Yahoo! offers $25k for alumni signups
November 29, 2007 9:18 AM
Yahoo has offered $25,000 to the alumni association whose college has the most alumni members sign up for its new networking site by the end of the year.
Seeking to combine a social networking Web site like MySpace or Facebook with a professional networking site like LinkedIn, Yahoo began this month offering a preview of Yahoo Kickstart. The new Web site is intended to connect college students, alumni, and professionals, helping them to exchange job and internship information.
As of Tuesday evening, SF State had 47 alumni signed up, just two fewer than Harvard and more than twice as many as Yale. UC Berkeley had 251 sign-ups, and City College of San Francisco had only one.
“College students are about to go through a major life transition, finding their first job and career. For them, submitting resumes to job sites or companies seems like a black hole,” said Scott Gatz, Yahoo's senior director of advanced products.
“So, enter Kickstart. It’s based on the premise that everyone does have a network: the school you went to, the frat/sorority you were in, the professional/interest group you are in, the companies you interned or worked at. Kickstart makes it easy to create and browse that kind of network,” Gatz said.
Unlike other networking sites, users can log in with an existing Yahoo account, so their stored name and contact information in the Yahoo account can be transferred directly to their Kickstart account.
They then add their college information, affiliations, and companies they have worked for or are considering applying for. Their personal profile, which resembles a resume, includes their skills, languages, certifications, role models, and who they would like to meet. And of course, photographs.
When users click on their profiles, Kickstart also offers reminders and tips on areas that the users should consider beefing up to make their profiles more appealing to others.
Like with Facebook and LinkedIn, users can browse through profiles of others who share common education and work information. However, Kickstart is more similar to LinkedIn, in that it stresses work and internship networking.
The Web site is now only in its preview stage, allowing users to log in at kickstart.yahoo.com, test out the site, and offer feedback so that Yahoo can work out the kinks before the site’s yet-to-be-determined official launch date.
So far, opinions of the Web site have been mixed.
“They might just be trying to cash in on the MySpace craze,” said Hanh Nguyen, 22, who graduated from SF State last year. “It sounds useful, but I’ve yet to see how it differs from any other networking Web site.”
“I think it sounds interesting,” said James Smith, 19, an SF State business major. “Maybe it’ll help me get a job when I graduate.”
"Depending on what you're looking for specifically, it could be useful to find all these people who offer jobs and internships, and they can find out what you can offer them," said Sandra Lee, 21, an industrial arts and sociology major at SF State.
"It's certainly faster and more convenient than [job listing] sites like Monster.com," she said.
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