There was once a time when I signed into Yahoo mail, all that I would see is that I have four emails in my inbox and a few more in the Junk mail folder. This is what I would call “the age of relevant information”.. Now, when I sign in, what I see is news about Gaza’s latest civilian toll. This is Yahoo’s “value added” service for using their email service. Here’s a secret that I think yahoo should know… Times and Economist is one lousy click away from Yahoo… The last place I will go looking for news about death toll around the world is the place where I go to open messages from my friends and family!
Forcing users to view news around the world is nothing but the opposite of achieving total customer satisfaction. My experience deteriorates as I sign out! at least after signing in, I have the option to choose the category of news that I’d like to bear… as I sign out, I’m denied even that miniscule pleasure.. Now, I’m forced to view the news which only the most disillusioned teenagers would be interested in… for example news about Hilton’s (you know which Hilton!) burglary which might have been an inside job! or about Britney Spears’ rumoured Indian boyfriend. I sometimes wonder if there is a revenue source for Yahoo by publishing this news on their site.. I hope they do because if they don’t, this is quite an immature way of attracting customers.
The counter argument might be that the only segment yahoo is targeting as new customer base is the teenagers. I hope they will then follow Google’s strategy of giving the choice to the customer about which news they want to view like in iGoogle.
I have been loyal to Yahoo mail for the past 10 years and I truly hope they do well, but I feel they have totally missed the trick. Not sure about the other email providers because I haven’t used any other ever! Wouldn’t Yahoo be so much better off sticking to its core competence by creating a application like iTunes (but to rival MS outlook) or to let people embed YouTube videos and Flickr snaps into email or simply provide a service which lets users sort messages by importance! If none of that, the least yahoo could do is treat the whole world like a bunch of teenagers still trying to fit in!