Yahoo! WebRing Lite
This essay is based on postings to the Yahoo! Club WebringNews, made in four parts on Monday, 18.Sep.2000. This posting was also made to the Ring Managers List.
The essay has been slightly edited for this page.
See also the links after the essay to other resources on this site and across the net including the WebringNews Club, the Ring Managers List and more.
To email me about Yahoo! WebRing, either new problems or fixes to listed problems, email me.
This article is part of the Wazillion Navbars Project: a project to explore and write about the Yahoo! WebRing system. For a list of these articles
click here or see the section menu at the bottom of this page.
Note that the Yahoo! WebRing system no longer exists. It has been spun off to the independent WebRing.com system. The Wazillion Navbars Project has been closed. These pages are thus, no longer accurate and do not apply to the new WebRing.com system. Instead, these pages are being maintained for a "historical record".
For current information on the WebRing.com system, see my webring subsection
about the WebRing.com system.
Yahoo! WebRing Lite — The essay
I have had it. Cannot do anything with Yahoo! WebRings. I have either deleted my webrings or offered them to someone else. The system is bad (could use stronger language here) and is nothing like webring.org's system, which worked much more friendly to the ringmaster than Yahoo's.
Well, the new system allows for less control by Ring Masters but is more user friendly for the clueless. Except for when the server was down, everything has worked for me. I am not particularly fond of the Navbar and hope that Y is responsive to input on changing it, or offering alternatives, like different styles allowing for a bigger graphic or allowing HTML as an option. I can understand why they chose the user friendly approach as I have a lot of clueless friends I have to explain stuff too. My personal preference is to be able to customize everything. And the Navbar will be useful in
These two posts got me thinking. And one of the things they made me realize is some ringmasters may not have thought about the Yahoo! business model, how it applies to their Webring property and what it means to ringmasters.
The approach of the "original" Webring and the Yahoo!/Webring are very different. One is not "right" and the other is not "wrong". They are just different. Each approach will work for some; and each approach will fail miserably for others. RingMasters need to understand these differences in order to decide what actions to take, whether to stay with Yahoo!/Webring or whether to move to alternative services.
The original Webring, built by Sage Weil, was an exercise in building community that had an interesting side effect: it generated revenue for the tool host.
The Yahoo!/Webring is an exercise in producing revenue and, more importantly, increasing the perceived value of the stock with an interesting side effect: it may build community.
This does not mean that Tim Koogle's approach is wrong. It does not mean that ringmasters should leave the new Yahoo!/Webring. But it is important to understand.
To understand Yahoo!/Webring, you must begin to understand Yahoo! And one place to go is the 1998 and 1999 annual reports.
From the 1998 Annual Report
The only place anyone has to go to get connected to anything or anybody. (description of Yahoo!)
When I am at an event or waiting for an elevator, I am often asked to describe what kind of business we are in. The concept behind Yahoo! is simple --- it is the only place anyone has to go to get connected to anything or anybody. This concept is appealing to people, and I believe that is a key reason why Yahoo! is part of the lives of so many people.
Since the formation of Yahoo!, we have been relentless in building Yahoo! into the only place anyone in the world would have to go to find and get connected to anything or anybody.
We have always been very focused on acquiring and retaining as large and as broad a global audience as possible.
The core of our strategy has been to build a platform business that satisfies the needs of the largest global audience possible, and in a way that has Yahoo! increasingly woven into their lives. We have always reasoned that if we were to be successful in doing this, we would have millions of people coming to Yahoo! on a daily basis, showing us exactly what they found most popular. We would then use actual consumption patterns to address their needs for content, merchant services, and communication services. The result is a powerful, self-reinforcing distribution platform for an
ever-increasing array of content,
communication services, and merchant services.
From the 1999 Annual Report
We set out five years ago to build Yahoo! into the only place anyone in the world would have to go to find and get connected to anything or anybody. Our goal was to attract and retain as large a global audience as possible and give consumers a single, trusted, and comprehensive place to go for all of their daily needs, be it content, things to buy, or
ways to communicate with each other. From a business perspective, we set out to create a global, comprehensive, branded network.
Very early on, we saw a significant and unique opportunity to create, perhaps for the first time in the history of media, a truly global branded network business. All past media prior to the emergence of the Internet had physical distribution constraints that made it extremely difficult to build a single, global enterprise. The Internet removes geographic and time boundaries, and for this reason, presented us with an opportunity to establish a truly global network business. We began very early to take advantage of this unique opportunity. We started by creating a comprehensive navigational
guide as a platform, and then aggressively built deeper and deeper offerings in content, communication, and commerce off of this platform through extensive partnerships. And we started, early in the market cycle, to establish a direct, branded operational presence in the major connected population centers of the world.
By executing on this strategy, we have built one of the world's largest Web-based audiences, with a total of over 120 million Yahoo! users as of December 1999. We continue to drive deeper and deeper relationships with our global users by offering them an integrated suite of communication, commerce, and media services, becoming more and more woven into their lives as time goes on. And in doing this, we provide an extremely valuable and effective marketing and distribution platform that allows our advertising, merchant, and content partners the ability to connect with very large, targeted
audiences on our network.
Our growth strategy has always involved a strategic choice to remain an independent, open aggregator of content and services that we amass on behalf of consumers worldwide. Everywhere in the world, individual consumers highly value choice. And Yahoo! 's unique position allows us to aggregate anything and everything users could want to find and get connected to on the Web. Our brand continues to mean comprehensiveness, trust, choice, ease of use, and rapid innovation. As we continue to execute, our users repeatedly come back to Yahoo!, spending more and more time on our services and
So, let's summarize a few points.
- Yahoo! wants to be "the" place people go (e.g., "the only place anyone in the world would have to go").
