Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Yahoo! puts the squeeze on

I remembered an old Yahoo! mail account that I hadn't logged onto for awhile, and tried to log onto it just now. I was greeted with the pleasant news that Yahoo! had deactivated the account, in the process trashing all of my emails, and were currently returning emails sent to the account. I was given two options: reactivate the account "without protection, knowing that my account will be deactivated again in the future... I understand that I will risk losing valuable email messages and other important information". Or, pay protection money to Yahoo! to prevent deactivation.

I chose the third option: Yahoo! can take their mafia tactics and shove them: I won't use their email anymore, and so the likelihood of my using their site in future has dramatically dipped. It's funny, I was talking with a client the other day about expanding his pay-per-click campaign to Overture (he currently only uses Adwords) and I was skeptical of the value of it. Since Yahoo! is an Overture member site, and since they seem hell-bent on pissing off their long-time users, that skepticism seems even better placed.

Paul Graham, who once sold a company to Yahoo! and therefore ended up working for them, has written about how he and some of his engineers tried to tell Yahoo! about some elementary, proto-Google-type improvements that they thought could be made to Yahoo! search. The response from Yahoo! was something along the lines that search was unimportant now that Yahoo! was a portal; who cared if it didn't work? It didn't make money. Google proved them, shall we say, spectacularly wrong. Unfortunately, it didn't teach them to respect their customers any more, apparently.


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