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November 2, 2006

Yahoo! Answers “What’s For Dinner?”

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This gets me excited for an assortment of horribly geeky reasons, but Yahoo! has just launched Yahoo! Food, a delicious one stop shop for recipes, video cooking guides, expert chef advice, food blogs and easy-to-use Web tools. Oh, there will be much dancing in my kitchen tonight.

The new vertical will pull content from sites like Allrecipes.com, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Everyday with Rachael Ray and Wolfgang Puck, and let users share and rate recipes.

My favorite features is the quick recipe search which lets me search by which type of cuisine I’m in the mood for, how I want it prepared and what ingredients or spices I want to avoid. It basically ensures I will create something I’ll actually eat (which is a big issue for me) and that I’ll still be alive after I eat it. [That one is a big issue for me. –Susan]

There are two reasons being reported for the launch – first, an increased demand by advertisers, and second, that Yahoo! finally observed that approximately 1.5 million searches for recipes occur daily around 4 pm

(That’s nothing. You should see the confusion that ensues over here around lunch time.).

Whichever reason is more accurate, I imagine it’s the first, good for Yahoo! for listening to its audience and delivering what they want – a portal to yummy food!

More importantly than the yummy food (but not more important than pumpkin pie), this should make Yahoo! a fast friend to niche cooking sites looking for a more targeted place to advertise. Right now advertising options include branded recipes, banner ads, sponsorships and behavioral targeting based on users’ movements.

Why use Google when Yahoo! offers niche cooking sites with a window leading to their most loyal audience – the 45 million users who flock to food sites every month. You have to think if only half of them make their way over to Yahoo! and only half of that number is enticed enough to click on one of the mouth-watering advertisements, Yahoo! still wins.

It’s smart for Yahoo! to attack an area that Google (and others) has left largely undeveloped. And very smart for them to release so close to the holiday season when people live only to consume more food.

As usual, Yahoo will also use Yahoo! Food to tie in several of its other portals, including Yahoo! Answers and Yahoo! Local.

All in all, a very good release by Yahoo!, far better than their other release today — a plan to match souls. That totally gives me the creeps.

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