What really lies beneath the brand new NEO interface Yahoo claims is so wonderful? Want the truth? Below that shiny appearance is disaster.

Classic lies in ruins with its archives in shambles, the photos scrambled, and the NEO  code they tried to replace it with so full of bugs we would need to hire a fleet of exterminators to remove them all.

And here’s the BEST part….it was created and released with all those bugs! Yessirree, Yahoo decided that maybe it would be a great idea to foist this new, non-beta-tested, buggy interface on a random selection of Classic Group Users…with no warning!

That was back in August of 2013. August 4th is the earliest date anyone has provided me for the Neo flip. And as usual, people took to the Yahoo Uservoice forum to comment.

One particular comment, we fondly call the “Top Topic” in Groups, was created on August 7, 2013. It had been the longest running topic we had going down there and the most voted on one.

Return Groups format to prior format that WORKS!

Below is a screen capture of the beginning phrases of that topic. Note the vote count box to the left. (This capture is from a user with a different computer and browser, so the fonts won’t exactly match the next image.)


At its peak, it had over 400 pages of comments with multiple comments to a page. At one point, Yahoo either deleted or merged many comments together, and the number of pages decreased by about 30.

Why do I know this? Because I archived the entire topic to Word…by hand. Hours of painstaking capturing and pasting to preserve the truth about what was taking place because I suspected what would happen, and I was right. Yahoo would try and sweep us under the rug like we never existed.

As of January 28th, it had 58,678 votes. Then Yahoo ‘s 4th quarterly report came out, and what a coincidence, they decided after all this time not only to close this topic, but to also mark it “completed.” That is not only a lie, it’s completely laughable. Nothing is complete about NEO other than that it’s a complete disaster.

Below is some of what Yahoo doesn’t want you to know.

  • Since NEO was introduced in August, over 600,000 Yahoo Group users have deleted their groups and quit.
  • A large number of Yahoo Group users have been boycotting Yahoo advertisers since September 3rd, 2013. That’s also the date I mailed a letter with comments about users leaving and the boycott to De Castro & Mayer. And we’ve written the advertisers.
  • Many Group users have lost years of archives because NEO rendered them unaccessible. Some of what was lost was important business, or  research materials, or even memorials to loved ones.
  • And despite NEO being a failure, Yahoo has now started rolling it out overseas! French, Swedish, even German users are discovering that the years of work  stored in databases have been ruined. The accented characters and others have been turned into diamonds and other unrecognizable shapes.
  • A number of Group users can’t even get into their groups or the page loads for eternity and never finishes.
  • The disabled and blind cannot use the new NEO interface, it causes them physical reactions such as seizures and vertigo. Their equipment no longer works, so Yahoo Groups are no longer ADA qualified.
  • Yahoo Groups in NEO do not work on a Mobile phone. Even though that is what NEO was supposedly designed for, they simply DO NOT WORK.
    See image below:

Ugly Stick

The above is an image taken from one of my moderator’s cell phone. It shows a radio-based Yahoo group, only you can’t see very much of it, and Yahoo replaced the Home Page photo with a stock photo of their own and you can’t even easily tell what it is.

  • A number of groups have been overrun by spammers, because the moderation tools are broken. Many groups had to simply give up and close because they could not regulate the spammers.
  • For awhile, members were “held hostage.” Yahoo wasn’t allowing us to even delete a group or group member or even leave a group.

And there are MANY MANY more things described in this blog that Yahoo doesn’t want you to know. The above is just a few of them.

After Yahoo closed the top topic on January 28th, some users in my group became so angry they started creating duplicate topics and voting on those, but as fast as they created them, Yahoo declined them. The users were very determined though, and called it the Whack-A-Mole game.

NOTE:  I said declined. Not completed. That was really strange. If return to earlier format was deemed completed, it should apply to all of the same sort of comment. However, it did not…another indication that it isn’t really completed, it’s declined. See image below:


So, in an effort to hide the actuality of the damage done to their Group Users, Yahoo decided on the evening of January 30th, 2014, to change the Uservoice topics so the votes no longer show a tally. Now they are simply ranked. Below is the same topic as above shown in this new format: (Again, with a slightly different font and spacing because it is from a different browser & computer.)


I can think of only one good reason to change complaint topics with 58,000+ votes to 1st ranked: to HIDE the number of complaining users. However, I have the original versions, so they won’t be able to do that.

Yahoo is trying to sweep us and this entire mess under the rug, but we’re not going. We are standing firm, telling the world what’s really happening, and we won’t be intimidated by Mayer & company.

We, the Yahoo Group users, have suffered this NEO abomination for what will be 6 months on February 4th, and it’s time someone did something about stopping it.

The instability and unpredictability of the NEO interface has made it a far more insecure platform where spammers can run rampant and moderation is a joke.

Yahoo’s use of outdated protocols and Java-based stream ads has done nothing but make the Groups platform more vulnerable, unstable, and unsafe.

