Fluffy Business Week Article on Yahoo!

september 15, 2005

Maybe I expect more from a publisher like Business Week, but this article is such a fluff piece that it had me surprised that they would even put their name on it. The article deals with three Yahoo! "issues" that popped up over the last few weeks: Reporter in China, Adware dealings (did not hear about this one), and Yahoo! Instant Messenger installer. All valid issues, but the article has no meat for any of them -- especially the adware stuff, which (even though I keep track of the company news) have not heard about until now. So, here's what I think (speaking as me, not as a Yahoo! employee, so no quoting). In China, Yahoo! was doing exactly as the law required. If they had the same request by the FBI here in the USA, they would also turn over data. That's the law of the local country where they are operating and that's the law that needs to be followed. How is that an issue? And I don't want to hear any "well they shouldn't be doing business in a country like China" crap from all you Wal-Mart shopping Chinese product buying people. The adware dealings, Business Week was being very vague when they pointed their fingers at Yahoo! about it. Here is the original document about Yahoo! and adware. No where in this document do they say (as Business Week writes) "research showed Yahoo's ads were far more likely to surface in unwanted pop-ups than were Google's." What the document does do is point to another document about Google's own problems with adware. I hate adware, and I think Yahoo! and Google (and whatever other advertisement house) should not be selling ads through adware. And lastly, the Yahoo! Instant Messenger installer. Poor Jeremy got quoted in a news article...

Pretty soon, even a Yahoo employee was blogging about it. In early September, Yahoo engineer Jeremy Zawodny sounded off on his blog: "Do I like those (software installation) practices? Hell no. It's insulting and disrespectful."
I have noticed the same thing about YIM installs -- it tries to install a whole bevy of Yahoo! software and links onto one's computer, much akin to when installing AIM. I too think that this is completely wrong. The YIM installer, by default, should install YIM and nothing else. There can be options in there to let the user install other Yahoo! bells and whistles, but those options should not be checked by default (as it is now). It is, as Jeremy says, insulting and disrespectful. Ah well, at this point, Google is still the media darling. Yahoo! seems to be damned if they do and damned if they don't on most issues. Some of it (like the YIM installer) is our own fault. Others (like China and adware) is the media kicking us around because they don't feel like kicking Google around. I just wish that an established publisher like Business Week would not be one to put up sensational reporting like they did in their article.