site called “College Hoops” which featured multimedia, fan pages for every school and an updated team standing tally. “There are so many things that happens after the game” and that inspired them to create a site that lets the fans get to know their players, cheerleaders and some idols better because “at the end of the day it’s all about the audience.”
CONCLUSION“Social is very important but we don’t need to make a social destination,” that is why they successfully integrated their web services with Facebook and Twitter. They also just recently launched their new Yahoo! Mail beta which is definitely two times faster despite the CSS beauty and a lot of AJAX stuff. The new Yahoo! Messenger 10 boasts of a lot of features that is innovating communication that it will not surprise me that it will become the next Skype or something.
Aside from top secret Yahoo! Philippines plans, Mr. Madrid also shared some personal stories like how Cebu is so close to his heart as his mother is a Cebuana and how he admires the Cebuano music scene. Urbandub, Shiela and the insects are just a few of his favorites.
“We are getting to know the Filipino,” Mr. Jack says as he emphasizes that content is the best thing they could tap on to stay on top. Their regionally relevant content will make Yahoo! one of the best destinations for reliable, timely and equally entertaining information. “In a digital world, constant evolution is needed.”
photo by Ate Guada