NEO doesn’t even affect everyone the same way, which feels even more unnerving. Some can’t get in their groups at all or see archives; some can. And some are still in Classic; yes, it still works for some users.

Thank you for taking your time to read this, and I hope that someone will investigate this and tell our story. Yahoo needs to be held accountable for the unthinkable treatment they have been showing one of their most loyal user bases.

Yahoo, undo this disaster. Return us back to Classic Groups. Give the mail users their Classic Mail.  Fix the other services that you have ruined for Finance, Sports and others.

Stop this nonsense now, admit that NEO is a failure, and you might stop the growing exodus from your company, but only if you hurry…because soon it will be too late.

Nightowl >8#


Overrun with SPAM!



Below is a message from Joe, who has been very active in my group and has been making every effort to combat the spam that threatened to overrun Yahoo Groups once NEO was implemented.

NEO broke the moderation tools so badly that we were unable to moderate members and messages or to preview things. Some group owners simply gave up and fled, while the spammers who have overtaken the groups are still there today.

I’ll let you hear it from Joe himself:

Below is the original (slightly edited) post by Joe in the Yahoo Groups Uservoice, posted on August 30, 2013.

Hey gang

I created a new thread in yahoo feedback about ne0. please send this to your groups every vote counts.

Yahoo groups now open to pedos and spammers

Since group owners/moderators cannot preview pics/vids in pending messages, or preview pending members joining comments, there is no way to ban pedos and spammers.

Once they are already in the group and their posts have already gotten sent out then you can ID them.

I have been a group owner/moderator for over 10 years but with NEO I cannot control what goes on and gets sent out in my groups or who joins anymore.

You might need to cut and paste the link below but every vote counts.

The original URL that was posted in the Uservoice is no longer a working URL.

Joe continues:

LESS THAN 24 HOURS LATER it was merged with this one.  I think my title got someone’s attention.

It had 451 votes in less than 24 hours when they merged it.
See forwarded message below:
—- Forwarded Message —–
From: Yahoo! <>
To: jstarest2@…
Sent: Saturday, August 31, 2013 11:46 AM
Your idea has been merged: ‘yahoo groups now open to pe…’
Idea merged
An idea you voted for (yahoo groups now open to pedos and spammers) has been merged with a similar idea:
451 votes

Below is someone else’s topic that it was merged with. It was posted in US Groups » Other groups features.

Unable to edit messages before approving

The new neo rollout is the absolute WORST idea yahoo has ever come up with.

One of the worst features is that now on the owner preview page, we can’t see if there are any pending messages or members. So we have to physically go to each group we manage, every day, click that homepage link just to see if there is anything pending. It is a HUGE amount of time wasted for us. The old way was better.

We can no longer edit posts? That is crazy talk. With thousands of members who refuse to trim messages, this was a very valuable tool for group owners.

Facebook groups and Google groups are becoming all too popular in this day and time. And this new roll out will effectively kill that yahoogroups, based on poor useability alone.

You should have left well enough alone. The format has been working great for years.

Sometimes change is NOT better.

So there you have it. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Nightowl >8#

Yahoo Is Tumbling Toward Disaster


You know, it’s days like this that really make me wonder what kind of Kool-Aid the Yahoo execs are drinking because there is no rhyme or reason to their behavior of today – other than to hide everything from the press, of course.  But don’t worry, because I make sure that doesn’t happen.

Today, two major things happened at about the same time. First, Yahoo reported their 4th quarterly earnings, and they weren’t up to snuff.

Second, one of the longest-running, most active, and highest voted topic in the Groups Uservoice was marked completed and moved.

Return groups format to prior format that WORKS!

Does this topic sound familiar? If you’ve been on here reading, you’ll remember that it is the one that was first posted August 7, 2013, by Nedra, the person showcased in the first part of this post below:


To have moved this to the Completed section of Uservoice is absolutely ridiculous. The issue is nowhere near completed, and if you check in Uservoice under “declined,” you’ll find a number of similar topics that have been hidden there. So why mark this one completed? They want the press to believe it has been. No other explanation.

BTW, if you want to read that hidden, marked completed topic, go here.

Between that and Jeff Bonforte’s post on Tumblr today, all they have done is send more users fleeing faster than you can say “Abandon ship,” and I’m not having much luck slowing that exodus.

So let’s look at Mr. Bonforte’s tumblr post and dissect it a bit, shall we?

It’s at this link, if you want to read it for yourself.

I’m going to take pieces of it and refute it here because there isn’t any way to comment on it in there.

So here we go.

The Future of Yahoo Groups
By  Jeff Bonforte, SVP, Communications

Jeff wrote:>>Last year, Yahoo released a new Yahoo Groups.  Our goal was to make the experience more enjoyable, and modern, for everyone.<<

Absolutely nothing about NEO has been enjoyable. It’s been a headache day after day and has stressed people to the point of causing physical harm to them. Goal failed.

