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Yahoo Sporty Project Codenames Continue With "Touchdown"

An apps marketplace on the highly trafficked site?

Being one of the more sports-impaired people I know, I now have concluded that there is a plot on the part of Yahoo execs to codename yet another internal effort to turbocharge the company after a sports metaphor.

So far, it has been “Homerun,” the secret moniker for the Silicon Valley Internet giant’s effort to redesign its main homepage into its current stream-heavy look. (Baseball, right?!?)

Then, it was “Fast Break” and “Curveball,” two project names for an attempt by CEO Marissa Mayer to get back into the search business. (Basketball and more with the baseball!)

And now, according to numerous sources, comes a plan to turn part of the homepage into a kind of app platform in a project called “Touchdown.” (Football, I shall hazard to guess!)

Apparently many months in the making, Yahoo apps — as well as third-party ones — would be published on the highly trafficked site, in an effort helmed by Mike Kerns, SVP of homepage and verticals.

I am not clear whether that makes Touchdown a kind of app discovery service or an Apple iTunes or Google Play type of destination. But the concept is that a lot of people go through the site daily and it’s found money to take advantage of the valuable digital real estate.

Since I am the elephant who remembers all of Yahoo’s previous efforts on the home page, I know that this general concept — at least broadly — has been tried before, when former exec Tapan Bhat was in charge.

As I wrote in 2008:

“The new homepage will prominently feature a left-hand vertical bar, which has applications from both Yahoo properties and third-party services like eBay. These apps can be added and subtracted easily. Eventually, there will be thousands of apps, from Yahoo and, after vetting, from outside developers.”

Yahoo later abandoned the effort — I think!

Of course, apps marketplaces have gotten a lot more important since then, and Yahoo is trying to drastically shift its Webtop-centric business into a mobile one, so who knows if it will work this time. Also: Who knows if Yahoo launches this project or not either.

All I do know is that I wish Yahoo would change its project names to 1980s television shows, so I could follow along better. After all, “Three’s Company” makes for a great codename for a merger with AOL and Microsoft. Just sayin’!

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