Yahoo Shoposphere launches tonight (well, officially at 6 am EST tomorrow, but I’ve gotten permission to write about it tonight). I met with Rob Solomon, Yahoo’s GM of Shopping, and Sabrina Crider, a Yahoo PR Manager, last week to take it for a test drive.
Yahoo is making a major push into search personalization and recommendations – the overall project is called “Shoposphere” and the major feature being released is called “Pick Lists“. Their goal is to move ecommerce towards what they call “me commerce”. Any registered Yahoo user can create a Pick List.
Get on the Shoposphere…Make a Pick List
Pick Lists let you share the stuff you love and the stuff that matters to you with everyone or your friends… on the Shoposphere, throughout Yahoo! Shopping, by email, and even through RSS feeds.
Make a good one and it could even show up as one of the highest rated Pick Lists on the Shoposphere.
Yahoo has allowed users to create “uber lists” of bookmarked shopping items for a few weeks now. Items may be saved to a public or private list. Pick Lists are a subset of these uber lists. A user selects any number of items from the 75+ million unique products in the Yahoo Shopping catalog, names the list, adds ratings and comments for each item, and publishes it to a permanent URL.
My “Web 2.0 Gadgets” Pick List can be viewed here. Like the list? Say yes or no and vote on it. Want to leave a comment? Add it at the bottom. Really like it? Subscribe to the RSS!
The more people that vote for a Pick List, the higher it will appear in the Shoposphere.
There are a couple of features being added in the near future. The first is tagging – all lists will be able to be tagged by users and the list creator for easier search (compare this to Amazon Tags, which I wrote about earlier today).
The second upcoming feature is revenue sharing. Yahoo expects many users to promote their Pick Lists and some will generate significant traffic. Yahoo Shopping earns revenue a number of ways from its shopping platform – clicks to vendors, overture ads, etc. They plan to share some of these revenue streams with Pick List publishers, giving publishers a bigger incentive to publicize these on their websites. Yahoo will provide promotion tools for picklists, similar to the flickr badges seen all over the web.
Yahoo is also hoping to use Pick Lists to promote more long tail items from Yahoo Shopping. While Yahoo will continue to promote various items throughout shopping, they can rely on user generated Pick Lists to push deeper, less known items as well.
Yahoo is also releasing developer APIs to allow mashups with other applications.
Rob Solomon says Pick Lists are just the first major feature of the Shoposphere, and that they will be releasing new consumer driven merchandising soon. For another interesting experiment, check out Yahoo’s Mindset, an Ajax search interface which allows users to change search results based on whether they are more interested in “research” or “shopping”. It will be interesting to see how all of these features come together.