Jeff wrote:>>While many of you liked the new Groups, others felt differently.<<

Show me 100 Groups users who like NEO Groups. Show me 75. Show me 50. Show me 25. Heck, show me 10! And that doesn’t mean those that you plant everywhere to claim they are great. Groups is so broken across the board, it’s hard to imagine it working well for anyone.

Jeff wrote:>>Many of you asked why we needed to change Groups at all….Regarding the infrastructure, Groups hadn’t been updated in 12+ years. …The previous platform was rapidly aging and it urgently needed an upgrade to ensure future stability.<<

This statement has been debated for months, and Classic still runs on many many platforms. There are even still users in the USA on Classic. It is not falling apart. It is not crumbling into dust. It would hold up for us to revert back to until they make something comparable that WORKS. NEO does not.

Jeff wrote:>>…by moving Groups onto Yahoo’s current platforms, we’ve been able to improve the speed and reliability of the service which means a better experience for you.<<

Who is he trying to convince? Speed is down so dramatically, it takes hours to do what we could do in ten minutes. Reliability? Sure, if you want the reliability that the group page will take forever to load, not load at all, or give you happy error messages.

Jeff wrote:>>(As one example, the page load times have decreased substantially on the new infrastructure.)<<

Uh….for WHOM? My page load times are SLOW. Sometimes they don’t load at all. Sometimes they load but give me an error. I didn’t write new lyrics to the tune from Rawhide below, for nothing!

Loading, Loading, Loading, Keep Those Pages Loading, Loading, Loading, Loading, YAHOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Jeff wrote:>>For instance, Groups didn’t perform optimally on smartphones and tablets, which we know is important to a lot of you.<<

Guess what, Groups performs even WORSE on Smartphones now. Completely useless. And tablets? Don’t even try it; you can’t even get to the controls. NEO is a mobile failure, and Yahoo would be smarter than a smartphone if they’d just admit it.

Jeff wrote:>>We’re now in a better position to make Groups quicker and easier to use while you’re on the go. <<

Note the words, “to make.”  Jeff Bonforte admitted to us in the Tweetfest that it would probably be two more years before their vision would be realized and completed. In other words, two more years of buggy broken NEO. No one plans to wait that long, certainly not me.

To get to the Tweetfest link, go here.

Jeff wrote:>>We truly appreciate all of your feedback and we will continue to do our best to address it as quickly as possible. As a matter of fact, thanks to many of you and your comments, we’ve made hundreds of changes since the launch. <<

We have now resolved 1085 bugs including 20 “major impact” ones since release of new Groups.  

As Jeff states,  NEO Groups  started with 1085+ bugs, and what they actually did was fix bugs they caused or bring back features they took away or broke, and after 5 months, the product is still  buggy and unreliable.

The databases are broken and unusable, many users can’t retrieve their archives, and some users can’t even get into their groups or their groups are just plain missing.

It’s not an accurate statement to claim the changes were upgrades. The whole mess was a downgrade, and they’ve been tweaking it trying to fix it ever since, all while we users have been suffering through whatever new hell they devise for us that day.

Jeff wrote:>>I want to clearly state that the new Groups is here to stay, but our commitment is to continue to partner with all of you to make it as good as it can be.<<

There is no partnership with Bonforte or Yahoo. I asked Jeff once to show us good faith by removing TWO statements that cause intense fury when read by users. One was in uservoice, and hasn’t been removed. That one said:

“We are working hard to make this a product you will love more than you hate change.”

Talk about a condescending comment, and it was repeated over and over and over and over.  We don’t hate change; we hate broken usability and losing our data, our groups, and our connections we’ve had for years. And we have lost them.

The other comment was on the Groups page:

Welcome to the new Yahoo Groups. We’ve improved your Yahoo Groups experience. Check out what’s new:

Improved our Yahoo Groups Experience? Nope. Not even a little. Destroyed it, ruined it, smashed our lives into pieces, yes. Improved? No. Yet Jeff couldn’t even get TWO phrases removed to show good faith that Yahoo was listening.

Jeff wrote:>>If you have questions you’d like to raise to me and the Groups product team, please visit the Groups Town hall .<<

This statement is interesting because, you see, earlier it said “Please join the Groups Townhall,” with join being the operative word.

Shal tried to view the Townhall group, and he first got this:


He explains some things about this image here.

Below is some explanation in an exchange between myself and Shal from my group:

Shal wrote:>>to be fair Jeff said to “visit”, not “join”,<<

Yes, until I called Bonforte on it on Twitter,  as well as told some of the media about it there, and then miraculously, it changed! Imagine that!

