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Yahoo announces shutdown of user-generated content platforms

writerJuly 8, 2014

As part of a mission to “make the world’s habits more inspiring and entertaining,” Yahoo announced on July 2 that it would be eliminating two user-generated content platforms, Voices and the Contributor Network.

The announcement came via Tumblr from Jay Rossiter, Senior Vice President of the Cloud Platform Group, in an article titled “Furthering Our Focus.” The removing of these two Yahoo features is part of a series of forthcoming changes Rossiter spelled out in the article.

What are Yahoo Voices and the Yahoo Contributor Network?

The Yahoo Contributor Network (contributor.yahoo.com), which started in 2005, is a platform that allows a network of authors to publish articles, videos, images, or audio on any topic they choose. The content published on the Contributor Network is available for viewing by Yahoo’s daily online audience of more than 600 million users. Yahoo Voices became the digital library for the Yahoo Contributor Network.

Yahoo Voices (voices.yahoo.com) began in 2011 as a continuation of a publishing site known as Associated Content, which Yahoo purchased in 2010. At the time, Associated Content was publishing as many as 10,000 articles per week submitted by users.

Victims of Google Panda?

Google’s Panda algorithm, which searches the web for “thin content” or low-quality content sites, is believed to be what motivated Yahoo to remove these platforms. While Yahoo did not specifically point to Panda or discuss how it has impacted Voices and the Contributor Network, the discontinuation of these sites is an indicator that the heyday of user-generated content that is mass-produced has come and gone.

Around the same time that Yahoo purchased Associated Content, Google launched Panda to identify low-quality content sites that were sweeping across the web. Associated Content was hit hard, claiming that two-thirds of its content was affected. Yahoo shut down Associated Content in 2011 and removed about 75,000 of its articles while relocating the remaining content to the newly-created Yahoo Voices to start anew.

Rossiter said in the recent announcement that Voices will shut down on July 31, and the Contributor Network will cease operation sometime in late August.