Serving the space between

As a blogger and old school web publisher (Tokyo Q, one of my first efforts, is now enjoying its 10th year of service), I love to talk about tools that help publishers take advantage of the internet as a delivery channel. Coming up on my first anniversary at the big Y, I am now putting my back to a project that I believe will have a huge impact on Yahoo’s partnership with online publishers. As Product Manager of the Yahoo Publisher Network, I hope to create a place where everyone from the casual blogger looking for extra widgets to the online editor of a major media site can come learn about and manage everything Yahoo has to offer to support their craft.

I enjoy working with a team towards the common goal of putting out a product that is used by people around the world and look forward to doing this with the YPN team. I’ll be working with Cody Simms who I met during my first week at Yahoo and see as a kindred spirit in the quest to get the word out about all the cool things Yahoo does. I am also looking forward to working with folks like David Zito, Andrew Negrin, John Lindal, and a host of other really talented developers. It’s rare that you have a developer team as fired up about a project as the Product Manager and it’s clear I’m going to have to work hard to keep up with them.

I will be spending time at the Yahoo Burbank offices learning about the advertising side of the business. All the systems that power the ads that run next to the Yahoo Search results and on partner sites across the web are optimized to serve not only the user, but also the web site publisher and advertiser. Balancing the needs of each of these parties is an art, especially in these times when the proverbial invisible hand is trying to figure out where to push.

I admire the work the Yahoo Developer Network has done to document various Yahoo APIs and UI libraries for the developer community. Chad Dickerson and those before him have done great work in turning Yahoo inside out and embracing a new world which now extends beyond the domain.

I hope to bring this same collaborative spirit YPN. Provide tools that make it easy. Push the technical hassle into the background, let the publisher focus on their readership, building an audience, matching products and services to that audience. It’s not hard to stitch two web services together to make a compelling mashup, we need this same ease of use and community for online publishers.

A few of us spent a morning last Friday walking about 30 Yahoo employees through setting up and accessorizing their blogs. Everybody got up and running but there is still a huge opportunity to make it easier and more integrated. Building a readership is hard enough, the tools and utilities to support your readers need to be easy to integrate. The individual pieces are in place, we just need to put them into a package and create a home where a community of publishers can learn from and help each other succeed. Wish me luck!