Hasty Fixes to Groups Won’t Fix Revenue Woes

Owl Money 2
Well, here we are in 2014, and it appears that the projected goals for Yahoo have not been met. There is little wonder why – they broke every one of their services to the point of being unusable. On Twitter recently (February 4, 2014), there were still people tweeting that their Yahoo mail was down and not working. Yahoo managed to break it again . . . and Flickr, too.

Do you know why Yahoo is such a mess? Because they rolled out a broken, buggy, untested program called NEO and forced it onto their users without warning.  They started with Yahoo Groups and turned us into guinea pigs as though we were due no consideration for our years of loyalty to Yahoo.  With total disregard they destroyed years of work put into the groups – archives, databases, and even accessibility were gone.

The media paid little attention to the protests of Groups users, but when Yahoo sabotaged Mail, the press was all over it.  Yahoo couldn’t deny the chaos they had created, and they quickly restored at least one of the favorite features (tabs) that they had eliminated.

Still the plight of Groups users was ignored, but we weren’t idle.  Yahoo’s Uservoice overflowed with requests for help, complaints about lost features, and pleas for the return to Classic Groups.  When that didn’t work, we took to contacting the media, advertisers, and stockholders – telling them what we were experiencing, asking for support, and advising them of plans to boycott. We also created this blog to collect relevant data, personal stories, news articles, resources, and comments in one location for anyone to see.

Finally, six months after the advent of NEO, we are beginning to see the true effect. Yahoo’s fourth quarter returns indicate that our efforts have not been in vain. Even though ad sales were up, revenue was down, and COO De Castro was fired by Mayer (with a generous – to say the least – severance deal). Despite Yahoo’s claim of increased traffic, maybe the advertisers and investors are finally seeing the validity of what we’ve been telling them.

BloombergTV2Full article at Bloomberg.com.

Now Yahoo is in a hurry to repair the damage and stop the exodus, but it isn’t working. Months ago Bonforte stated on Twitter that it would take at least two years to identify and fix all the bugs in Groups.

Jeff BonforteJeff Bonforte@bonforte Jeff Bonforte
@Mark__Oliver @Apacapacas it isn’t that easy. And we definitely do have ideas on where we want to take Groups in the next couple of years.
from Castro, San Francisco
(You can read the full transcript here.)

With the recent drop in revenue, investors are pressing for changes in Mayer’s management style.  The press is not only focusing on that, they’re also starting to take seriously the impact on Groups.  The result has been a push by Yahoo to make Groups functional again.  The problem is, the more they “fix” in haste, the more problems they actually cause. In an effort to conceal this latest fiasco, they’ve revised Uservoice so vote counts for requests/complaints are no longer shown.  Perhaps this is a ploy to minimize the effect when viewed by the media and general public.

Another favorite tactic of Yahoo is to close items and claim they have been fixed. In most instances, the problem still exists. They will also close requests as soon as they’ve been submitted, and they’ve changed the way requests are made and made it difficult to know what, if anything, has been done.  So far many of the things they claim are fixed still don’t work properly, if at all.

One of the problems we experienced with NEO is that all of the personalized home page photos were removed and replaced by arbitrary, irrelevant photos assigned by Yahoo (some of them actually offensive to certain cultures or religions).  When they recently returned the personalized photos to the home pages, they left the ones they had imposed on us and placed the original ones lower on the page, in a cropped format.  Below is an example of what a photo “restored” by NEO looks like now, although the original photo did not chop off the heads of the subjects (we did, however, obscure the subjects’ faces to protect their privacy).


The bottom line is that Yahoo took services that worked – Groups, Mail, Finance, Sports, etc. – and destroyed them.  Groups lost functionality, Mail was down for days, and passwords have been compromised.  Yet they have adamantly refused to return to the Classic format, stating that it is no longer feasible, even though many users are still using that format. What we have repeatedly requested is a return to Classic at least until the new interface can be adequately tested and proven to provide the features on which we have relied for so long.  Is that really too much to ask?


One thought on “Hasty Fixes to Groups Won’t Fix Revenue Woes

  1. Yahoo Broke Groups. Yahoo also Broke Yahoo Mail. And no matter how bad it is, they refuse to go back to services that netted them income and wasn’t losing them customers much less revenue.

    So WHAT IS SO IMPORTANT about NEO that going back to what worked, isn’t feasible?
    Who Profits? Surely it isn’t the users, it isn’t the stock holders either.

    But to steadfastly hold onto a broken system, someone must be happy enough, and have enough weight to insist the broken system remain.

    So who or what alphabet agency is more important to the Upper Yahoo Management, than their stockholders and their customers?

    It’s long past time to finish bailing. All we need is a lifeboat. Someone could be a Billionaire overnight by simply setting up an old broken Yahoo Classics type of group. Use to be if Americans wanted it bad enough, the Japanese would build it for us.

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