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Press Blackout on Yahoo Ad-forcing?


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#1 banality

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 04:58 PM

Hi -

I have been having problems with Yahoo email ever since it increased the mailbox sizes. I have ad blocking software and a modified hosts file (supertrick), but whenever an ad is blocked, I can't use important buttons on Yahoo mail (delete, reply, etc.).

I suspect something in Yahoo's code is making use of Yahoo email contingent on Yahoo's ability to guarantee to advertisers that the ads will be served/viewed. The problem with this is it is a form of pressuring people to drop computer defenses in exchange for maintaining their long-held Yahoo identity. Will Yahoo pay if a person drops their ad-blocking, and then they get hijacked by a dialer and stuck with a super-sized phone bill?

I understand the business logic here, but I'm disturbed by the way the situation has been kept quiet. Yahoo hasn't said a thing about all the people who have reported that their email doesn't work, and Yahoo cerainly hasn't made any announcements about linking use of Yahoo mail to viewing ads or dropping ad-blockers.

Even more disturbing is the total press black out. Tech reviewers swarm all over lesser issues. I have reported this situation directly to various media outlets, but no one has replied to me. I search for news stories every couple of days with Google, Altavista, and AlltheWeb: not a journalist in the world is reporting this. Yet the problem is mentioned on forums. I don't understand why the story is being suppressed.

Meanwhile, an unknown quantity of people are trying to figure out what to do about their email: should they drop their ad-blockers and leave themselves vulnerable to spyware for the sake of being able to reply to their email? The longer the (apparent) press blackout goes on, the more likely it is that people will make uninformed decisions out of desperation.

I hope this is the right forum to report this in. Feel free to move the post if it's not. Also, anyone feel free to cut and paste and send this is issue to any reporter who may be willing to look into this and help.

#2 hedgevine

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 07:12 PM

:rant:

I too, had the same problem upon receiving the "improved" Yahoo E-mail. I went so far as to report the issue to Yahoo 5 TIMES!...each reply taking me on a circular path to...nowhere.

I picked up a clue as to the ad/functionality problem during a desperate Google search. I then began tracking the ads that appear at the top of the page (mainly Doubleclick variations), and removed them from my HOSTS file. Problem solved! I still can run the Google pop-up blocker, as well as the rest of the MVPS HOST file.

Never did Yahoo support tell me about the ad/functionality stunt they pulled on millions of Yahoo E-mail users. For shame!

The Hedgie

#3 banality

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 07:17 PM

I also read about the doubleclick connection, but I do not wish to modify my host file ad-protection to please Yahoo. The question remains: is Yahoo willing to pay for any problems that occur because of dropped protection?

But still the thing that is bothering me the most is the apparent press blackout. I understand Yahoo trying to hide the issue, but why are journalists looking the other way?

#4 Guest_Guest_hedgevine_*

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 08:34 AM

Me thinks Yahoo got the message. I downloaded the new MVPS HOSTS file, and ran it unaltered, including all the Doubleclick variations...Voila! All the Yahoo E-mail buttons/drop-downs function!

I hope this is not a temporary fluke.

Hedgie

#5 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 04:58 PM

Yahoo seemed to fix it a few days ago. I noticed the result of the fix was that all the ads appeared (no doubleclick ads?): therefore, Yahoo was getting what it wanted out of the fix - people see the ads. That gave me the creeps (like Yahoo would only fix it if the ads got through), but I was glad my mail worked.

However, a couple days later, the problem recurred. Right now my Yahoo mail is working, but I don't know how long that will last. Once again, all ads are getting through, too.

#6 Tuxedo Jack

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 06:43 PM

You could probably use AdBlock (http://adblock.mozdev.org) to block specific ads and directories for ads as opposed to blocking entire servers. Very, very useful for when servers host ads on their own site.

Only works with Firefox/Firebird/Mozilla, though.
Signature file is under revision. This will be back shortly.

#7 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 07:10 PM

I just switched to Firefox today because of Yahoo as well as the latest virus scares. I'm not sure what to do about the functions that I had through BHOs on IE (form-filling, various adware protections, etc.). I think I've finally given up on IE, though. Specifiying what you want to block ad-by-ad sounds like a lot of work, but maybe I've misunderstood: I will check out the Adblock.

