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Yahoo teams with Consumer Reports

A subscription service will sell product ratings and buying guides from the caveat emptor magazine on Yahoo's shopping sites.

    Yahoo on Monday announced a subscription service that will sell product ratings and buying guides from Consumer Reports magazine on Yahoo's shopping sites in a continuing effort to diversify its revenue sources beyond advertising.

    The Internet media giant said it will also integrate free buying guides from Consumer Reports.

    The free guides on Yahoo will contain only general summaries of product categories, buying advice and information. Consumers can opt for pay-per-view product reports for $2.95 each.

    Yahoo said the premium content, like information in the magazine, provides in-depth buying advice and performance ratings, as well as information about key features and brand reliability on all the rated products in a category. The company said consumers can then buy the products on Yahoo's shopping sites.

    Yahoo's heavy reliance on advertising revenue has hurt the Web portal considerably as the online ad market has slowed. Like many companies on the Internet, Yahoo has been searching for ways to diversify its revenue and has begun increasingly to charge for services that were once free.

    The shift has not been easy for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company or for its consumers. The company's popularity grew exponentially among Web users because it offered free information and services, such as e-mail, news and stock quotes.

    Already, Yahoo has begun charging for several popular services, imposing listing fees for its Internet auctions, subscription fees for its real-time stock quote and financial services, and a charge for its Internet phone service.

    Monday's agreement is a coup for Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports and, giving it access to a large number of shoppers. During the height of the Internet explosion, a handful of product-review sites popped up backed by big-time venture capitalists. But Consumer Reports magazine and its Web site outpaced and outlived many of their newer rivals, including CMGI-backed Productopia.

    Consumer Reports is known for being supported by subscription fees rather than advertising, giving it greater credence among consumers for offering unbiased reviews. As of May, is the largest paid magazine-subscription site on the Web, with more than 560,000 paid subscribers, according to the company.