Inside Yahoo's Personals

Inside Yahoo's Personals.  Robert Scoble:  The next-door neighbor across the hall (I'll keep him anonymous for now so he doesn't get in trouble for talking to me) from me runs Yahoo's Personals section. (Tagline: “Where millions of singles meet!”) We talked yesterday a lot more about what's going on there. Turns out personals is one area where Yahoo is making a lot of money. Let's see. $20 a month subscription fee. Thousands of new subscribers every month. He says that Yahoo is hiring like mad to code new features into the personals pages (since they are making money), but that he's worried that they won't be able to train the newbies fast enough. “When we put code on our server it'll be hit by millions of people immediately. There's no room for mistakes.” Another thing he worries about? Prostitutes. Turns out that a fair number of the personal ads are from prostitutes who just want you to pay for sex or want you to visit their porn pages. This pisses off legitimate members who are just trying to meet a normal guy or gal. How do you protect yourself? Well, for one, don't just go for the best looking photos. They tend to have a far higher percentage of prostitutes. He says that once in a while a legitimate “babe” does show up, but that usually those types pull down their pictures after a few hours because they get too many responses. He also says they try to take care of customers who complain about non-legitamate users. He also does a lot of work to try to get rid of them (I won't share his techniques here, but they use both algorithms and human reviews to try to filter out the prostitution and porn rings). The business model? You only pay to respond or to post ads. You can read the ads for free. This is yet another example of why I like living in Silicon Valley. Where else could you meet someone who runs Yahoo's personals? [Scobleizer Radio Weblog]

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