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Yahoo to host, not just point

As Yahoo continues to add content, partners, and regional guides to its site, it is morphing into a destination on the Web, not just a stepping stone to other sites.

As Yahoo (YHOO) continues to add content partners and regional guides to its site, it is morphing into a destination on the Web, not just a stepping stone to other sites.

Its latest venture is with MTV, a division of Viacom (VIA). The companies announced a strategic partnership today to develop and promote an online music guide. The site, called unfURLed, is set to launch in January. Users will be able to reach it from Yahoo's and MTV's site as well as America Online.

Yahoo's expanding content deals are aimed at holding on to visitors before passing them to other sites. "Obviously, there is some value in delivering people to sites of value, but we want to give people a first cut of info before going to other sites," said Matt Rightmire, producer of the upcoming site.

The site is slated to be more than just a search engine. The guide's content will be reviewed by MTV editors and classified into categories; it will also be constantly updated with music, news, and point users to sites that are informative and eye-catching.

Not only will unfURLed include "what is happening in the MTV genre of music offline, but it will focus on music as it is being treated in the online world," Rightmire said. It will feature reviews from MTV editors and offer site reviews submitted by users, as well as weekly columns on the state of the Web, listings for Web events, breaking news, music reviews, and weekly polls.

In other developments, Yahoo launched another regional guide, Yahoo Washington D.C. It features information from over 6,000 sites that cover the metropolitan area, including Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, and Georgetown, as well as neighboring communities in Virginia and Maryland.

This regional site is the fifth in a series of guides from Yahoo. The first in the series, Yahoo SFBay Area, launched on June 24, and more are on the way, according to Ellen Siminoff, director of Yahoo communities. The next regional guide, focusing on the Boston area, will launch in about a month.

Other regional guides include Yahoo Chicago, Yahoo Los Angeles, and Yahoo New York.

Yahoo Washington D.C. includes a gossip column for Capitol Hill, local weather forecasts, community bulletin boards, personal ads, classifieds, and employment listings.

Yahoo partnered with area companies to provide content, including The Washingtonian, The Washington Blade, WJLA-TV, Fodor's, Shadow Traffic, and ESPN.

Users who aren't located in major metropolitan areas need not fret for the lack of a Yahoo guide: The company's Get Local launched on November 4. It provides users with local information for more than 30,000 U.S. cities, covering over 40,000 zip codes. "It is for every city we could think of," Siminoff said.

Users type in their zip code, and Get Local creates a page with city and regional news, scores from local sports teams, weather reports, and links to a variety of local resources, entertainment, businesses, and activities.