Watch Your Mouth On Yahoo! Answers Or They'll Delete Your Email And Website

Reader Andrew has been a Yahoo! email paid subscriber for 8 years. He also has a Yahoo! Small Business account for his website and has a paid Flickr account. He also participates in Yahoo! Answers. Sadly, Andrew said something on Yahoo! Answers that Yahoo! feels violated their TOS. The result? They deleted Andrew’s entire account, including his email, Flickr, and website hosting. He was given no warning. Yahoo! says his account was “suspended.” Andrew writes:

Now, lets have a quick look at that word – suspended. If a student get suspended from school that usually means they are back within a few days or a week or so. Yahoo!’s definition of suspended means removed permanently. This included all emails I had saved over the last eight years, my pre-paid Yahoo! Small Business Account, my FLICKR account, IM account – the lot. To top it off, and here is the sweet bit, even though I OWN the domain name transformertattoo.com I cannot move it to another hosting service because the contact email address, yup, you guessed it, was my deleted Yahoo! email address. “

Andrew says this is happening to quite a few people who say something untoward on Yahoo! answers (according to Andrew they claim he said something about harming animals, which he denies, but who knows.) Even if Andrew did say something out-of-line, should that affect other services he’s paid for? Andrew claims Yahoo! will not reinstate his account or refund his money. Read his letter inside.

Dear Consumerist,

I have been a big fan of your site for a while now, and, unfortunately, I have a story of my own to relate to you. It’s kind of tricky, so please, bear with me.

I have been a Yahoo! Email user for over eight years. For three of these years I have subscribed to their Mail Plus service at $19.99USD per year. I found that their email interface worked well and I became a heavy user of their other services such as Yahoo! Search, Yahoo! Calendar, Yahoo! Answers, and FLICKR to name just a few.

Over the last three or so months, my friend and I decided to start up a website (http://transformertattoo.com), which is a gallery of user-submitted pictures of peoples tattoos. Being a regular Yahoo! user, I went for a Yahoo! Small Business Hosting Plan. I payed Yahoo! around $10USD to register the domain name and paid an up front monthly fee of $12USD.

The website was up and running within days and it was becoming quite a popular place. My mate and I were earning a few bucks every few days off it. No worries. It was a fanciful little hobby.

Over the last 3 months, I had become an active member on Yahoo! Answers, reaching Level 3 and sitting on around the 2000 point mark. This is all fair and well.

Earlier this week, I logged into my Yahoo! email to check messages, lo-and-behold, it rejected my user name and/or password. “Not to worry”, I thought and punched in the appropriate data again. I blinked twice. It rejected my user name and/or password again.

“Strewth!”, I muttered under my breath and jumped on over to Yahoo! Answers to see if I could log in there.
No such luck.
By now, I started to panic slightly. My palms started to sweat and my mind began racing. I couldn’t believe it. “Surely, they haven’t done the same with our website”, I reasoned. I slowly typed in the URL of the domain name that I owned, making sure the spelling was correct. I closed my eyes. I said a little prayer and hit ‘Enter’.

Error 404

By now I was in shock.

Two things came to my mind. Perhaps their server was down. No, Yahoo! doesn’t let that happen. Then the second, more gut retching thought trailed through my mind. They have suspended my account.

Now, lets have a quick look at that word – suspended. If a student get suspended from school that usually means they are back within a few days or a week or so. Yahoo!’s definition of suspended means removed permanently. This included all emails I had saved over the last eight years, my pre-paid Yahoo! Small Business Account, my FLICKR account, IM account – the lot. To top it off, and here is the sweet bit, even though I OWN the domain name transformertattoo.com I cannot move it to another hosting service because the contact email address, yup, you guessed it, was my deleted Yahoo! email address.

