It was obvious that Yahoo was struggling with ideas with exactly what to do with MBL after they had acquired it for $10 million back in early 2007. In talks with one of our editors Yahoo told us that the initial idea for MBL was that Yahoo would know what pages MBL users visit outside of their own domains. Update: They specifically wanted to know what UCG their users frequented per Yahoo subdomain. This data is valuable for their search technology and index. The problem is that a lot of the MBL widgets are installed on pages with low traffic (read unimportant content). So Yahoo isn’t getting the data that they were hoping to get. The MBL widget is installed on ‘a couple of hundred thousand domains’ and the widget is generated a billion times per day! You can imagine that the operating costs are much higher than the actual benefits. Update: With Yahoo’s infrastructure the costs of operation is almost nothing (apart from time and effort by management and development – if any)
Why not sell it?
Another source told us that Yahoo had the opportunity to sell MBL to several parties. Yahoo got one offer per month. The reason why they don’t sell MBL to a third party must be that although the data isn’t relevant enough for Yahoo it might be for another company, so they rather kill it then sell it and grab some dollars. Update: The reason they (Yahoo) give is privacy. They don’t feel they can transfer user behavior data to an acquirer. It’s a reasonable argument but they could overcome it if they wanted to get a deal done.
Update: Head of the Yahoo! Developer Network, Chris Yeh responded on this on the Yahoo blog
“Frankly, it’s no secret within Yahoo! that we’re actively discussing the future of MyBlogLog. However, it’s also true that we have not made any final decisions at this point. Is a shutdown on the table? Sure, that’s an option. But there are other options as well.”
Co-founder of MyBlogLog Scott Rafer told us that he is drafting a public to support MBL’s continuation and wants to volunteer to put time/effort into it. More info on this later.
Alternatives for MyBlogLog
So for all MyBlogLog users and bloggers that have installed the MyBlogLog widget here are three alternatives.
1. Facebook Connect – If your audience is young and mainstream, you could use Facebook connect. Facebook is simply a way to bring the connections of Facebook onto your own site. The specific widget you need though is called Fan Box, a Facebook Connect-enabled social widget that sits in your sidebar. You do need a Facebook page however. Amongst other things, Facebook members can become a fan without leaving the site.
2. Google Friend Connect is also an option to build a community. The readers on your blog can connect with each other, they can review your blog, they can share cool posts on your blog and they can flow your blog this is unlike traditional RSS where you don’t know who is the Subscriber. Of course, with Google Friend Connect’s members widget you see the pictures and profile information of your subscribers too.
3. Twitter Widget – If Twitter is an important source of your traffic and you could use the Twitter Widget from Twitter Counter (like we do here on TheNextWeb – See sidebar). It shows us the most recent visitors, our top visitors and allows us to follow people based on actual visits to our site. (Disclosure: TwitterCounter is part of The Next Web incubator)