Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why not Yahoo!?

...I had to ask myself, why do I have this "thing" about Yahoo!

I remember when I first came to this valley, they were the darling of the industry and for good reason.  Yahoo! was a progressive company, a big supporter of the community, a benefactor with lavish parties, and the indirect reason for many of my coolest friends to be aggressive toy consumers and sometimes even suddenly rich.

Yahoo! was always a big supporter of my beloved SF Giants, and I even helped the Yahoo! yodeler guy myself when the team would take the field.

But as success came to Yahoo! so did many of the people who follow fortunes and dilute values.  My coolest friends moved on or were sent packing -- Yahoo! sold its soul by greedily taking sponsor money to doctor my search results, selling popup ads to its customers with one hand, and selling popup blocker software to me with the other hand.

Deals with hardware and software vendors polluted my system (and those of my friends and family) with unwanted software that is primarily designed to deliver advertising and does little or nothing for me.

The (seemingly) kind offer of a free email address came with the attached string that they would pollute my messages sent from said email address with advertising material at the bottom (and now in the margin).  Not only was I offering them my attention for giving me free email -- they were hijacking the attention of my friends.

The generous offer of community workspace (Yahoo! groups) became a wasteland of slimy lurking merchants who are waiting for me to show up so that they can send me their unsavory advertising materials.  (The only time I get spam these days is when someone discovers an old Yahoo! identity for me and sends me a snaky message that somehow escapes my spam filters.)

I know that Yahoo! has tried to reform, and that they've launched an "improved" email interface, but the fundamental problem remains.  Yahoo! is willing to allow its advertisers to pop up into my face - in a variety of ways.  Yahoo! is more focused on getting a message into my face than it is on providing me value so that I'll offer my face.

And lastly, Yahoo! has not worked to gain my permission.

Yahoo! has become the little boy at the Junior High dance who sneaks up, steals a kiss, and then runs away to collect on his bets with his buddies.  Good for Yahoo! but not much for me.