I lobbed on over to a newly discovered site called ” Yahoo! Answers Violation Notice Board”. I had never heard of it. No wonder. This is where people can dispute accounts being closed. Let me tell you – there is a lot of people there who have also lodged complaints and grievances about their account being removed.
Example 1 – http://messages.answers.yahoo.com/answers/threadview?m=te&bn=SEA-ViolationsNotice&tid=135&mid=135&tof=2&so=E&frt=2#135
Example 2 -
http://messages.answers.yahoo.com/answers/threadview?m=te&bn=SEA-ViolationsNotice&tid=2280&mid=2280&tof=17&so=E&frt=2#2280
Example 3 -
http://messages.answers.yahoo.com/answers/threadview?m=te&bn=SEA-ViolationsNotice&tid=401&mid=401&tof=4&so=E&frt=2#401

I posted a question there asking the same as many, many other people, “Why was my account deleted?”. I received a reply around 10 hours later confirming that my account had been “suspended” for breaking Yahoo!’s Terms of Service. They alleged that I was posting questions relating to harming of animals and people, which is absurd. As I mentioned I had put around three months of effort into gaining best answer and building my profile up to a Level 3 with 2,200 points. Why would I do anything like that? I am against harming people or animals.

Unlike, Yahoo! for example – on their video website at http://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=155749 it seems to promote harm to animals. (Not that I endorse it).

I appealed to their sense of logic and reason stating that, as a paying customer (around USD$150 per year (FLICKR, Mail Plus, Yahoo! Small Business) – which is around $180 Australian dollars), that I had never posted content that promotes harm to humans or animals,

I am furious that Yahoo! assumes I posted content that broke their ambiguous and gray Terms of Service. Does Yahoo! deliberately set out to ruin their business or is it an out-of-touch gun-ho manager power-tripping? Even though I have paid in advance for another month of hosting, they refuse to either refund my money or create dialog with me resolve the issue satisfactorily. Most of the on-line accounts I have such as banking, YouTube and others have as a contact email address my now deleted Yahoo! account. They have the subtlety of a sledgehammer in the teeth.

And they were nominated for a Webby Award. Sheesh!

Consumerist, please have a look at my story, check the links in the story and enjoy your day!

A disgruntled ex-Yahoo! user

Andrew

We guess this is a warning to all users of Yahoo! Answers. It might be a good idea to have an alternate account for use in that section of the website. If what Andrew says is true, there seems to be no acceptable, customer-friendly way to appeal a “suspension,” and really no reason for said suspension to effect separate services a customer has paid (in full) for. We’ve asked Yahoo! for clarification of their policy and await their reply. —MEGHANN MARCO

Comments

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  1. SquareBubbles says:

    That is harsh.

    While I’m about to spew some advice on the guy, I think I may need to heed it also (though I am a Google-man). Always, always have two separate e-mail accounts and split your services between them. That way, if Yahoo! or Google ever decide to “suspend” your account, you only lose half of your services and can get them transferred a tad bit more easily.

    I feel for ya Andrew, especially because of flickr. If anything happened to my (Pro) flickr account, I’d die.

    P.S. Consumerist, in both cases, “effect” should be “affect.”

  2. lincolnparadox says:


    Well, Andrew, I might have suggested that you write a pointed letter to yahoo, cc’d to the FTC and the BBB.

    However, suggesting that yahoo is pro-animal cruelty because one of their users posted a Korean duck-hunting video is a bit inflammatory.

    Posting it on a very popular consumers website, using way too much personal info, is enough to keep you suspended.

    I do feel some pity for you. You spent some cash. You followed your dreams. You gave some answers to some bunny killers and pissed off the bunny huggers. Then, you got suspended.

    A letter carbon copied to the right people would typically open some doors. If that doesn’t work, there’s always small claims court. Just enough of a pain in the ass to get you either satisfaction, or a refund (plus court costs).

    But, the important thing is to stay professional and focused on your issue. Do drag anyone else into it, and try to refrain from insinuating a pogrom of duck genocide, directed by Mr. Semel, Yang or Filo (even though it might be true). Staying professional is the only way to get any real, satisfying resolution.

  3. OnceWasCool says:

    Andrew, You should have just said you were “Helping that sheep across that fence”! :)

  4. BillyShears says:

    While this is ugly from every angle, it underscores the importance of always using your actual ISP address for truly important things like, say, domain contact information.

  5. donnie5 says:

    Funny, I asked Yahoo! to remove a person from a Fantasy sports league for using the *n* word and insulting people’s sexual preference, and they did not even send a warning…Immus was fired for saying less. But you talk about harming an animal and they act quickly. Maybe Yahoo! and PETA are pals….

    • @donnie5: And yet, on ESPN I cannot create a team name that has “ass” in the title in any way – including “Boston Molasses Flood” and “Boston Massacre.” Has technology not evolved beyond this in the last 10 years?

