Message from discussion ****Yahoo! Co-Founder Says "We'll Stay On The Edge" 02/14/96
From: newsby...@clari.net (NB / MSP)
Subject: ****Yahoo! Co-Founder Says "We'll Stay On The Edge" 02/14/96
anpa: Wc: 0/0; Id: ; Src: nb; Sel: ; Adate: N.A-N.A
organization: Copyright 1996 by Newsbytes News Network
keywords: Bureau-MSP, Online & Internet
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, U.S.A., 1996 FEB 14 (NB) -- Under the
Communications Decency Act, World Wide Web indexes like Yahoo!
are not liable for providing links to objectionable material,
Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang told Newsbytes yesterday.
"We are going to continue to live on the edge when it comes
to that law. I think the edge is that as long as we do not
transmit indecent material, we are not at fault. We are only
brokering it," Yang said after a keynote speech at Web Developer
'96, a conference about World Wide Web site development, marketing,
and legal issues.
Despite his belief that Yahoo! is immune from blame for
"objectionable" hyperlinks, Yang severely criticized the measure.
"There's a bunch of potential loopholes in the Act. My biggest
complaint about the Communications Decency Act is that it was
made with such little knowledge of what the Web is about that
some of its aspects are bewildering to me," he said.
Along with dozens of other major Web sites, Yahoo! blackened
its home page last Thursday as a protest against the measure.
Yang expressed frustration that the page-blackening was a one-
time gesture rather than part of a coordinated strategy to give
the Internet industry a more audible voice.
"Last week was one of those really trying times where Yahoo
made a very difficult decision to blacken our pages. Whether you
come down on the side of the Communications Act or against it, it
was sad there was no way for our community -- the content
community -- to come together with one voice and have a platform
or a discussion," Yang said. "It wasn't so much about Bill
Clinton signing the bill, but a realization that if we are going
to be a bona fide medium, I urge everybody, not only to learn the
technology, but to take on some responsibility in how we can be a
Yang also utilized his platform to plead for more accurate
usage-measuring tools for Web sites. Otherwise, he implied,
Web-based advertising might lose its function as a necessary
income-generator for Web sites.
"Advertising will ultimately revolve around 'quality' on Web
sites. How long will advertisers last in this world, nobody
knows. Until we, as an industry, can come up with a way that says
advertising on the Internet is more effective than print,
television or cable, that 'how long' question is always going to
be in the back of everybody's mind," he said.
At the same time, however, Yang suggested that too much of a
cluttered advertising environment without the perception of
reader benefit may turn some people off to the Web as a whole --
and thus do far more harm than good.
"We can't focus enough on what the user wants," Yang said.
"There's a fine line between delivering what the user can use and
overcommercializing the Web. Every day we think about we need to
make more money on the Web, but how much is too much? We have to
continue with the process of developing value-added services
because in the end people will ask, 'For every $1 I spend on the
Web, how much revenue did I get?'"
Nevertheless, site "overcommercialization" is a powerful
temptation for Web site-builders who need to pay for continued
improvements, Yang admitted.
"The quality is becoming more and more competitive. Higher
quality emerges from those competitive environments. This is
hard on content providers, because you have to provide better
content at lower cost," said Yang.
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