Sunday, July 20, 2008

Why Yahoo!Buzz destroys Google News

Fundamental business practices can easily be overlooked when a company grows quickly. This is because employees are tempted to forget the foundations of their company's success. Therefore, management must always be on the alert for sloppy customer service and take corrective action quickly; otherwise, the company direction alters and customers leave in droves. This is Google's problem. The people behind Google News fail to understand the roots of the Google success and have honestly earned themselves a reputation for lacking business skills. While Google News is stale, Yahoo Buzz flourishes due to their inclusive business practices.

Where do you turn if you are a blogger and interested in gaining traffic? Years ago, Slashdot was the place. Eventually Digg gained fame. Now, people head for aggregators. However, which aggregator gives the best traffic? Yahoo Buzz hopes you turn to their site. Comparing their initial email to potential publshers shows the difference in business approaches and quite possibly a clue as to why Yahoo Buzz destroys Google News. The Yahoo Buzz email is exciting and positive while Google News places several negatives in their email. Which email would you prefer to receive?

Initial Google News Email

Thank you for your interest in Google News. In order to help us deal with
the large number of requests for inclusion in Google News, we ask that you
review our guidelines below and reply to this email if your site meets our

We typically include sites in Google News that:
- have news content that is original to the site
- don't solely promote their own activities
- are written and maintained by a clear organization, one that has
multiple writers and editors

Please let us know if your site fits these guidelines. If it does, you may
want to review our technical requirements as well found at After we
hear from you, we'll be happy to review your site for inclusion in Google

While we strive to include as many sources as possible, please be aware
that we can't guarantee the inclusion of your articles in Google News. We
appreciate your support as we work to improve Google News.

The Google Team

How many negatives do you count in the Google News email?

  • Turn Off #1: ask me to read their guidelines

  • Turn Off #2: Ask me to respond to push the review forward

  • Turn Off #3: State they can't guarantee inclusion

Initial Yahoo Buzz Email

Thanks for your interest in Yahoo! Buzz.

We're working hard to get the site ready for more publishers, and we would appreciate your patience as we prepare to launch out of beta in the coming months.
We will let you know as soon as Yahoo! Buzz is ready for you to join.

We can't wait to bring you on board!
-Yahoo! Buzz Team

Do you see any Turn Off Messages in the Yahoo Buzz email? No. We have a winner. Re-read how Yahoo employees spun the negative of the customer needing patience - "we will let you know as soon as Yahoo!Buss is ready for you to join." How cool is that?

Now, not everything is perfect with the emails. Immediately you will notice that both of these companies fail to personalize the email. First, the individual should be addressed. For example, Dear Layne would appropriate. Second, the employee responsible for sending the email should sign their name in closing.  Third, neither company provides a status prompt for the publisher to see the status of the application online. Why can't I just go to a password protected location on a website and see the status of the review?

After comparing both emails, Google News is clearly not interested in growing the number of their publishers. And the first rule of business is that if you are not growing then you are dying. I would suggest Google News modify their initial email. Make the email a more joyous occasion and let people feel good. There is no need to smash a potential client with the first email because that can be done with the rejection email.

How would you re-write these emails to maximize public relations?