  6. simian-fever says:

    I’ve received warnings from Yahoo! on things I wouldn’t think are necessarily inflammatory. I once described how good Rao’s Marinara Sauce was in a comment section much like this by stating that you could go out for an italian dinner, absolutely hate it, come home and poop it out, pour Rao’s over said poop and enjoy it this time. A lil gross? mayhaps, but inflammatory and a violation of TOS? Nah.

    Anyway, I assumed one would have to get several warnings before being suspended unless you were going around using “nappy-headed” and “ho” in the same sentence.

  7. NeoteriX says:

    Good riddance to Yahoo Answers.

    I remember when it started up and it seemed like a interesting idea until I checked it out. I was horrified at the amount of “answers” that had completely erroneous information. I was also dismayed at the election system used for the “Best Answer” often left answers with good, accurate information overlooked. Worse, because of the popularity at the site, many of my searches for info in google will turn up “Ask Yahoo” pages with again, their sorry mistakes for answers.

    Bah.

  8. That’s what you get for suggesting people celebrate Easter by crucifying bunnies :-p

  9. Indecision says:

    @BillyShears: Unfortunately, using your ISP’s email is no guarantee either. I remember when Comcast and AT&T @home merged, they eventually dropped the AT&T mail servers. So, if you were juser@home.com, and there was already a juser@comcast.com, you were now known as juser1@comcast.com.

    Not to mention that, if you change ISPs, you need to remember to change *everything* that uses your ISP email, and you need to do it *after* signing up the new service but *before* canceling the old, since you’ll need access to both accounts at once.

  10. rickspeaks says:

    For the sake of this website….I hope his comment wasn’t about the beloved cat….

  11. MerryOtter says:

    I agree with the recommendations lincolnparadox makes. But the story illustrates one of the dangers of keeping all your eggs in one basket.

    I’m also concerned that all of this happened without any fore-warning. By all means, block them from Yahoo Answers, but it does seem inappropriate to disable the entire account and all related paid services without any recourse.

  12. muddgirl says:

    During the whole “Flickr + yahoo = crap” debacle, I was told by a flickr representative that Flickr and yahoo accounts were “linked”, but that if someone’s yahoo account was suspended, their flickr account could still be used.

    Apparantly, that’s not the case. Flickr users, make sure you back up all your flickr photos in a safe location, like your hard drive.

  13. QuirkyRachel says:

    Yahell has been known to be really sensitive about deleting things like individual accounts and groups if there’s an ounce of ‘indecency.’ But still, this does seem rather much. I mean, couldn’t’ they send him an initial warning first? (“Your post here violated our terms and has been deleted. In the future, please pay attention to our rules…”)

  14. Yogambo says:

    Actually from a personal perspective the worst part is that tie-in. As a recently lapsed “Pro” account from Flickr I wondered, as did many, what would the downsides of a Yahoo buy-out be (besides eventually forcing us to get a Yahoo email). Now we see. I was thinking about re-upping for Pro service just this last week. I’ve never had any real negative experiences with Yahoo but I don’t like monolithic organizations with opaque TOS’s. It reminds me of the early days of eBay, where questions were only relayed via email and the who’s, how’s and why’s were only learned via experience. It’s a disturbing reality, truly. I certainly think forums should have limits but those limits should be clear and well known and the ramifications for exceeding them should be transparent, as should the process for reaching resolution or member dismissal (suspension). This type of punitive response has no place in any customer-oriented, customer-friendly organization (i.e. ones that deserve our business). I guess Yahoo just wanted to take this opportunity to remind us that’s just the type of organization it isn’t.

  15. Wow. I got my Answers (but not Flickr) account canceled when I asked how to make convincing fake poop.

    I was a little addicted to Answers by then… but I eventually got another account canceled by (facetiously!) asking for good baby recipes.

  16. vanilla-fro says:

    Chances that Andrew said what they think he said…pretty good.
    Chances they went about this incorrectly…even better.

    He most likely said something that they thought was all for abusing animals, but there should be a warning. I also think canceling all of his accounts was way out of line. Just kick him off answers.

    In the event that he never wrote anything that they think he wrote, isn’t there some way for them to show what it was so that he can dispute it or so they can show they are right to kick him off?

