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About The Authors

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

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Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.

From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for BBCNews.com.

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

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Member of the Media 2.0 Workgroup
Dark Blogs Case Study

Case Study 01 - A European Pharmaceutical Group

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Interview series:
at the FASTforward blog. Amongst them: John Hagel, David Weinberger, JP Rangaswami, Don Tapscott, and many more!

Corante Blog

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Yahoo! behaving badly. Again.

Posted by Suw Charman-Anderson

In July 2007, Yahoo! gave users of it’s Yahoo! Photos service just three months to retrieve their pictures before closing the service and deleting all of the unclaimed images. As recently as December 2008, I was still getting comments on my post about it from unhappy people who had entrusted photos to Yahoo! and had only just discovered that their archive had vanished. I thought that Yahoo!’s behaviour in closing their photo service was pretty shoddy. I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t stop accepting new uploads, and delete people’s photos piecemeal, as and when they had been transferred to Flickr or some other photo service. For such a large company to close a service with so little communication to users and such a short time frame for those affected to act was incomprehensible.

That was eighteen months ago, so obviously things have changed at Yahoo!, right? They’ve learnt that data portability and clear, timely communications are important, right? I mean, they wouldn’t repeat such mistake would they? Summarily shutting down a service with almost no notice?

Sadly, yes. They would.

Three days ago I got this email:

Yahoo! Briefcase Is Closing - Yahoo! get it wrong again

I very nearly deleted it as spam, because it had no content apart from the two attachments. But, curious to know if it really was an official email, I took a closer look at the headers, then clicked “View” for the first “noname” attachment. I got this:

Yahoo! Briefcase closing attachment

I checked out the links and yes, this is legit. This is the email that Yahoo! has sent its Yahoo! Briefcase users in order to tell them that all the files they had kept online are going to be toast at the end of the month. An empty email with two identical “noname” attachments. Well done Yahoo!, I think you’ve just earnt the first Strange Attractor Fuckwit of the Year 2009 Award. And it’s only February.

Unlike Yahoo! Photos, Yahoo! aren’t suggesting an alternative service, and they’re only giving users one month instead of three to get their stuff out. I only have one file in Yahoo! Briefcase, but that’s neither here nor there. It could have been something important and I could easily have deleted the email from Yahoo! as spam.

Why have Yahoo! not given people more notice? Why did their ill-conceived email have no content? Why put all the content in a couple of attachments? Why delete people’s data instead of archiving it until people can delete it themselves?

I’m not even going to get into asking why Yahoo! have ditched this service, instead of polishing it up and making it suitable for use in today’s cloud computing world. I’m just stunned that, once again, Yahoo! has shown such astonishing arrogance and disinterest in their users’ needs. Instead of learning from the closure of Yahoo! Photos and doing a better job this time, they’ve actually taken a step backwards.

Shame on you, Yahoo!.

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One Response to “Yahoo! behaving badly. Again.”

  1. David Brake Says:

    It’s even more stupid in that they had an excellent opportunity to win goodwill by providing an easy way to migrate the pictures over to Flickr but they don’t even mention that there’s a Yahoo alternative in that email!

    (The way the message was presented to you might be related to the way Google Mail handled that particular message rather than being something Yahoo itself did. Does your Yahoo email automatically forward to Google Mail by any chance?)