On Tuesday, July 6, Yahoo will announce the launch of a new news section called Yahoo Upshot. This will be one of the more controversial launches from the company in recent times. The launch follows Yahoo’s acquisition of user generated articles website Associated Content earlier this year.
So why is it controversial? Yahoo Upshot is not the traditional news portal where editors come across seemingly attractive topics and write about them. Instead, a team of search engine analysts will look into several keywords that users are searching on the web and use this data to provide the Upshot team with tentative topics that may be written as articles.
Yahoo defends that this is not a manipulation of search engine traffic. Instead, the company says that the data mined from search engines offer great insights into what people are looking for and hence the editorial will be able to serve the needs of these people better.
But there is no denying that Yahoo Upshot will be associated with other companies like Demand Media who similarly mine search engine query data to determine what topics to write on. While this is not entirely a bad thing to do, critics argue that these companies make use of low paid workers to churn out articles to get on top of search engines though their articles are not necessarily the most authoritative.
The debate has been on for quite some time now. It will be interesting to see how the launch of Yahoo Upshot affects this equation.