  17. mathew says:

    @Jonathan Harford: I don’t get it. What’s so inexcusable about making fake poop? Surely it’s more excusable than real poop, and even Yahoo execs must poop from time to time… Or does Jerry Yang have a big cork up his ass?

  18. Yogambo says:

    I had a similar wierd run in with Google Adsense. They send me a note that a news aggregating site I run had content that violated their TOS. Problem was: 1) these were all legitimate news stories from major news outlets listed here. 2) link they provided was to a category header listing over 200 stories. Which one did they mean? I sent them a note to find out. They didn’t reply. I’ve sent 10 notes since, still no reply. So they accuse, don’t provide the evidence and then burrow back into their hole. Monolithic, obtuse, opaque and definately not customer friendly. How organizations function like this, I’ll never understand. They have the money to have a staff. Why can’t they create a structure — a system — that will benefit those that help grease their corporate gears? We aren’t all out to get them. Why are they hiding?

  19. Trai_Dep says:

    Here’s the thing. If “misbehaving” on Y! Answers gets you cut from webhosting, messenger, Flickr, email, 360, Auctions, Personals, Classifieds, or any of the 100 services under the Yahoo umbrella, then does “misbehaving” under any of the others nuke you as well?

    I’d bet that’s a Hell Yes.

    That’s pretty spooky, especially considering how opaque Yahoo is when trying to contact them in a dialog to clear things up.

    I remember losing a yahoo email acc’t ages ago for unknown reasons. Gave up figuring why after realizing it was taking me longer to find someone to talk to at Yahoo to clear it up than it did to create a new email address.

    That’s why Yahoo is only good for throw-away services to me. And give them money? Are you insane?! Expect every day with Yahoo to be your last, plan accordingly and you’ll do fine.

    Seems like a bad way to run a business, though. No wonder their stock price is down. And everyone else is eating their lunch.

  20. acambras says:

    @mathew:

    Like the book says, everybody poops.

    Now about Yahoo Answers — it looked kinda cool when I first saw it, but then I gave up on it because it didn’t look like there were any controls on content. For example, I had a legit question about U.S. immigration law, so I typed that into the search field. I ended up wading through a lot of bigoted, ignorant, rhetorical questions, like “Why can’t we just shoot the wetbacks instead of letting them suck up all our hard-earned tax money?”

    So after that happened, I gave up on Yahoo Answers — too much stupid crap and not enough useful information.

  21. SpyMaster says:

    Ummmmmmmm…what else would you expect from Yahoo?

  22. emax4 says:

    I’m an “answerer” on Yahoo! Q&A, but I think after this story I’m reluctant to go back there again.

    For those looking for legitimate answers on Yahoo!, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Keep in mind that this is a Q&A system where the questions can be asked by anyone as well as answered by anyone. Anyone can give false information, which is somewhat true of Wikipedia as well.

    I know what it’s like to try to get a hold of them though. Ironically I typed “Yahoo telephone” on their search field and got a few pages, one at the bottom being their normal answer. The number shown was 866-562-7219.

  23. shdwsclan says:

    I dont know if 866-562-7219 is the actual number, you can try, but I have something better.

    Here, if you do a whois on the domain yahoo.com you will get all a lot of information that will help you. Now, these are local california number, so you may be calling the ceo in his office, or an IT Admin, but I’m sure that these numbers are very high up, if they do work and are valid.

    Here is the unformatted printout from the whois request, and good luck:

    04/12/07 16:56:16 IP block 69.147.114.210
    Trying 69.147.114.210 at ARIN
    Trying 69.147.114 at ARIN

    OrgName: Yahoo
    OrgID: YHOO
    Address: 701 First Ave
    City: Sunnyvale
    StateProv: CA
    PostalCode: 94089
    Country: US

    NetRange: 69.147.64.0 – 69.147.127.255
    CIDR: 69.147.64.0/18
    NetName: A-YAHOO-US5
    NetHandle: NET-69-147-64-0-1
    Parent: NET-69-0-0-0-0
    NetType: Direct Allocation
    NameServer: NS1.YAHOO.COM
    NameServer: NS2.YAHOO.COM
    NameServer: NS3.YAHOO.COM
    NameServer: NS4.YAHOO.COM
    NameServer: NS5.YAHOO.COM
    Comment:
    RegDate: 2006-06-26
    Updated: 2006-09-22

