My Yahoo – Why I don’t use My Yahoo

SUMMARY: Offer a publicly-commentable version of my entire Yahoo profile (Flickr, del.icio.us, Upcoming, etc), and a one-screen interface to my network (including sending email). And fix the irrelevant advertising.

My Yahoo is attractive and loaded with features, but few of those features are innovative. It has completely ignored its own properties, such as delicious, Flickr and Upcoming. The only obvious differentiation is the inclusion of a huge irrelevant advertising block.
The service was relaunched about a year ago to incorporate more of the DHTML/AJAX features included on its competitors, Netvibes, Pageflakes, and GoogleIG (aka iGoogle). I registered at the time, and was initially impressed by the design, but was disappointed by the lack of functionality compared to my Netvibes account.

Initially impressed by the design, but disappointed by the lack of functionality compared to my Netvibes account.

A year later I returned to check it out. There are some good bits. The AJAX-ified address book search is the best I’ve seen on the internet. And it looks much better designed than iGoogle, while content is easier to read than on Netvibes.
But it still has the same inherent problems. A few weird cross-browser bugs – in Opera, I couldn’t change the colour background, or click the ‘Add RSS feed’ button, for example.
But my bigger complaint is the total lack of integration between all my Yahoo stuff:

  • Why can’t I send an email straight from the MyYahoo page? OK security on a page you are going to leave open… so give me an option just to enter the password when I send.
  • Where is the Flickr module? It could work like Flock, so that I could drag and drop photos onto my account, but there’s no option to upload at all. There’s not even an option to see recent activity on my photos. Sure, I can get my feed URL from Flickr and set it up myself, but why doesn’t Yahoo do that for me?
  • Delicious is equally ignored, even more strangely given that Netvibes has quite a good delicious module. Of course, I have a ‘bookmarks’ function on My Yahoo, but why doesn’t it automatically pull my content from delicious or allow me to post to it?
  • I don’t use Upcoming.org much, but I might if it was integrated with my other Yahoo stuff. OK, you get the picture by now.
  • That huge block of advertising – today it’s telling me I can watch the new ‘Leona Lewis’ video. Yahoo’s ‘innovation’ in this space is adding content based on what I do on the Yahoo network. So why don’t they know that I never go to Yahoo music and hate pop music? Later I get the offer to buy a UK Virgin Media package, even though I have lived in Brazil for a year. It’s possible to find this information on the Yahoo network.

Suggestions for Improving MyYahoo

My suggestion would be to look through everything for which I have specifically registered on the Yahoo network and auto-build THAT page for me. Offer a public version in which people can view my recent photos, bookmarks, questions/answers, events, etc. Allow people to comment on it, and send me email through it. Then a private page in which I can upload, edit and delete my content, while offering a fully integrate email service.

Assuming that Yahoo is making little money on the service today, it would continue to make little money with my suggestions above, but it would at least be a better service.

So My Yahoo looks nice, but fails to do anything to pull me away from Netvibes. When it allows me to use my whole Yahoo network from the same page, I might reconsider. I might even ignore the totally irrelevant advertising.

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