Shal wrote:>>and the group does have its Conversations open to non-members (“Conversations”, in that case, being a misnomer, as only moderators can post). The part they don’t understand is that by closing the group they prevent people from signing up to receive their town hall postings by email. Which makes the group no more useful than their Tumblr blog: out of sight, out of mind. Worse in fact, unless they add a link to it in the left column.<<

So here is my question, if NEO is so great, let everyone join the group and use it as a group. No, they can’t possibly set it up right for that. Read on…

Shal wrote:>>Another weird thing is that rather than simply allow people to post to groupstownhall, and use message moderation to select the topics to post, they created a companion group – askgroups – which has no visible content but allows non-members to post. So they’ll be collecting questions in one group, and answering them in the other. Huh?<<

Does that even remotely make sense to anyone? Shal tries to offer a reason:

Shal wrote:>>I can think of a couple reasons they might do that. One would be so that they can keep a private archive of all the questions asked, including the ones they aren’t ready to answer (now or ever). Another is that it removes the two-week time limit: they can visit as infrequently as they wish without concern that the questions would be auto-deleted from the pending queue.

But the big downside of this approach is that the “Post Message” link on the groupstownhall info page is probably ineffective: that page says only members may post. <<

You can read Shal’s post in it’s entirety here.

Okay, so Jeff (or Yahoo) creates a group, Town Hall, where we are directed to ask questions via e-mail, but we can’t post directly in it.

And the questions are collected by e-mail in a group Shal says exists, that we can’t read. When we went looking for this group, we tried to recreate the URL using another group’s URL and replacing the name, and we got this:

Yahoo AskGroups

Then Shal gave us a new link that gives us this:

Yahoo 404

He says that it appears to be a closed group and that the questions are collected there and then answered in Town Hall, so we’ll only see the questions that are selected by them to answer.

And no one can subscribe by e-mail, which is the main way many people use Groups to start with.

If the whole point was to show us how great Neo groups are, they should run it like an actual group, and let us join & subscribe to e-mail.

This smacks to me of a glorified Uservoice, where now we have to visit not one, but THREE sites to use it. Tumblr, Groups Town Hall, and Ask Groups, thus making more traffic to Yahoo and still getting us ZERO results.

This Owl won’t be giving them that traffic. It’s just going to wind up being another place to go and get completely ignored while giving users false hope that Yahoo cares.

I completely understand why Jeff’s post and the closing of the Uservoice topic sent users fleeing all over again, why it fired up the boycott against ads on Yahoo even hotter, and why users are simply starting to no longer trust Yahoo.

Yahoo simply does not really care.
Sad…but inevitably true.

Nightowl >8#

NEO is Throwing a Wrench at the French

Owl Angry


Message# 9540
[Deborah addresses a member in our group]

Sun, 26 Jan 2014 14:03:09 -0800
Subject: modsandmembers] RE: question about database feature


Databases are SO useful
you can name columns for whatever ideas of information you want to be shared and ordered (alphabetically or according to ZIP code or whatever)

it can be an adress book of members, of institutions, of professionals.

in the former databases, you could order them according to whichever column (first name, last name, adresses, zipcodes or whatever other parameters, you could search them, it was so usefull)

I used to have many databases on differents forums, all with hundreds of entries, and used to be able to retrieve information REALLY quickly

also members would update the databases and add new entries so if one new family needed a professional in their area, we could find an adress for them according to zip code and city, it was so convenient now nothing of this is functionning, the common work of TEN YEARS is ruined overnight !


Message #9542
[Deborah addresses Shal]

Dear Shal,

Thanks for being so knowledgeable !

From what I understand, it means I could create a new database that would work with French accented characters, and even could be saved and modified, but have to relinquish the old ones to hover around with all the rubbish characters ? (they cannot be deleted either) ?

As for getting yahoo to investigate the matter, I have posted and written in ALL POSSIBLE ways, they dont listen and DONT answer (arggggg)

Only solution: start the databases all over again, but in some groups this was the result of 10 YEARS of collective knowledge, so I cannot even image transposing all the hundreds of data into a new database…

by the way the accented characters turned into diamonds also affects the LINKS section.
However there, one can erase the circles and diamonds. One cannot insert accented

characters though, but it is possible to save the description of the links using other non accented characters, so at least is become readable (at least)



Message #9544
[Shal addresses Deborah]


Deborah wrote:>>From what I understand, it means I could create a new database that would work with French accented characters, and even could be saved and  modified, but have to relinquish the old ones to hover around with all  the rubbish characters ? (they cannot be deleted either) ?<<

Shal wrote: I don’t know if the situation with the existing databases is as bleak as that, but maybe. I confess I haven’t done anything but a few tests with the Databases in Neo so I’m not certain about unusual cases.

Deborah wrote:>>As for getting yahoo to investigate the matter, I have posted and  written in ALL POSSIBLE ways, they dont listen and DONT answer <<

Shal wrote: I haven’t found that to be the case. I’ve had reasonable success in contacting Customer Care and getting them to fix or escalate problems. Not all of my reports have resulted in the problem getting fixed, but at least I’m confident I got them to see the evidence.