    RAbuseHandle: NETWO857-ARIN
    RAbuseName: Network Abuse
    RAbusePhone: +1-408-349-3300
    RAbuseEmail: network-abuse@cc.yahoo-inc.com

    RTechHandle: NA258-ARIN
    RTechName: Netblock Admin
    RTechPhone: +1-408-349-3300
    RTechEmail: netblockadmin@yahoo-inc.com

    OrgAbuseHandle: NETWO857-ARIN
    OrgAbuseName: Network Abuse
    OrgAbusePhone: +1-408-349-3300
    OrgAbuseEmail: network-abuse@cc.yahoo-inc.com

    OrgTechHandle: NA258-ARIN
    OrgTechName: Netblock Admin
    OrgTechPhone: +1-408-349-3300
    OrgTechEmail: netblockadmin@yahoo-inc.com

    # ARIN WHOIS database, last updated 2007-04-11 19:10
    # Enter ? for additional hints on searching ARIN’s WHOIS database.

  24. karimagon says:

    Ha, and then there’s also the fact that Yahoo doesn’t let me view some people’s profiles because of “adult content.”

    I’m over 18, I swear! However, thanks to their poorly organized system, there’s no possible way to fix this. It won’t even let you view what they think your birthdate is.

    And yes, Yahoo Answers is ridiculous. I always hear about the questionable reliability of Wikipedia’s un-refereed content, but Yahoo Answers is far worse for that.

  25. Baz L says:

    I don’t even know where to begin. At least when Google cancels and adsense account, it’s just that and not everything else?

    Are the Yahoo Answers TOS linked to all the others??? No. It makes absolutely no sense. That’s what happens when you have automated systems.

  26. Trai_Dep says:

    Let’s not focus TOO much on the Y! Answers. Eviction from ANY Y! service means banishment from ALL Y! services (even if you’re foolish enough to have given Yahoo your money). Whoa, that’s dumb.

  27. lonelymaytagguy says:

    They’re a publicly traded stock, so you can find lots of information on any financial site. I got the following from http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=YHOO


    Yahoo! Inc.
    701 First Avenue
    Sunnyvale, CA 94089
    United States – Map
    Phone: 408-349-3300

    Fax: 408-349-3301
    Web Site: http://www.yahoo.com

    KEY EXECUTIVES

    Mr. Terry S. Semel , 63
    Chairman of Board and Chief Exec. Officer $ 600.00K

    Ms. Susan Decker , 44
    Chief Financial Officer, Exec. VP of Fin. & Admin. and Head of Marketing Products Division-Advertiser & Publisher Group $ 1.50M

    Mr. Farzad Nazem , 45
    Chief Technology Officer and Exec. VP of Engineering and Site Operations $ 1.25M

    Mr. Michael Callahan , 38
    Sr. VP, Sec. and Gen. Counsel $ 525.00K

    Mr. David Filo , 40
    Co-Founder and Chief Yahoo! N/A N/A

  28. formergr says:

    Dear god, in the Example 3 link posted in the letter above, a guy’s Yahoo email account (containing important emails he needs for a legal matter)was shut down because he posted an answer about “hacking a system”. Yes, hacking computer networks is illegal. But wait, he was actually posting about hacking a Laser Tag system! You know, Laser Tag, that game where you strap on sensors and shoot at each other with laser guns?

    Yeah, don’t tell anyone how to play with a piece of electronic hardware they actually own, because Yahoo will shut your ass down. Sounds to me like some moron working there doesn’t understand the difference between hacking a network and “hacking” something you own. Jeez.

    Meghann and Ben– please do your magic and pursue Yahoo for an answer on this; their response will determine whether or not I cancel my Flickr pro account with them.

  29. gregoryagogo says:

    I had my gregoryagogo@yahoo account since 1999. Over the years I had added quite a number of photos to my yahoo photos account, and quite a number of web pages at geocities. It wasn’t until late last year that I found Yahoo Answers. I became quite active (level 5) in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered subject category.

