Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Yahoo Fails

I've learned a valuable lesson today. That lesson is: FUCK Yahoo.

Of course, this is a philosophy that dates back to the very early days of the Internet, back when cave dwellers were trying to affix wheels to fire and people said that AOL was a quality Internet service provider without so much as a snicker. Back in those primordial days, AOL, who padded their service with exorbitant services that the average person didn't care enough about to figure out how to use in order to inflate their prices for the few services most people did use, were ferociously rivaled for Internet dominancy by Yahoo, who essentially offered the same services for absolutely nothing. It was a wise move on the part of Yahoo, considering that most people had to go through AOL just to have an Internet connection to get to Yahoo.

Then a strange thing happened. Other companies realized that they, too, could sell an Internet connection, generally a more secure and faster one than AOL was offering, cheaper. Then DSL and cable Internet exploded onto the scene while AOL is still trying to convince us that three times dial-up speed, (roughly 170 kbps), is somehow faster than upwards of 500 kbps. But we get all the added AOL security with that. Snicker.

Suddenly services once dominated by AOL for a fee and Yahoo for free exploded all over the Internet, being offered by millions of companies for millions of different price packages ranging from free all the way to expensive. People realized that AOL was a colossal joke and that they could pay a little extra money and get much better services than Yahoo was offering for free. To combat this, AOL relied on technophobic Internet users' inability to cope with change and a massive advertising campaign boasting all of the security features that they don't actually provide. Yahoo realized that they were going to end up losing money unless they started charging for their services, so they started charging for their services. They didn't actually improve anything; they just relied on the notion that something must be better if we now have to suddenly start paying for it. Right?

I dabbled in a Yahoo pay service for a couple months until they proved to me how horribly inept they were at actually making money. I was looking for an FTP hosting service for the few song samples I post from time to time that met the following criteria:
1) It let me store more than 20 MB total.
2) It's insanely cheap.
3) I could just direct link to the file from my webpage.
4) They didn't really care all too much what I uploaded to their servers.
A screen name on my dad's AOL account was ideal because it was free, they didn't give a shit what I uploaded, and anyone could access it. The only problem was that they only allowed 20 MB total, at which point I would have to delete that screen name, (they say they purge them after six months, but stuff I've uploaded to them prior to 2000 is still active), and create a new one, which can be a really absurd hassle just to try to explain to my dad why I need to do it, let alone to actually do it.

I shopped around and found that most FTP clients seem to have a problem with hosting copyrighted material and go as far as to invade the privacy of your account to ensure that no infringing material is present. Some go as far as to not allow any audio or video file extentions to be uploaded at all. I also wanted something fairly cheap since I'm basically just using it to periodically host media samples on a blog that I don't make money off of. I read about Yahoo's Briefcase service and it seemed like it might work out, so I decided to try it. It was cheap — $4.95 per month for 100 MB of storage space, and they didn't really seem to give a shit what you uploaded as long as no one reported it. I did have some trouble direct linking the files, but it was overall a minor sacrifice considering that it fit three of the four major qualifications.

I had Yahoo Briefcase for a grand total of two full months before I discovered that Yahoo apparently is not a huge fan of actually making money. In fact, they gave me money. In case anyone isn't familiar with Yahoo's services, basically, you subscribe and it will automatically keep renewing the subscription each month until you, personally, willfully unsubscribe. However, when I went to use the Briefcase tonight, I discovered that my storage space had been reduced from 100 MB back to 30 MB. I checked the account options and discovered that, instead of debiting the monthly payment this month, they credited the payment. At first, I thought: "How fucking stupid are these people? They can't even figure out how to collect their money properly!" However, I knew just contemplating the senselessness of the company was not going to actually solve the problem, so I decided that I must do that which we all most fear — I must contact Yahoo Customer Service.

I knew that email was not an option because any time I have ever emailed any customer service representative of any company, whether online or in real life, about any problem, all I have ever gotten as a response was an excerpt copied and pasted from the FAQ page that has nothing to do with my actual problem. If you want to resolve a billing discrepancy, live human interaction is always best. So I called Yahoo's billing department. The helpful customer service representative, (who made me ponder just how many homosexuals might actually be employed by company call centers because, although I don't personally have a problem with another person's sexual preference, this guy sounded gay to the point of choking on a dick while on the phone with me), informed me that I had cancelled the account.

I told him that I hadn't cancelled my account. I hadn't done anything to it in two months, and it should have an automatic renewal. He put me on hold for "no more than one minute" (which turned out to be about six), and told me that their computers cancelled it for me during some "routine maintenance" and I was welcome to resubscribe at any time. I asked him why I had not been notified that the account was cancelled either through my Yahoo mail or my primary email account, at which point he started choking harder and promised me that a notification would be sent to both accounts. I have yet to see it. It's a moot point now, because I've already discovered that it had been cancelled. I don't need an email to tell me something that I already know because I'm not an idiot, but I suppose that's neither here nor there.

I thought I'd at least try to resubscribe, but whenever I try to go back to the subscription page for Yahoo Premium Services, I get directed to either
this, this, or this page, which as you can imagine is extemely helpful and, above that, conducive to them making money from paying customers. I decided to give Yahoo one more chance at proving themselves a viable web service, and in grand tradition, Yahoo proved to have their heads up their rear ends when it comes to actually making money by offering services. I mean, all they had to do was sit back and do nothing and take my money for it, and they couldn't even manage not screwing that up. So fuck Yahoo. Yahoo fails. The only thing Yahoo is good for is offering an endless supply of really stupid people to make fun of. I'm currently looking into other web hosting services that might be able to offer me up to four of the four qualities I desire. Once I find a reliable service, I'll transfer the content I had hosted at Yahoo for your continued enjoyment, or the lack thereof.

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