Yahoo BOSS To Become Paid Service

With Microsoft's Bing powering most Yahoo searches, the portal plans to shift the previously free Build Your Own Search Service to a pay-per-use model in early 2011.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

October 10, 2010

2 Min Read

Now that Microsoft powers most searches on Yahoo, the web portal is telling developers that they will have to pay next year to use Yahoo's search infrastructure in their applications.

Yahoo said in its search blog Friday that it was switching the Build Your Own Search Service, or BOSS, to a pay-per-use model starting early next year. BOSS has been available at no charge since its launch in 2008.

The BOSS application-programming interface provides developers, startups and consumer Internet companies with a doorway into Yahoo's search infrastructure in order to power their own search engines. Yahoo is switching BOSS to a paid service two months after Microsoft took over most searches on the site.

Under the alliance struck last year, Microsoft is first taking over Yahoo search in the U.S. and Canada, expanding to other countries in the future. Yahoo also plans to adopt Microsoft's adCenter as its online advertising platform. Microsoft officials have said that work should be complete in the fall.

After launching the paid version of BOSS, which Yahoo is calling version 2, the portal plans to continue offering BOSS v1 for 60 days to give users time to move off the platform. Pricing for the new service will range from 40 cents to 75 cents per 1,000 queries, depending on the type of search services used, such as web, image or news.

While commercial developers will pay the full amount, Yahoo plans to offer a "nominally priced version" for BOSS for academia and non-profit organizations.

Yahoo listed a number of other key changes with BOSS v2. The company said core web and image results would be powered by Microsoft's search platform, and Yahoo planned to expand on those offerings in the future. In addition, developers would be able to blend, stack and re-rank results according to their customers' needs.

Yahoo will require developers to access BOSS v2 via the portal's developer network and will put in place a self-service payment model. Developers can pay through credit card and check usage, billing and other information on a Yahoo-provided dashboard.


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