Yahoo's Valueless Products
Well, I don't often use their search engine myself, I'll admit, mostly because it used to get less relevent returns to my queries than Google some five years ago. I don't know if that would be true now though.
Yahoo are still my first choice when it comes to shake'n'bake specialised social networking, and I often tout Yahoo Groups to others as a quick and esay way to get some quite sophisticated tech for a web presence with automated mail-listing for free.
There's plenty I'd do differently if I was building any one of my own Yahoo Groups by hand, and some of the recent changes have been rather counter productive, but then, I wanted to be up and running in minutes so I could dedicate more free time to my interests and less to dicking about with website crap so I was willing to live with the less-great stuff to get that.
I wouldn't doubt they loose money on it though. The garbage-collection criteria favoured eternal spam wastelands the last time I investigated shutting down a group whose owner had just walked off without delegating a replacement. I wonder just how much of the spinning real estate is actually weed-infested landfill? Perhaps an audit would do more for shareholder value than yelling for a new board?
If you want to have a go at the so-called experts in the so-called tech support department then I'm with you 100%. Douglas Adams could only dream of such monumental levels of incompetence and apathy.
When Yahoo put out a new template a couple of years ago that resized all group logo pictures to bedsheets (which was a problem for mine since I went for quick-loading postage stamps when I built 'em and the resulting fuzzy mess made some of the older readers think they needed new specs) I played around for a couple of days then gave up and asked how to size the art smaller. The reply?
"Reduce the size of the image".
It has just occurred to me that this sort of tech support may have been part of the attraction from Microsoft's point of view: at least one part of the organisation was already aligned with the Redmond Way of Things and wouldn't need reindoctrinating.