Why Yahoo Tech Looks Like "CNET For Women"

I2m_yahootech_1 Amplified by the launch today of their new and improved homepage design today, Yahoo has steadily been marketing their Yahoo Tech section to marketers, advertisers and site visitors.  Despite being missing from their new left primary navigation – the site has an interesting positioning in the world of tech and consumer electronics information.  Many of the content features focus on making sense of the over-gadgeted world, organizing your digital life, and using the voices of real people to describe technology rather than "experts" which most other sites use.  More than just a user friendly portal on everything tech, there are several cues that this effort is really positioned as a "CNET for women":

  1. Yahoo’s Overall Strategy – Over the past few months, several commissioned research pieces and survey nuggets have crossed my desk illustrating Yahoo’s commitment to serving the female audience.  They have had big efforts around the Oscars, and relaunched Yahoo Entertainment and Yahoo Health (two areas of Yahoo’s site that their internal research shows skew female). 
  2. Tech Advisors – To help sell the message of simplifying technology, Yahoo has launched tech blogs with real people offering "tech advice without the jargon."  Three of the four advisors are female, representing various segments of the female audience, including "The Techie Diva," "The Mom" and "The Boomer."  There is a guy too, but he is usually not featured on the homepage.
  3. Imagery and Design – Across the design of the tech area, images of women are frequent (more so than on other tech oriented sites) – and the redesign picks up on various elements that are common on female portal sites like iVillage and About.com, such as rounded edges and a softer colour palatte.
  4. Editorial Choices – A quick view of the current content features yields articles with such titles as "Spring Clean your Keyboard," "Tame your Home Theater Cables" and "Make Sense of HDTV Mumbo Jumbo."  These are all relatively nontechnical topics, very similar to content you might find on iVillage or other female portals – and provide a clearer description of terms that usually cause "digital confusion" such as HDTV.

With many reports talking about at least parity between the number of women and men online today, and growing trend data suggesting that purchase behaviour, both online and offline is driven by women – Yahoo Tech seems poised to fill a gap that previously only some great niche blogs and other content addressed.  Women are buying technology, and advising technology purchases.  Yahoo may be the first large portal site to focus on women and tech in a big way, but it won’t be long before CNET and others follow suit.

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