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Analysts welcome clarity on Yahoo BOSS plans

Juan Carlos Perez | Feb. 14, 2011
Yahoo has gone a long way toward further dispelling the uncertainty around its BOSS search developer program with the establishment last week of a fee structure for it and with the pledge to upgrade its functionality in the coming months, analysts said.

He's also not clear what BOSS will cost him; he won't be able to offset the cost through the use of advertising because the search application would be research-oriented and not commercial.

"Any fees are purely expenses that my research project will have to bear. The fees are small, but we do run a large number of very simple queries," he said via e-mail.

The natural evolution of BOSS pointed toward a fee-based model, especially after Microsoft and Yahoo signed their search partnership, which calls for mutual collaboration and revenue sharing, said analyst Charlene Li from Altimeter Group.

"All free things come to an end, and this is no different," she said via e-mail.

Yahoo is transitioning its back-end search infrastructure to Bing, on which BOSS will also run. The global transition of Yahoo's search infrastructure and search ad system is expected to be complete next year. It's already been completed in North America.

"BOSS was a wonderful playground for developers to try out new ideas and services," Li said. "If you're going to play with BOSS, you have to pay for the privilege."

As part of the search agreement, Yahoo will rely on Bing for Web crawling, site indexing and result matching and ranking, as well as on Microsoft's AdCenter for self-service sales of pay-per-click text search ads.

In turn, Yahoo will be in charge of premium, guaranteed-placement search ads and of managing relationships with big advertisers, search-marketing firms, resellers and their clients.

Yahoo said last week that technical documentation on BOSS V2, as the company calls the next version of the developer program, will be provided by March 1st. Yahoo plans to roll out BOSS V2 this summer.

BOSS stands for Build Your Own Search Service and is aimed at developers of all sizes, including individuals, startups and large companies.

 

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