Yahoo Japan invites user editors to run news page

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Yahoo Japan goes its own way and is a respected market leader there

In the slightly calmer internet waters over in Japan, it's hard to believe that Google is not the number-one search engine, and almost as difficult to grasp that market-leader Yahoo is almost as innovative there as its more nimble rival in the West.

Coincidentally, the latest move by Yahoo Japan – the firm now has only the name in common with the US Yahoo – sees it echoing Google's Knol project as it moves into user-generated content.

Expert input

Visitors to the Japanese-language Yahoo News page are now presented with large chunks suggested and edited by other readers. The idea is that the 'Editable related section' should offer Wikipedia-like expert knowledge culled from other Yahooers in Japan.

As with Wikipedia or Knol, the sources used don't have to be anything to do with Yahoo – they can even be in other languages – although, Yahoo's influence in Japan means that a lot of referenced material is its own anyway.

Exam hell

Unlike those US projects, however, Yahoo requires user editors to apply for their (unpaid) positions and even has an online test to sort the sheep from the goats.

If the Japanese experiment proves successful, could we soon see those Wikipedia vanity editors forced to shape up or ship out? Let's hope so.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.