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Yahoo! Mail And Nudity In Advertisements


Yahoo mail

Twitter customer service is pointless if it can't deliver an end-to-end user experience.  Take my recent interaction with Yahoo! below:


For the past few weeks Yahoo! Mail has been showing what to many would be considered an indecent advertisement in their right hand skyscraper unit.  This is a locally targeted ad for the Israel market.  This ad shows a woman's nude behind (though with the odd coloring it could well be a close in on a sculpture).  I found the ad to be in poor taste, particularly given the broad user base of the site.  My wife also saw the ad and has been trying to figure out how to get the ad off of her Yahoo! Mail.  This was particularly offensive to her as she receives a good deal of spiritual inspiration from emails she receives from her spiritual mentors (mostly former teachers).  

Together we searched Yahoo and Google for quite a while, looking for the proper form to report an inappropriate ad to Yahoo!  We couldn't find the right form.  Apparently because they don't have one.  

When we recently mentioned this to friends in the neighborhood, they all had the same experience.  They had seen the ad, found it objectionable for the context and couldn't find a way to report it.

So I took to Twitter.  In the past the Yahoo! Mail Twitter team hasn't always been 100% effective, but they generaly got the job done.  I tweeted to the Yahoo! Mail team asking how I could report this ad.  I was in a positive mood and wanted to help.  They twice sent me to this page - http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/mail/ymail/abuse.html - a form for reporting spam and email abuse.  There was no option to report ad abuse.  We could not submit the form without including the message header, the sender, etc.  This clearly was not the right form.  But we filled it out anyway, using N/A for all almost all of the fields in the form.

And then we hit send.  And nothing happened.  

The page reloaded with a blank form.  Was our form received by the system?  I don't know.  There was no on-screen confirmation or message received landing page.  Just a blank form.  It's now almost 30 minutes later and we haven't received an email confirmation of our complaint.  Is Yahoo! listening?  Does Yahoo! care?

Putting your customer service on Twitter is a great way to actively engage the community.  But when this service fails to deliver a positive end-to-end experience, it serves little purpose.  I was a proactive and engaged fans of the platform, yet I was directed to a poorly designed, impersonal form.  

I invested my time in Yahoo!  It remains to be seen whether Yahoo! cares to invest their time in me.

UPDATE: Social media is a funny thing.  I know a number people who work at Yahoo!, but did not engage them as I wanted to experience this journey as a regular Joe.  An old friend and Yahoo! employee has engaged in the conversation on this blog and elsewhere, and correctly pointed out that Yahoo! is compliant with industry standards.  I would be happy to speak with the team at Yahoo and share their response in full on this blog (as appropriate).  The overall issue discussed in this post is one that challenges most ad networks.  While there are safeguards in place, things happen and there unfortunately is not yet a great system for user-generated feedback regarding third party ads on most major sites or networks.  As a user and as an advocate, I tried to provide feedback.  Let's see where this feedback takes us.

Note: To all the GMail people out there, I know.  I almost switched, twice.  But switching is a pain, I didn't get the right Gmail address, I'm now locked into this poor GMail address as it my Google ID, and I kind of like Yahoo! Mail.  While Yahoo! Mail isn't an incredible product and they have on occasion been very frustrating, 99% of the time the product works great and I've stuck with it until now.  As for the future?  We will see...