I don’t know though if the situation with Customer Care would be different starting from the help pages. The “Contacter le Service clientèle” page is a slightly older style there. Try:

produit: Groupes
catégorie: Erreur
sous-catégorie: problème d’accès à mon groupe
Comment: Les caractères accentués ne s’affichent pas correctement dans la base de données
(pardon my Google-translated French)

Click the blue Entrer button then at the bottom of the page you should get the link to Email a Support Agent. Make that “Écrivez à un agent du support technique”. Click that then fill out the detailed form.

Within minutes to hours you should get an automated acknowledgement. Then within a day or two you should get an response from Customer Care. This begins the “lather, rinse, repeat” process – always reply to their responses. Answer whatever questions they ask, follow

even the pointless instructions to clean up your browser, and tell them as clearly as you can why their response didn’t solve your problem. Keep after them until they either resolve it or escalate it. Then keep after them for the status of your problem.

Deborah wrote:>>by the way the accented characters turned into diamonds also affects the
LINKS section. However there, one can erase the circles and diamonds. One cannot insert
accented characters though, but it is possible to save the description of the links using other non accented characters, so at least is become readable (at least)<<

Shal wrote:>> Alas, the Links section is another that I rarely use. So all I can do is sympathize. I would report the problem in that section separately to Customer Care. Even though it is likely a related problem behind the scenes, the Customer Care agents won’t really know that. It pays to keep your reports to them as focused on a single topic as possible.

— Shal

Message #9549
[Deborah addresses Shal]


I HAVE contacted the french language customers care numerous times.

-They have answered with a cut and past of the help section (not a help at all of course),
-then denied the problem
-then asked for more info, I sent them screen copies (such as I have posted elsewhere and one can CLEARLY see that the databases are unreadable)
-Then they have said they would “investigate”
-then they said they dont see a problem (there is a HUGE problem in ALL french groups, throughout, not just mine)
-Then finally they answered this is not something they can do anything about

NO RESULT as you can see, they dont want to bother.

I have told them NUMEROUS times to forward this to the US INGENEERS that work on the system but I dont believe they ever did. THey are just there to answer complaints in order to silence them, not to DO ANYTHING actively about the problems.

The problems in the databases are INDEED exactly what I have describe, no less.
They cannot be fixed in any way as of now.
Perhaps I can open a new database but I will lose 10 YEARS of input by members
trying to replicate the data in a new database would take MONThs of work

The databases can no longer be modified, nothing can be added, nothing cut out, no changes can be entered, I am trying this almost daily. I click on “modify the database,” i type something, then “save” but it says “loading” and then freezes on this word. Whatever database I try this with (on my forums, on other forums) IT ALWAYS FREEZES and NO CHANGE can be done.

This is all the truth, I have been managing groups for 10 years and I know the funtions well. It just WONT WORK any more


Message #9550
[Deborah addresses me]

Thanks Nightowl

I have followed everything you have been doing and your blog. You can surely forward my message to anybody who would like to document tne problems

There is virtually nobody among the many groups in France who can write about this in English, but all moderators of 20+ groups I am a member or moderator of, are impacted and I can say all French language groups have suffered tremendously with the loss of accented characters and the transformation into rows of weird signs.

Yahoo doesnt address the topic, I wrote numerous emails to the technical and client service
they either answer with a mere cut and paste or deny there is a problem.

It doesnt really look like they would be interested in fixing the problem


Message #9554
[Deborah addresses Shal]

Dear Shal,

of course I have contacted the US customer care as well, and numerous times, written on all kind of forums etc.

They claim that they cannot reproduce the problem I have, that they dont have if (probably because they dont have age old databases with special characters in them and you have shown that if ones opens a new database, then there is no problem)

Anywhere they dont answer or dont do anything.
US customers care also tell me to go to French customer care (of course!)
I have even tried the Canadian one.
If I write in english, they tell me they have nothing to do about it.
IF I write in French they cannot do anything about it
Nobody cares about the fact that thousands of yahoo customers in Europe are affected.
I have seen Spanish posters complaining about the same situation.
But who listens ? Americans probably think Europe is a lesser place not to care about …


Message #9556
[I address Deborah]

deborah wrote:>>Nobody cares about the fact that thousands of yahoo  customers in Europe are affected. I have seen Spanish posters  complaining about the same situation. But who listens ? Americans  probably think Europe is a lesser place not to care about …<<

Deborah, it doesn’t have a thing to do with Europe. Yahoo has paid us no  attention either, and things for us have been broken for going on 5  months. So please don’t think you aren’t getting help because you aren’t  Amerian. Us Americans are being ignored as equally as anyone overseas.

Don’t worry and don’t delete the databases yet. Hang on a little longer  while I try to bring this problem to the light and sight of the public  eye. I sent several of your posts to our reporter last night, and both  he AND I DO care.


So, Yahoo, are you going to continue to destroy years and years of work people have done in Classic Groups? Are you seriously so heartless that you can’t see what you are doing and the damage you are causing people?

I state it again. Stop NEO now. Roll it back, put it in Beta, and give us Classic back. It’s getting closer and closer to the point of no return because many of the users leaving won’t return. They are done.

