Even with Facebook facing some additional severe privacy issues this week (see previous post, "Social Media Privacy Leaks Creates More Detractors Than Promoters For Facebook"), Yahoo is said to be launching their own version of Facebook Connect, called Y Connect. The question being - doesn't a third or fourth mover in the 'social graph' space give one pause to ask the question "Why Connect" with yet another similar service?
CNET joins the rumor mill by noting Yahoo's speculative launch while calling out Facebook for "sharing user data - a violation of its own terms of service."
According to the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo's Y Connect will allow media publishers, Web developers and any Web site interested the opportunity to interface with Yahoo- similar to how Facebook's LIKE buttons are working presently via their controversial Open Graph. While Yahoo representatives refused to comment, it has been rumored that Yahoo's "me too" version would assist Internet companies in tracking the activities of users around the Web to better tailor advertising offerings to them.
As Facebook and Google battle out Internet dominance, it is certainly questionable as to the success of Carol BartzYahoo's venture. Struggling with flat revenues, Carol Bartz, the company's chief executive is looking for ways to join this highly competitive space, but "copy cat" tactics usually reinforce the efforts of the first movers in the field versus allowing followers to gain a foothold.
Yet, the speculation has even gone as far to say that Y Connect which already includes Facebook and Twitter log-in options has secured one of its first deals for Y Connect with HuffingtonPost.com. However, market analyst Greg Sterling said he was skeptical "about whether Yahoo will persuade the market to adopt Y Connect, in part because so many publishers are already on board with Facebook."
According to Alexia Tsotsis at TechCrunch, she notes that "the most horrendous crime Yahoo commits here is that it makes the same mistake as Google Buzz, i.e. confusing people you email with people within your social graph." The report goes on further to state that even though Yahoo did scale to 177.5 million unique Comscore visits in September versus Facebook's 148.4 million, its growth (9.5 percent year over year) falls significantly short of Facebook's 55.4 percent.
Perhaps these rumors are a trial balloon that Yahoo is floating to see how the blogosphere weighs in on this type of approach. If that be the case, I would say, based on the number of posts to date, they are going to be waking up to some dismal prognostications. So whether these reports are on target with a Fall release, I think Yahoo might heed the writing on the wall (obvious Facebook reference, sorry) - and rethink piggybacking off the number one social network in the land, particularly since many of us are not so crazy about their privacy breaches.