- Yahoo! wants to use the content to cause people to go there every day as part of their "routine" (e.g., "our users repeatedly come back to Yahoo!, spending more and more time on our services" and "we would have millions of people coming to Yahoo! on a daily basis")
- Yahoo! wants a "consistent" user interface (a single ID) (e.g., "creating a comprehensive navigational guide").
- Yahoo! wants to be able to use their technology to (together with the single ID) to monitor what people do to target users. (e.g., "We would then use actual consumption patterns." and "create targeted interactive marketing programs" and "showing us exactly what they found most popular" and "we have built one of the largest voluntary consumer preference files")
[NB: Yahoo! strongly professes a commitment to individual privacy.]
- Yahoo! wants the Yahoo! "brand" to be preeminent.
So what do these mean. They mean that the first order of business for Yahoo!/Webring was to use the Webring (a) brand and (b) concept and (c) existing user base to (a) acquire Yahoo! users (sign up for an ID), (b) create a system that will maximize people signing up for Yahoo! IDs, and (c) maximize visits to the Yahoo! portal.
One of the "problems" with the "old" Webring was that it did not appeal or was difficult to use by (a) ringmasters who are HTML-clueless and (b) Ring Members who are HTML-clueless. Another problem is that it directs much of the traffic to the home page. And, a third problem is that the existence of Ring Controls on a member site did not directly promote the Webring "brand".
Yahoo! has solved these problems.
- The new system can be used by a ringmaster who is almost completely HTML clueless.
- The new system can be used by a Ring Member who is almost completely HTML clueless.
- The new system puts the Yahoo!/Webring "brand" on every page.
- The new system ensures that the "brand" identity of the Ring does not overshadow the "brand" identity of Yahoo!
- The new system does not require (and, in fact, prevents) "active" management by the ringmaster, attracting people with less time and less commitment.
Does this new system "work"? Yes, I believe that for many future ringmasters and many future Ring Members it will work very well.
I refer to this implementation as "Webring Lite". It is a form of Yahoo! Club for Webrings.
It probably does little to promote the ringmaster site, but that was not a goal. It probably does little to promote the particular "affiliation" of the Ring, but that was not a goal. It probably does little to promote aesthetic design, but that was not a goal. It might do a great job of what it was designed to do: allow easy joining of a Yahoo! Club for Webrings as a part of promoting the fundamental goals of Yahoo!
So, why all the rancor with the existing ringmasters. Because they are precisely not the target audience of the new system. Many, perhaps even most, of the existing ringmasters were more experienced web designers, who wished to attract more experienced websites into their causes and affiliations.
For me, the most important question is whether Yahoo! will only offer Webring Lite or whether it will also offer Webring Stout . . . the Webring service for the sophisticated ringmaster and the capable Ring Member. If all they offer is Webring Lite, I will leave. If they offer Webring Stout, and if they offer it soon enough, I could stay.
News and Announcements
Changes Big Time --- It was October 2001 that WebRing.com came into
existence following the end of Yahoo! Webring. Now, 5 years later, WebRing.com
is changing again. Moving from primarily a free service to primarily a paid
service, the system is undergoing massive change. Stay tuned.
Activity --- While
Ringlink has not released a new version
on 21.Feb.2005, the system seems to be getting a lot of activity. Many people
are discovering this great webring system and moving their webrings here. If you
don't know about Ringlink,
definitely check out this great webring system. I personally recommend
--- The World of Webrings features the World of Webrings discussion list. It offers a forum for both
webring owners (ringmasters) and webring members to discuss the latest hot topics about all webrings, including WebRing.com,
Alt-Webring, RingSurf, Bravenet and others. If you belong to any webring in any webring service, you should join this list.
Passes 3 Year Anniversary --- It was 3 years ago, on 16.Aug.2003 when the WoW list list noted that RingSurf's domain name registration had changed.
Then the new owner came forward. A RingSurf Feature List was developed and debated. Then, on Thanksgiving day, 27.Nov.2003 the new owner posted on the WoW list that the new RingSurf is up! If you haven't checked it out lately, see what has happened in the last three years.
Article About Webrings --- Check out this excellent Salon.com article about the history of Yahoo! and WebRing.com:
The Strange Saga of Yahoo and Webring
. For some, it will bring back memories. For others, it will explain the history.
Now, I wonder if they will update it to talk about the latest WebRing.com
The Wazillion Navbars Project
Webring Sections and Subsections
The Webring Section is a large section of my website. I have divided it into four major "subsections".
- General Information
- The WebRing.com System
- Webrings I Own and Belong To
- The Wazillion Navbars Project
each "subsection" has it's own special "logo".
As you travel in the various subsections you will find, near the bottom of each page, links to pages within that subsection and also links to the other subsections. To go to any subsection, just click on the "logo" or on the text link for that subsection.
Webrings: General Information
This subsection includes general information about webrings. Webrings can be hosted by a variety of different services. This section deals with the overall concepts and issues, not with any one particular "brand" of webring.
It includes my Webring FAQ, links to articles about webrings, and general help information. Click here or on the graphic.
The WebRing.com System
This subsection includes specific information about the WebRing.com system.
While not the only webring system on the net, it is the best known and the most used. I own many webrings in this system and belong to many webrings in this system. (I also own and belong to many webrings in other systems as well.) Click here or on the graphic.
Webrings I Own and Belong To
This subsection shows all the webrings I own and links to all the webrings to which I belong. This includes webrings in Ringlink, RingSurf, Bravenet and the WebRing.com system as well.
If you are looking to join one of my webrings, this is a good place to start. If you wonder about the webrings I belong to, this is the place to go. Click here or on the graphic.