Nightowl >8#


reposted by Laura for Featheredleader



One of the more upsetting things that happened when our groups were converted to the NEO format was that we lost all our personally crafted color schemes, some of which were quite elaborate with custom art or even carefully arranged photo collages.

This is one example:

This is Nedra’s group. Everything related to her group in this post is used with her permission. She is the user who started the  largest topic in the Groups Uservoice:

Return Groups format to prior format that WORKS!

The new format is NOT user friendly works poorly and destroys some of that attracts new members to my group.

You can read the entire topic here. If that link doesn’t work, (sometimes it won’t load), contact me; I have the entire topic archived in Word. What you will find in the Uservoice has been reduced and/or combined. There were at one point 400+ pages of comments. Now there are only 308.

It currently has 58,581 votes for bringing back Classic and 6,412 comments. People STILL post in it, desperate to get Yahoo to pay attention. It remains in Gathering Feedback status. I’ve been in and out of there since August 28 and have been encouraging the users to hang on.

That topic began on August 7, 2013.  However, when Yahoo started combining similar complaints, despite the fact that the topic was posted on August 7, the earliest complaint posts in that topic now start on July 7, 2013, even though they were not about Neo Groups.

This is what Nedra’s group, Elegant Great Pyrenees, looked like in Classic. This is a screenshot of the home page which could be customized by the owner and moderators:


Now here is the same group home page when NEO hit:


As you can see, the dog pictures were replaced by what appears to be a photo of test tubes which have nothing to do with dogs. We all woke up one morning, those of us Neo’d at once, and discovered our home page had been completely redone.  Our custom-made photos, banners, and colors were replaced by a stock photo with such odd parameters we could not replace them for quite some time without a lot of work, and some users still can’t get the home page photo changed.

To see the Elegant Great Pyrenees Group in NEO as it appears today, go here.

And I’d like to add that although I am the owner of my own personal group, Hollow Tree, I was unable to change my photo. I had to appoint David, my British moderator, mod status there to change it for me. One more “fun” feature of Neo is sometimes it tells owners/moderators that we don’t have permission to do this or that. Well, if we don’t have it, who does?

Here is the Yahoo Groups home page in both formats, submitted by another user with her permission:


And here is the same Groups home page in NEO:


Here is a shot of the Groups management page from another user, with her permission, in Classic:


Note that on the left are the moderator tools and controls for users. That was completely changed in the NEO version.

And the same page in NEO:neomgmt


Note that on the left on this shot, we have the user’s Group list. All moderation controls  are hidden from view in drop down menus that are often hard to manage.

Then we have Shal Farley’s screenshots.

Below are some of his  example pages  of the same group in both formats.

Here is a Home Page comparison:


Home Page: Classic on the left; NEO on the right

Note: This is what a member would see on the Classic page; non-members would not see the section with message summaries.

Note: I also want to point out that the smiling faces in the Classic home page were animated GIFs so that faces were sequenced through over 40 images taken from the reunion. The GIFs were hosted in the group’s own Photos section, something that had been possible in Classic, and had been working even in NEO for a while, but now seem to have broken.

This screenshot can also be viewed more thoroughly here.

Then we have Shal’s test group.

Here are how messages are displayed:


Message: Classic on the left; NEO on the right

Shal added red text comments on some of the significant losses of functionality in NEO.

This screenshot can also be viewed more clearly here.

Here are the Navigation elements of each page:shalsmgmtbar

Navigation: Classic on the left; NEO  on the right.

Note: In Classic the management link opens a page full of links to the various management functions. In NEO the management menu has items for the various management functions. They do the same thing, looking different.

Also note that in Classic, the left sidebar features the moderator and member controls, but in NEO the left sidebar lists the users’ Groups they belong to instead.

If the user isn’t signed in, all they see on the left sidebar is a list of featured Groups that Yahoo chooses. It was much easier to have our controls visibly out in the open than hidden in various  drop down menus.

And most people agree they’d rather have one-click convenience for the sections of the group they’re looking at and leave the list of their other groups in a menu.

This screenshot can also be viewed more clearly here.

Here is the same group currently today in NEO.

For some more views of what Classic Groups were about, see Shal’s Groups Help Set. This is a grab bag of screen shots Shal created over the years to illustrate answers to questions about Groups. Most of them are in Classic, but the newer ones are NEO.

For a tour through Classic Groups, Shal put this series of screenshots together:

All in all, the look, feel and concept of Classic Groups was destroyed by the NEO Interface. It took warm, inviting, colorful, and easy-to-manage Groups and turned them into sterile, bland, hard-to-read and nearly impossible-to-manage Groups.

I hope this shows you just how devastating it was to discover all our hard work, custom pages, color schemes, and even artwork just completely replaced by nothing and many users have been unable to recover all their missing home page photos, etc.

