Yahoo Dishes Out New Food Site

  |  November 2, 2006   |  Comments

Yahoo Food, a site with an extensive catalog of recipes from partners and celebrity chef-authored blogs, is an attempt to reach foodies and general users, and to bring in advertisers.

Yahoo launched a new vertical content section today, in response to growing ad demand from CPG advertisers. Yahoo Food is filled with content that addresses both everyday and special occasion food needs of users.

The new food section is expected to appeal to foodies, as well as a broader audience of people looking for what to serve for dinner with "daily, fresh, and contextually relevant" content, according to Yahoo Lifestyles GM Deanna Brown. However, Yahoo's definition of a "foodie" is broader than most: anyone who thinks about food outside of mealtime.

Recipes and other food-related content will be supplied through publisher partnerships with companies like Allrecipes.com; Epicurious; Martha Stewart Omnimedia; Everyday with Rachel Ray; Food & Wine; Reader's Digest, Taste of Home; Eating Well and Wolfgang Puck.

Original content includes 13 blogs from influential personalities in the food world like "The Continental Chef" from Marcus Samuelsson; "Back to the Table" from Art Smith; "Donatella's Dish" from Donatella Arpaia; "Ed Levine Eats" from Ed Levine; and "Southern Table" from Frank Stitt. Culinary talent Brooke Peterson will also develop and host a video show called "Cheap and Easy."

Extensive local dining guides were developed by Yahoo's local teams.

The site goes live with Kraft as the premier marketing partner. Additional advertisers include Masterfoods USA, Sheraton Hotels and LendingTree. The food category attracts both endemic advertisers and those outside the category, according to Brown, due to its lifestyle and life-stage relevancy.

Yahoo plans to use its behavioral targeting capabilities to deliver highly relevant ads. At the time of launch, Yahoo Food will be part of a network buy that deploys behavioral. Additional opportunities for marketers include sponsorships and branded packages. For example, Kraft may package recipes that include the brand's ingredients.

Competition includes CNET's newly relaunched Chow.com which combines the acquired properties of Chow and Chowhound.com. Other competition is "anybody with a robust food offering on the Web," said Brown. Though she added, "a lot of our competition are our partners," and said the presentation on Yahoo Food makes it attractive to users.

Many of the features and functionality present on the food-focused site can be found on vertical sites across Yahoo's network, including Yahoo Tech, which launched this spring. Users can rate and comment on recipes and content. Yahoo expects the comments to be part of a collaborative effort with alternate versions or alterations to recipes. After launch, the ability to upload recipes and other content is expected to be added.

The page layout is described as a mosaic, as it's organized in sections with different content providers and celebrity contributors taking up real estate on the main page and sections of the site.

A module dubbed "My Food" will keep tabs on recently searched and viewed recipes for easy reference. Users can navigate through the My Food feature, or by categories arranged by ingredient, cuisine, special days, taste or mealtimes. A quick recipe search, in addition to the presence of Yahoo's search bar throughout the site, simplifies recipe location.

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Enid Burns

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