Yokway is a service that bills itself as a place to “share and discuss your finds with your friends.” In practice, the still in closed beta site is somewhere between FriendFeed and De.licio.us.
From the outset, the Yokway layout will appear immediately familiar to users of services such as FriendFed and Social Thing. The service offers shared items in reverse chronological order, and other users can comment on these shared items. Outbrain style, each story can be rated between one and five stars, with a tally showing how many times an item has been voted on.
Where Yokway is different is in the way the items in the river of news are shared. This isn’t an aggregator, so no items are automatically shared. Instead users must contribute items directly, social bookmarking or even Digg style. Where it’s even more different is with the submission box. Instead of simply asking for a direct URL, the submission box in Yokway offers a search facility, so for example if you wanted to add a movie you have just seen, and comment on it, you’d type the name of the movie in and it would recommend pages about the movie you can post. To be honest I found this a little annoying, but considered as a consumer friendly ease of use feature, it certainly has appeal possibilities.
Yokway is strongly focused on community and groups. The service allows for the creation of “sharing circles” that can be focused on shared interests with other friends. Contacts are also allocated by relationship as well, adding an additional layer to networking on the site.
Louis Gray wrote about the service when they first went into closed beta back in March, and he had this to say at the time: “The service will have an uphill road to climb to take on sites like FriendFeed or Digg who have significant market traction.” It’s a fair call.
It’s a neat enough sharing platform, but I’m struggling with what unmet need Yokway addresses. I won’t go as far as suggesting it’s a solution looking for a problem because I’m going to guess that this is a consumer, non-tech focused service. There could be no other explanation for a fluffy bunny color scheme that gives me a headache and a layout to match. My Yahoo is an immensely popular RSS reading platform that few in the tech space use, Yokway could quite easily turn out to be Yahoo News in the same way that FriendFeed is Google Reader.