But it bothers me a lot that Yahoo has *made* me take this action: made me consider changing my hosts file, made me change my browser (which may entail a lot of work in customizing). Why should I be making all these changes to accomodate Yahoo? Technology is supposed to save work/time, not make more work and use up more time.

And there still isn't one public word out there on what Yahoo did. No one is pointing out that Yahoo linked email functionality to ad serving. Yahoo has yet to acknowledge that this has been a problem for a lot of people. The longer this goes on, the longer it looks like a cover up to me.

#8 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 07:29 PM

OKaaaaay.

I just tried Adblocker. Now my Yahoo reply, delete, etc. buttons don't work in Firefox.

I double-checked the Adblocker list to make sure I had just blocked the gifs and not any .js or libs. Just gifs on the list.

More evidence that Yahoo has linked use of email to viewing ads.

#9 Archon_Wing

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 07:51 PM

Bah. Yahoo Games didn't work until I disabled adblock...
Rights are never important until you don't have them.

#10 linc

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Posted 01 July 2004 - 02:09 PM

If any company did that to me I'd change my email,

I'm using Firefox and thought I would try the mozzilla email
Thunderbird and it works fine for me.
It also autmatically notifies you if it thinks any mail you get is Spam

#11 banality

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Posted 01 July 2004 - 06:41 PM

The annoying thing about email is that the user has an investment: I've had my Yahoo identity for years. People who need to contact me will use my Yahoo address. I don't want to switch email services. But I may have to simply to protest the sleaziness of this situation. I still haven't seen any media coverage at all, and of course Yahoo hasn't made their attempt to force the ads public.

#12 nosmoking

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 07:19 PM

I couldn't read any emails on the yahoo webmail account. I could log in, then every time I tried to open an email, I got redirected to an ad.doubleclick.au advert. I tried complaining to yahoo customer care, also advising them that if they did choose to reply to me, then they'd have to turn off the ad linking or I wouldn't be able to see their reply. Sure enough, they turned it off....for 24 hrs. Then it was back. I emailed them again and when I logged in to my mail, they had sent me an auto-reply (which I couldn't read, doubleclick ad page again). Soooo....how to get at my mail? Download it to my machine, perhaps? Problem there is that Yahoo! Mail disabled free access to its POP3 service in April 2002. HOWEVER (there's always a 'however') I found a free program on the net that allows me to do just what I wanted, and it doesn't break any yahoo laws or agreements. It's called Yahoopops and I got the latest version (0.6) here...
http://sf.gds.tuwien...y/ya/yahoopops/
So after a quick setup and config, I'm now in the process of downloading all my mail off the yahoo server; received mail, sent mail, the lot. When I'm finished, I'll keep the yahoo acct open just long enough to catch any stragglers who don't know my new free email acct. (Fastmail.fm), then yahoo can kiss my ass. It's history!

nosmoking

#13 Trilobite

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 08:10 AM

I've had the same problem with Mozilla and hpguru's HOSTS file. I could only delete, forward, and reply to messages if I boot into Knoppix and access my account. I too sent a complaint to yahoo. It seems to be fixed now.

The most frustrating part of this is that I use my yahoo account for job searching and after having the account for five years, I have yet to receive any spam.

Yahoo, if you are reading this, keep it up, I have no problem turning to one of your competitors for my email service.

#14 banality

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 09:04 PM

I've been discussing elsewhere how I have substantial evidence that Yahoo either scans my mail or traces my surfing history to profile me for spam. I wrote Yahoo repeatedly about this, and I received no reply. I actually don't mind the practice so much as the fact Yahoo gets away with not acknowledging it, and further more no reporter will look into it.

The problem with the email buttons was rampant and widespread, yet not a peep in the press, not even specialist Internet press. I don't understand the motive for the hush up.

#15 linc

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Posted 21 July 2004 - 10:50 AM

The problem with the email buttons was rampant and widespread, yet not a peep in the press, not even specialist Internet press. I don't understand the motive for the hush up.

Big Corporations and Money, Lotsa Money




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