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Yahoo’s ever-ongoing account mergers: No choice for users

May 27, 2007 | By |

What is it with Yahoo and their user accounts? Whenever they take over a service, account have to be merged with Yahoo’s very own Yahoo!ID. From the company’s point of view, this makes sense, of course: A, it makes integration of these services much easier, and B, it allows for much more efficient data mining. But as a user, that’s hardly my problem, is it?

When Yahoo bought Flickr, they announced that nothing much would change. Which is true, to some degree, but lead to some major uproar within the Flickr community anyway – and that’s what Flickr is about, isn’t it? The community? So if the community vibe changes, the service changes. But anyway. Now it’s basically the same with upcoming.org: Users have no choice but to merge their upcoming.org account with their Yahoo!ID.

Which I, personally, have no interest in whatsoever. Why should I, as a user, care? Why don’t users get a choice there? It’s not that I have anything against Yahoo (I don’t), or think they’re the Supreme Evil Being (they aren’t), or anything. But it’s a farce if you are forced to click through the merging process without any kind of choice.

Another big change is our switch to Yahoo! IDs. Following closely on the heels of Flickr and Bix, we’ve finally abandoned our legacy sign-in system for Yahoo’s own login system. (…) About 1/3rd of our support requests come from people who didn’t get their registration email, forgot their password, forgot their username, or can’t login for some other reason. Since nearly everyone online already has a Yahoo! account, this opens up Upcoming to a huge new audience.

Ah, right. Your head aches. But who’s this new audience for Upcoming: The people who wouldn’t sign up before? Or the ones who kept forgetting their passwords? Oh please.

Yahoo: Is it so hard to let your users choose if they want to profit from your extended-premium-personalized-whatever-services – or not?

Other companies integrate external services so much more elegantly and less intrusively: Take Google, where you have the same circumstances, but it’s a lot less, well, aggressive.

As Cory Doctorow pointed out, End User License Agreements should be negotiable: How could it be an agreement otherwise? How about a reasonable agreement?

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