People were heartbroken, frustrated, and finally just angry at the unnecessary destruction that was wrought on us, destruction that happened with no warning and no heads-up to save our precious photos and info. Nope, like a thief in the night, NEO robbed us of everything we held dear in Classic Groups.

Here was one user’s way of coping. Please help us convince Yahoo that NEO can never replace our prized and valued Classic Groups.  We implore the Yahoo management to rethink this and return us to our beloved Classic Groups.

Nightowl >8#

Yahoo Users All Mad About Ads

Owl Group 3c

As most everyone knows by now,  Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer fired COO Henrique De Castro on January 16, 2014. That was only 14 months into his job. Rumors flew everywhere, obviously, but one thing was always mentioned — that De Castro had failed to boost ad sales.

Well, what Yahoo doesn’t want you to know is that back in September, when the “problems started” with him and Mayer, I had  mailed them a letter on September 3rd, 2013, about the Neo redesign of Groups. In that letter I informed both Mayer and De Castro that Groups users were unhappy with the Neo Interface; it was hard to use, it didn’t work, and many were leaving by the thousands, selling stock, and planning to boycott Yahoo ads. Some were even making efforts to contact the advertisers and tell them that.

You can read that letter here.

Along with that letter, I included a 16 page color-coded document with archived quotes from Yahoo’s Groups Uservoice, (what I fondly like to call the Feedback Trench).  They were quotes from Groups users saying they were leaving, deleting their groups, selling their stock, boycotting ads and more. In addition to that, disabled and elderly users were unable to use the new interface. The wildly moving ads and flashing and endless scrolling features were causing them seizures, vertigo, high blood pressure, motor issues and more.

You can view that document here:

Go to the page, click on Owl’s Letters, then click  marissamayerattachment.doc

Sure, you’re probably thinking…anyone can threaten to boycott someone. True, but this was no bluff. See, Neo had come and destroyed our precious classic groups, and not only was it buggy and nonfunctioning,  it  looked horrible and failed to meet the needs of even the most basic Groups.

Group Users had already been protesting in the uservoice for a month when I was approached for help due to my involvement in saving Classic Groups in 2010. They were frustrated, angry and looking for help, and I was it.

Neo was rolled out in August 2013 (not sure of the exact date — some say August 7, but others claim it was late July), but it had been in full force with no explanation for at least a month by the time I discovered it had happened, and Yahoo had finally admitted to the users that we were in a test, one we could not get out of.  Shortly after that admission, 185,000+ users left Yahoo Groups on September 2nd in a “That’s what you think; we’re outta here, bye” movement.

There is a tally chart for that day here: 

So the Crusade was reborn, and to take on the situation with the advertisements, we really got serious. Basic problems we had with the advertisements, besides the ill effects they were having on disabled, elderly or anyone with vision issues, are that they were also obnoxious, flashing, moving and blinding…and that’s only on the pages where the ads worked.

On some of the groups, the ads didn’t work at all. On my group, in particular (Mods and Members), the ads showed up as broken image links for quite a long time. Then they started putting ads in between our message streams, and some of those ads were highly inappropriate & offensive.

So I investigated about the newfangled ads and learned that Yahoo had requested these advertisers to make these new and more elaborate ads in order to “keep up with Yahoo’s new changes.”

I was surprised to learn that the advertisers weren’t given much time, and it cost them a lot of money.  In particular, an article by Jennifer Saba and Alexei Oreskovic in Reuters on October 14, 2013, stated:

“For instance, Yahoo did a major overhaul of its popular sports home page to coincide with the start of the NFL season this year. One advertising agency executive said they found out about the change a week before the launch, and so the agency had to scramble to re-design ads that would fit with the new format.

“‘Our client was very upset,’ said the executive, who did not want to be identified because the agency works closely with Yahoo. ‘I have a six-page typed memo about the problems we had with Yahoo and this one client.'”

A Yahoo representative said that the company has “moved faster in the past year than any time in our recent history” to launch better products and to “evolve” the ads on its websites. “We think this will improve performance for our advertisers over time, and we’re working closely with our advertising partners.”

You can read the full story here.

And if you really want to be enlightened about how Yahoo Groups users saw Yahoo and Neo at that time, read all the comments to that article.

So Yahoo didn’t give the advertisers much time. I verified this myself, because when I called various advertisers, many of them echoed the sentiment that Yahoo caused them to spend a lot of money to create flashy new ads in a super short time. When I told them the ads didn’t always work AND that users were leaving groups faster than a sinking ship, they were understandably concerned.

Most advertisers admitted this was a costly and rushed venture, and when I explained about Neo — how it didn’t work and how people were boycotting them — they were suddenly very interested in what I had to say.  In my personal opinion, De Castro had a huge task to boost ad sales from advertisers who were being warned away.

And this boycott was no simple task; this was a large, well-organized operation. We used teamwork to set up the boycotting process. One team simply hit reload over and over and wrote down advertiser names. Another team we called the “Fishing Team” searched for the company on the Internet and hunted down contact information. It was all gathered and sent to me, and I created the table with the info. When we were done, we had over 100 advertiser names and we posted them to the blog.

