We have already received a lot of great feedback from you and we look forward to hearing more. Please e-mail me any Internet-related questions you have to UASKYAHOO@YAHOO.COM and I’ll do my best to answer all of them in my upcoming columns.
--Geoff Ralston, Chief Product Officer, Yahoo!
What is a Blog?
The name "blog" is short for weblog, derived from the combination of web and "log." Blogs are web pages comprised of usually short, frequently updated items and web links. They are almost always open for others’ viewing and response. Blogging as a publishing tool is used for many purposes such as traditional journalism, personal journals and group discussions around a particular topic. Bloggers cover every topic imaginable from new mothers to dogs to quilting. Even celebrities have tried it. According to Wired Magazine, it’s estimated that nine blogs are created every minute. The word blog has even made itself into the Oxford English Dictionary! And with the election approaching, blogs have taken on a greater media role in the political scene. Howard Dean’s grassroots campaign got a huge Internet boost from the community site meetup.com, where round-the-clock blogging by Dean supporters helped drive him into a (temporary, but astounding) lead amongst the Democratic contenders. Dean eventually launched his own blog which he continues to this day at blog.deanforamerica.com/. Dean and his bloggers are considered the first campaign to truly harness the fundraising potential of the Internet. Only a year later, blogs are now commonplace among political campaigns - from the presidential campaign to state and local elections across the country. At the Democratic and upcoming Republican National Conventions, bloggers were issued press passes to report on the convention in real-time, a first for politics. Bloggers on entertainment, on politics, on every topic conceivable are revolutionizing how people consume information and communicate around the world. One of the biggest Internet trends, which is having a major impact on the world of blogging, is Really Simple Syndication (RSS). RSS is really just an easy way for anyone to publish their content and make it available to anyone with an RSS reader. RSS makes it easy to aggregate and distribute Web content, such as breaking news stories and blog postings. Original content publishers -- running the gamut from niche blogs, to the world’s most recognized newpaper publishers -- are beginning to publish in this emerging format. At Yahoo! we’re leveraging RSS to let people include content from all over the web, including news headlines, summaries and content from favorite web sites and blogs right onto their My Yahoo! personalized web page. From the "I’d Rather be Knitting" blog to the Wall Street Journal, with RSS people can get the news and information that is most relevant to them all in one place. And any time you search on Yahoo! the results let you know instantly if there is an RSS feed for that site that you can add to your My Yahoo! page. It is developments like these that are allowing this simple publishing standard to take the web by storm, and making blogs and blogging a must for the Internet savvy.
Has any progress been made on the anti-spam front to protect e-mail users?
Yes, there has been quite a bit of progress, as anti-spam technologies and solutions continue to evolve. In June 2004, the Anti-Spam Technical Alliance (ASTA), including Yahoo!, Microsoft, EarthLink and America Online, unveiled the results of more than a year of close collaboration on the spam front by presenting a host of detailed best practices and recommendations for the entire industry and consumers. Yahoo! and Microsoft, part of ASTA, have introduced authentication solutions with one unilateral objective: validate the identity of the senders of e-mail. Right now, you may get emails from people that you think you know or you may even get emails that look