Posted by: h4ck@lyst | July 19, 2008

Why Yahoo is where it is today?!

What does the title of the post want to say? Am I trying to praise Yahoo for being the largest visited online portal on the internet or am I trying to put up some light on the conditions leading to the recent Microsoft fiasco? Well, your own answer to this question, before you read this, will depend upon your present perception of Yahoo. My intention is not to change or modify that perception, whether it be good or bad, but rather put in some of my own experience. Well, it wasn’t long before that I spotted a typo in one of the best practices pages of Yahoo developer pages meant for guiding web-developers. And I shot off a mail to their contact us form diligently telling them about the same. But its been more than a fortnight and alas that typo  is still there. They finally set it right. Check the comments to this post. So the first question.

1) Does Yahoo really monitor its various feedback portals and take any steps to improve the user experience?

The typo iswas in here.

“If your server is Apache, use the ExiresDefault directive to set an expiration date relative to the current date. This example of the ExpiresDefault directive sets the Expires date 10 years out from the time of the request.”

Well, that was given a feedback form already exists for the concerned topic. Now let us try to look for some alternate ways of contacting Yahoo. Cool. Say, am a gonna be graduate, looking forward for an opportunity with Yahoo. So I go on to their career pages, which is outsourced to some company, and try looking for an alternate e-mail address. And voila, I immediately find one. Yippie! So let me get hold of my cv and shoot it off to  And wow, they are efficient. Moments later only I get a reply. Must be auto-generated but still not bad. Err.. or is it my imagination. Its rather a mail from my mailing agent saying

“The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 5.1.1 <>… User unknown (state 14).”

Compare this to their search rival and new “friend” Google. They recently replaced the word “Google” on their default non-logged in search page to read “Privacy”. And they didn’t merely added the word but rather replaced the word ‘Google’. And they let the world know about it. So maybe its high time Yahoo learns something from this new found friendship.
Also, my other experience with Google (other than being just an end user), has been through a student participant of Google Summer of Code, 2008. And I must say the way they handle it is fabulous. The program admin personally looks through most of the mailing list converstaions, putting in apt replies whenever required. The off-list support is awesome. And the community at the is always there to help you out.

That reminds me. #yahoo on is non-existent. Hmmm. Not really critical but still.

Now that I talked about Google, let me talk about something that a friend of mine told me yesterday only. Disclaimer: I have no personal experience of the following things am going to talk about. Its just something that a professional in the field told me about. “Google adwords processes clicks and payments within five minutes. Yahoo takes an entire day. None of us like to work on Yahoo campaigns. They are so freaking slow.”
This friend of mine deals with online ad campaigns for various well known Indian and multi-national firms.

Hmmm.. so maybe another reason why Yahoo is falling behind in its search revenues.

And one more thing. This time from my personal experience. Google always launches its product with the tag “Beta”. But still users find it more than useful and stable. True I still run into “Sorry, no doughnuts for you” on Orkut and “This page is taking time to load. Maybe you should try simple html page” (Or something on similar lines, you get the idea basically). But its been so long that Yahoo launched its new “mail” version. Yet when you go to settings options under the new Yahoo mail, there it says

Pardon our appearance during construction

We’re still tweaking the Yahoo! Mail Accounts option. Temporarily you’ll need to access it through the Yahoo! Mail Classic interface. But, rest assured, any changes made will take effect once you’ve reloaded the Yahoo! Mail.

. Google launches preview of its products and then lets user see it all. Atleast I am yet to face any such product from Google where they say this feature will be available soon. Remember the upgrades to Gmail, the Gmail labs, the features added to orkut. All of them make user experience more delightful. By rolling out their new features first within their own labs, among Google employees, Google manages to do a complete UI testing. And then even while they do a public launch, rolling out in batches, Google takes care that any such transition is smooth and users dont see “will be available soon” messages.

What more? No need to tell you about the spam filtering capability of Yahoo. It blocks images from its own service mail ids saying external images are blocked and lets the umpteen spams happily sit in your inbox.

Ok, enough of Yahoo bashing. Now some pros. Yahoo answers rock! Really! I was in love with it when I started using it. No where else does exist such a clean “forum” (I might be wrong in the terminology here, but I think this conveys the message that Yahoo answers is a place where you ask your questions and get answered by the rest of Yahoo answers users.) Yahoo messenger was nice. Unfortunately gtalk integration with Gmail pulled me away from using any external messaging client. And Yahoo’s implementation of the same, (chat within mail) hasn’t been really a great pull, atleast not personally for me. And am still surprised at the number of spam messages even on yahoo chat. Yahoo sandbox offers a preview into upcoming Yahoo products but it is really well hidden from sight. I wonder if the average user knows about it. is simply fabulous. And Flickr is nice though I dont use it personally.

All this Yahoo bashing makes me feel as if I should have been a CSE and then atleast I could have thought of joining Google. Anyways, thats a matter for another post. Here is wishing Yahoo good luck and hope they full in their various shortcomings fast and wishing them luck.

Disclaimer: Yahoo is a dream company to work with. Being a Yahoo is a thing of pride. All this bashing ain’t simply here cause I haven’t been able to make it. But its simply cause such experiences frustrate me. And blogging is one way for me to vent out the frustration and desparation. Wishing Yahoo and all the Yahoos (I know atleast two of them personally) luck and best wishes. 🙂



  1. Hi Anshu,

    Great post with the pros and cons of Yahoo!. Interestingly, we launched Sandbox from Yahoo! Research just last week and that’s probably why people haven’t heard of it yet 🙂

    We’d love to hear your feedback on some of the demos and experiments on Sandbox, especially on Garçon since you’re a fan.


    Pras Sarkar.

  2. Thanks for catching that typo on the Exceptional Performance page and for bringing it to our attention. I’ve fixed it this morning. We’re working to improve our feedback paths to ensure input like this is addressed promptly.

  3. @Pras Sarkar: Thanks! The feedbacks on Garcon and sandbox will surely be in soon.
    @Brian Cantoni: Thanks for fixing it up! Something about the wrong mail id will also be appreciated.

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