Yahoo, Kardashian & the Spectrum of Engagement

Aug 18, 2010

Originally Published on on August 13, 2010 The more Internet scientists find out about us, the better they can build a business. That used to end with personalization, but now it’s about who we touch, and whether we matter more than Kim Kardashian. “What’s important to advertisers is who influences who,” says Prabhakar Raghavan, head of Yahoo Labs. Figuring that out, he says, can raise the value of an Internet ad tenfold, or provide advertisers with influence. “Content is increasingly not the only form of engagement –is playing a game, or hanging out with your friends, content? We have to look at a spectrum of engagement.” Hot off the servers: It’s not worth the $10,000 some advertisers pay for Kim Kardasian to Tweet about their product, Yahoo researchers found. At least not compared with paying 10,000 ordinary people $1 each to give the same plug. It is not that the nobodies have more followers, in aggregate; it’s that they are taken more sincerely, and so others are likely to propagate the plug. As sincerity is the kind of filter the rest of us look for in sorting out what’s real. Such seemingly odd matters count for Yahoo’s profitability. Chief executive Carol Bartz has elevated Raghavan’s position in the company, counting on him to find ways not just to get people to stay longer on Yahoo, but to find new measures for what they do online, seeking the most value-added ways to hit them with advertising. As what we do, how they measure has to change, too. Read more at