Why I Continue to NOT use Yahoo

From the very early days of the Internet, there was something messy to me about Yahoo’s approach with a directory of Web sites that felt inefficient and that the onus was on me to drill down until I finally discovered what I was looking for on their site. Their home page also always seemed incredibly cluttered…as though an accountant was in charge of design and efficiently using up every pixel of white space.

There are useful services like Yahoo Finance that I use daily. Yahoo News often is either sent to me by a friend or colleague and I frequently end up at a Yahoo page following a link. But sometimes I just want to be entertained or catch up on the news without any technology getting in the way.

This morning I’m up early and decided to find the video of the rats caught scurrying about a Taco Bell in New York City. Yahoo has the Associate Press story with associated video footage.

I click to open the video in Firefox on the Mac and wait….and wait…and wait. Just the commercial for NetFlix…no video of rats running around (and it never does play, by the way). Next I open Safari in case there’s a hiccup with the dozens of plug-ins I have running in Firefox. I wait…and wait…and wait…no video…ever.


I launch Parallels and fire up WindowsXP and go to the story. The NetFlix commercial plays and within seconds the video plays. I get to enjoy the appalling spectacle of rats in a restaurant and get to reminisce about the cockroaches I’ve watched climbing walls while trying to swallow my fast food in Manhattan.

Everything is current on the Mac including the Flip4Mac plugin that allows Windows Media to play in Mac’s Quicktime player. I used to have issues with CNN’s site playing video as well as my local CBS affiliate (which has just bypassed the issue altogether as their parent Viacom has chosen Flash video as its format) but they have taken a strategic, non-vendor-centric media delivery method that works and makes it easy for us, the user.

I’m not sure what Yahoo is or is trying to be. Buying Flickr; creating Yahoo Pipes; embracing virtually all the Internet-as-a-platform standards without trying to control them all like other media-wannabee tech companies we know; these are all incredibly smart moves. But if they can’t get drop-dead-basic stuff like video to play on ALL platforms without ANY hiccups, they have to stop pretending they’re a media company.

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  1. Working Pathways on February 24, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    The Difference Between Yahoo Google

    From my perspective, sorting out the recent acquisitions of Yahoo and Google is pretty straight-forward.
    Yahoo has always been about building a directory. Tags are just another way to create a directory. From that perspective, purchasing …

  2. Lenny on February 26, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Good point. I get annoyed myself when sites like Yahoo use WMV and most likely don’t even test it on a Mac. As much as I dislike Flash, I have grown fond of Flash video, since it always works on every platform every time.

  3. Antonio on February 26, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts. Yeah, it’s irritating when video content providers use non-standard WMV. I mean, I can deal with standard WMV, actually, Flip4Mac can deal with standard WMV (and even a ton of weird codecs), but the insistance of these sites to offer up this “PC only” A/V moves me further and further away from places that do that…like Yahoo.
    I do appreciate F4M, though. Telestream is a decent company that provides solutions for us Mac users. A little off subject, but they have a new DVD imaging app available for free in beta now, and I am looking forward to using it on my Powerbook during a flight overseas this week. It will save my battery life and preclude me from inserting movie discs. Check it out HERE

  4. George P on March 1, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    i couldn’t help but notice that you think yahoo is playing their video in wmv — the video is flash based, you can tell by looking at the controls, but i went and double checked just now anyways. yahoo does use a wmv player for their launch music site (launch.yahoo.com).

    i can understand how the video not playing on your mac was annoying. this seems like a problem in the javascript code (or actionscript) transferring control from the advertisement to the actual video. now that i think about it, i am reasonably confident this is a actionscript issue related to macs. they must be using some strange constructs in their actionscript that has unusual behaviour on a mac… at least thats my guess

    — George

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.