Yahoo Is Tumbling Toward Disaster

tumblingowl

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:

NEO VS CLASSIC: A PICTORIAL VIEW

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:

townhallblank

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#

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7 thoughts on “Yahoo Is Tumbling Toward Disaster

  1. Yahoo has taken a product that was very user friendly and turned it into something similar to a puzzle with some pieces missing. In the beginning, when I first became a group owner, I did not need to have a “how-to” book in order to manage my group. These days it seems like nothing stays the same for very long. I would much prefer that Yahoo offer a choice. But, it seems to no longer care about its users.

  2. I was dismayed today when I got a message from the Yahoo feedback service saying they’d completed all the fixes requested in the hugely popular post by a groups member named Nedra – because they didn’t fix it all and they had no business closing her issue – which has 58,678 votes and 6,497 comments.

    I was angry enough to go to the feedback service myself and post a list of things that are STILL wrong, no matter how hard they want to deny it.

    The Groups Feedback Service is located at https://yahoo.uservoice.com/forums/209451.

    I posted a message about it in the Mods and Members group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/modsandmembers/
    telling the members there that I’d posted a new feedback message to replace Nedra’s. Well, in less than 24 hours, the Feedback gremlins marked my post “declined” and shut off the voting – and it already had 69 votes! You can still view it at https://yahoo.uservoice.com/forums/209451-us-groups/suggestions/5438654-return-groups-to-earlier-format-that-works.

    I went back and posted again – same post, slightly different headline – and they “declined” and closed it again, this time in only a few hours. And it had 25 votes already. I was furious.

    I went back a third and a fourth time and reposted, each time with a slightly different head because I think they are searching for the word “classic” in post headlines (subject lines) and declining and closing them almost as fast as they appear. The last two have not been declined and closed down — yet. I have little hope that they won’t do it again, though.

    Yet, how dare they?? The type is so hard to read on their forums now which makes it hard for anyone who is up to bifocal age, and people with screen readers can’t navigate due to the appearing and disappearing click icons. This is *outrageous!*

    Our best bet for everyone who is interested in getting them to return us to Classic or make NEO look and act like Classic is to just go post their own list of things that need fixing or copy mine and post it with their own headline under their own name or nickname or “anonymous.” Whatever suits them. And to vote vote vote for each other’s ideas as quickly as possible before the little trolls decline and shut them down.

    If they want to play dirty little games with us, well, Whack-a-Mole, here we come. We will NOT let Yahoo continue to lie to us and pretend they have fixed the problems and all is good to go. I have group members right this second unable to post from our group message board without multiple tries, unable to get into our files, and unable to get into their groups. One person has tried a Mac with Safari and Firefox and now is on a PC with Firefox and thinking of installing Chrome because she NEEDS these files (health reasons) and can’t get at them.

    SHAME ON YOU JEFF BONFORTE AND YAHOO!!! You are heartless, cruel, and deserve to be fired and slink off into caves where you belong, sitting in bat guano while a few thousand bats sleep above you.

  3. Marissa Mayer’s glittery star is dimming. How soon will investors realize SHE is the problem and get rid of her? Once the current perks keeping Yahoo going (think Alibaba) are gone, then the ugly truth cannot be hidden, glossed over, or overlooked. She’s a fool to stay and ride this ship to the bottom of the sea, and too much of an opportunist to do so. We have only to wait for her to bail, and I have no doubt this self-preserving strategist has already decided on the time to do so. We have only to wait.

    Who thinks that Dan Loeb did not know what he was doing when he forced the Yahoo board to accept her? He picked a self-obsessed woman vulnerable to the right pitch, appealed to her fantasies of who she wanted to be, lied a little (okay a lot), and got her in. Now she will have to get herself out before her career is wrecked. She will. She’s way too much of a self-obsessed opportunist not to. In the meantime, what hope is there for the shambles she will leave behind?

    I hope Katie Couric gets herself out of there quickly. She made the wrong career move … but Katie has a history of that, sadly. Sadly, because I like her.

    The rest – well, they will get what they deserve. Bonforte especially.

  4. Some of us remember when Jim Stoneham rolled back the previous attempt to “upgrade” groups back in 2010. His comments to stay with the old version and update it have now been removed by Yahoo. It used to be on http://www.ygroupsblog.com, but that now redirects to a tumblr page. On that page, the “archives” only go back to August 2013, when NEO was forced on us. Luckily I made pdf files of a couple of the pages with Jim’s comments. If/when I’m contacted by a reporter, I hope to be able to pass them on.

    Looks like Yahoo is doing everything they can to get rid of any evidence that they ever said this to us. Another thing I noticed is that they changed the “Terms of Service” a few months ago, but backdated it almost a year to cover themselves.

    I’ve gotten my groups moved and we’re doing fairly well learning the new system. It’s really a shame that Yahoo doesn’t understand what they’ve done to people. I keep checking around, hoping that some entrepreneur will realize they would have a very good thing if they started a company that would emulate the Classic groups, including all the features that are missing or don’t work.

    Best of luck to everyone!

    Duane

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