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The sad state of online publishing in SA

In last months DMMA/Effective Measure stats Yahoo has skyrocketed to number four in the list of publishers in South Africa. This for me is problematic; Yahoo redirects anyone coming to the site from South Africa to their homepage. For example, you come to the site to get your email you’re forced to see the content. Considering how long it generally takes to build a portal this site has been artificially boosted due to the redirection of traffic to this portal.

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Now you’ve also got to bear in mind that Yahoo has no original content. They syndicate content from the likes of Mail & Guardian, Primedia Online and Reuters. I don’t know if the publishers get paid for the syndication but unless they’re getting millions they’re giving away their most valuable resource (content) to another site.

Here’s the thing: this is genius from the part of Yahoo however the issue is that there’s a complete lack of originality and interesting content. I’m a huge proponent of content curation; essentially a site or person that acts as a guide to the web and all the content out there, picking the best for a reader. The Yahoo site essentially pulls in RSS feeds from these sites without any curation or a human deciding what works and what is junk.

Compare this strategy to that of MSN: they do essentially the same trick where anyone with Internet Explorer gets directed to MSN.co.za by default and this has resulted in tons of traffic. The difference is, they actually have local content producers rather than cribbing shamelessly from other providers. I’ve been told they have relatively high time on site stats as well as a reasonably good depth in the amount of pages users delve into. I’d assume these numbers are fairly high on Yahoo as well although this is probably due to the naivety of the kind of person still using a Yahoo email address. Considering they are nowhere on the mobile stats it’s fairly obvious this is all artificial traffic from users checking their email.

It’s a sad state for publishing in South Africa and I can’t see how this does the industry any good. If you’re bored then take a look here.

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