You can view that list on the blog here.

I crafted letters and e-mailed them to the various advertisers and even wrote a poem that I sent them early on. You can read that here.

Members of my group helped; they wrote, tweeted, facebooked, whatever they were able to do to contact all the advertisers on the list. We kept writing them, kept apprising them of the problems…and we haven’t stopped.

Meanwhile, I called a number of them, especially when we couldn’t get an actual e-mail address to send info to, and no one turned me away or refused to listen. I received e-mail responses from many of them, including from the office of the president of AT&T. I spoke with Microsoft Legal, American Express, and Bank Of America’s Merrill Edge, just to name a few.

Yahoo knew we were doing this. Even Bonforte was aware of all we were doing, but Yahoo would not admit that Neo was broken. Yahoo would not acknowledge it was a failure, just the opposite. One advertiser person asked me why his Yahoo Group was a mess. I explained it, and he asked me where he could  get some help, and I told him.

Bottom line: Neo was broken. Groups didn’t function. Moderator tools didn’t work; controls were hidden or broken. Spam was able to overrun many groups. They wrecked our home pages, made databases unaccessible, scrambled our photos, and some even lost access to years and years of archives. This was not something that Yahoo Group users were going to stand for, not this time, and they proved it with the boycott.

Nightowl >8#

NEO Destroyed Disaster Assistance Network

Owl Teens 4

From: Richard Valdez
To:  The Media and Advertisers

Tonight you have just witnessed two significant flaws in Yahoo group NEO. When the owner of the group and invited guests are at the mercy of NEO, put yourself in their shoes. When teens and young people with their families give up their evening for the good of their communities and are cut off by NEO, think of your community and your business.

Adrian showed his anger for the first time when he told us that messages planning for the safety of kids were not getting through. This third-rate group format called NEO is not worth a penny in investment.

On August 6th, 2013, our Centennial State boasted 2,855 Colorado groups. Today,there are 2,379. The largest group with over 14,000 members was Bryan Edison’s Colorado Experience. It was founded in July of 1999. What made it unique was the interactive network that united 95% of the Colorado-based group. The group had yearly meet-ups throughout the state for Colorado group owners. Colorado Experience spearheaded internet assistance during the recent forest fires and tornadoes in the lower Arkansas Valley. The group was the second group based for Colorado to issue Amber Alerts. The membership worked with a Denver-based international teen/family group for online homework help and mentor project.

All-in-all the group represented what is best in each of us.  It stood the test of time and was a beacon — a giant of Colorado groups throughout the internet. The group worked with the management of Yahoo to facilitate the needs of the elderly and visually impaired during the switch-over of clubs to groups in 2001.Colorado groups made the access to the groups for the elderly and visually impaired a number one priority. You may have been contacted by the group during its 15-year run.

The last major mobilization of the group was the National Night Out on August 6th. This was a combined effort of the teen/family group and was a huge success. The following day ended the ability of Colorado Experience to function in a relevant manner. Yahoo began the roll-out of a new format called NEO groups. This caused major confusion. No one had any prior notice. The new system was so flawed that a plug-in was discovered to by-pass it. What disturbed a lot of us is the fact that it was not tested upon release. Our hearts were heavy during the recent floods. We couldn’t use the network to help our neighbors. One by one the most popular Colorado groups disbanded. The NEO interface with all its flaws was too much to bear. Some groups found alternatives to Yahoo at Facebook and related internet services. Our cherished teen and family network with 130,000 members was gone by September.

The elderly and visually impaired? Where were they able to go? Nowhere. The groups they needed to network with others for health and living information was destroyed by the NEO format. How? Our senior citizens relied on the custom-built groups, and their fixed incomes prevent them, for the most part, to afford new computers or high speed internet. With their slow dialup and DSL modems, the pages with NEO use so much RAM that even cable has problems downloading the pages. The font is so small, it’s difficult for them to read. The blind have complained to Yahoo that the NEO format is at variance with the ADA. You may know that the blind use special equipment to read the internet pages. With the NEO format, it’s impossible. The scrolling pages and ads choke off their readers and stops them cold.

Thousands of Yahoo group owners and users complained to Yahoo and demanded a return to the older group format. Yahoo has ignored their request. Because of this, hundreds of groups have been disbanded, affecting nearly 2 million users. Because of the callous and patronizing attitude of Yahoo, a Denver and a Georgia resident organized a group to do whatever it takes to urge Yahoo to junk the NEO format and restore the previous format for the elderly and disabled. Nearly 2,000 teens and young adults across the globe have organized to fight Yahoo. They need your voice. They need your belief in justice to champion the humanitarian outreach to the elderly and disabled. They need your anger to shine the light of day on what Yahoo has become. Our group has one mission and one mission only and that is to restore the old group format. We will not take no for an answer.

You can read the original post here.