Yahoo! : married to mediocrity

May 4th, 2007

Recall the last time you were impressed by a Yahoo! website, product, or service. Okay, that was fast. Why is it that these guys are so hooked on being mediocre? Not bad, mind you, or evil, just sub standard. So that almost everytime you use one of their services it pains you that there are glaring bugs they could have fixed.

I already reviewed once how they are destroying Yahoo! Mail, which is actually one of their very best services, in favor of a new version of the service that's much worse. But that's just the top of the iceberg.

Today I was watching an interesting talk about javascript on Yahoo! Video, and I soon realized that Yahoo!'s flash video player is the worst one I've ever seen. When I watch it, the play button gets stuck so I can't pause and none of the maximize/minimize controls seem to work either. And if you think it's Adobe's linux flash plugin that's buggy, I'm happy to say that I can watch flash movies without a hitch on any number of other sites.

And that made me think back on various times I've used Yahoo! services in the past. Many years ago, I was trying pretty hard to promote Juventuz, my football fansite. Back then, the surest way of getting good traffic was to be in Yahoo!'s directory. Their directory was very exclusive and very hard to get into. As one of the leading fansites in my particular category, I think I waited about 2 years for my site to be added. Meanwhile, the category listed a couple of sites that were either almost dead or completely 404. After Juventuz finally got added it didn't make a big difference anymore, by that time I had built up good traffic through other means.

Of course, the reason Yahoo!'s directory was important was that they were a force in web search, long before the Google revolution. But if you look at their search right now, it's hard to be impressed by it. It's only a single input box, there's no advanced options to filter on language or whatever. Compare that to Google's advanced search that has lots of options.

So what else does Yahoo! do? Flickr. It wasn't built by Yahoo!, but they own it now. And it's a successful site, probably the most popular photo sharing site, and might be Yahoo!'s more successful venture right now. But the navigation is horrible. Once you zoom in on a picture, there's no way to navigate, you have to go back. And the way albums are presented, it's awful. The best photo site I think is Zoomr (unfortuantely they are in the middle of a redesign right now), although there seems to be little competition in this space.

Yahoo! is a veteran internet company, and one of the major players. But is there anything they are leading at? Their search is far inferior and always has been to Google. Their messenger service is basically irrelevant. Their map service I think was launced after Google's, and I don't know anyone who uses it. Yahoo! Groups is decent and pretty popular, but if you actually need to set up a group it's quite a pain to use and very limited. And, of course, their video is fairly irrelevant to Youtube. For an internet company, they don't seem to have much of a talent for internet products.

:: random entries in this category ::

6 Responses to "Yahoo! : married to mediocrity"

  1. Menelkir says:

    I know what you mean. I've used Yahoo! services in the past too, and I remember sometime in 199x, yahoo beat all the other search services, and IMHO, Yahoo! can offer more than the crap stuff that we can see in 200x.

  2. Yahoo! Mail is by no means their best service. Yahoo! Games, specifically Yahoo! Pool is, without a doubt, the greatest thing Yahoo! ever did. To bad they wrote it in Java :(

  3. erik says:

    I am proud to say I have never and probably never will use Yahoo! for anything

  4. Nawaf says:

    ew, Yahoo!(tm).. Though I must admit, I've sneaked a few games of pool back in the day..

    that's about it, really :/

  5. Jack says:

    I also used my account to play pool only.

  6. Adio11 says:

    Why even bother to waste time on something that basically sucks?

    Stick to what's working. Fitting, Isn't it. Concept.