    Yahoo can’t tell me what part of the Yahoo! Terms of Service I violated and they only tell me to read it. Finally, after reading the Terms of Service for geocities, I realized that I had been breaking a rule for quite a while, and didn’t know it. Evidently you aren’t supposed to post links to your geocities page from Yahoo Answers or any other message board. OK, Fine, then why can’t they tell me about my indiscretion so I can make necessary changes? I asked them and they said “After re evaluating your case, Mr. May, we have decided not to reinstate your account”… For the life of me I can’t imagine anything I did that is worth deleting an 8 year account! I made a mistake, and told them I am willing to correct it. What’s the matter? They coldly stand by the Yahoo! Terms Of Service.

    What attracted Yahoo! to my account was some activity in Yahoo! Answers LGBT Category. I would answer someones question, then in the sources box, I put a link to one of my sound files as an added fun thing that I do. It was to a vintage radio commercial for Ipana Toothpaste. They automatically thought it as spam, then noticed it was to my geocities web page.

    I explained to them that technically it wasn’t spam, since it wasn’t a product that does not exists today, and it was my “humor”. They still will not listen to me and again coldly say “If you continue to use Yahoo! Products, then read the Terms Of Service”.

    So why is Yahoo! not flexible to someone who has made an honest mistake, and is willing to correct it? Could it be because I am Gay? Is Yahoo! discriminatory against gays? Are the “Hamsters” that run Yahoo! biased against gays, and are more ready to delete Gays accounts when they make little indiscretions and break the Yahoo! Terms of Service? Why is Yahoo so quickly willing to delete and get rid of a customer of 8 years? I’m begining to think that Yahoo! leans towards being anti-gay. What do you think?

    A bit of advise: If you use more than one Yahoo! Service then have several accounts. Don’t use the same account for Yahoo! Answers that you use for Yahoo! Photos. I lost 8 years worth of uploading personal photos. In general, Yahoo! Answers attracts negitivity to you. If you are going to do Yahoo Answers, I reccomend creating one account especially for that only. The moral of my story: Don’t Put all your Eggs in One Basket. Or in this case one Yahoo! Basket!

    This is from my Yahoo 360 Blog… What am I suposed to think when Yahoo is so evasive?… I’m not a bad guy… and I’m a paying customer! So what gives?

  30. vhunterd says:

    I have my own bad stories about Yahoo Answers. While my account has not been suspended, I have received tons of violations from other members of which I was able to prove they were not against community guidelines, most of the time my responses were ignored. I leave my latest struggle down below

    http://messages.answers.yahoo.com/answers/threadview?m=tm&

    Funny enough Yahoo did not even care to look at its own community guidelines before posting an answer. Look at my subject link, and view Don’t #1

    http://answers.yahoo.com/info/community_guidelines.php

    The moderator did not bother to even answer my question, which was clearly a request to speak with a Supervisor or someone in charge

    “Otherwise violate the question and answer format”

    Now I don’t know exactly how much space I have left on here, but view Yahoo Terms of Service #6 Section J
    http://info.yahoo.com/legal/us/yahoo/utos/utos-173.html

    J. interfere with or disrupt the Service
    or servers or networks connected to the
    Service, or disobey any requirements,
    procedures, policies or regulations of
    networks connected to the Service;

    I had request a service be performed
    which was to explain why my post was in
    violation of the community guidelines
    and explained why in the proper format
    stated by Katie, and they deleted my request for a service (to have an appeal done, and to speak with a supervisor) which was also without notice. I’ve also been refused the request to speak with a supervisor 4 times now.

  31. yoink says:

    Ok, I didn’t read all the comments so don’t bite if I’m repeating. There were bits of advice about what services to use and how to split things between them etc., etc., etc.,

    Here’s my advice on email accounts:

    1. Register your own domain name. You can do it for less than $10 these days.

    2. Sign up for some really cheap hosting. You can find cheap domain hosting that will suffice for email for about $25/year.

    3. Get a Gmail account. Google will act as a mirror for your mail. You simply forward your own domain-based address to your Google mail account. You can even setup Google mail to send as that address at no cost.

    4 (optional) Use a POP mail client to download and send mail through the Google service and you have a local copy and a constant online backup for free!

    Eitheway, if Google steals your mail, shuts down, or “suspends” your account, you can still use your email address without worry. Forward the address somewhere else… create another Gmail account etc.

    And don’t forget #5. ENJOY.

  32. Bryan Price says:

    I’m a supposed moderator of a Yahoo Group, but it’s on the wrong email address, the owner appears to be defunct, and I have tried to contact support to see what can be done about it. No response.

    No response out of an action like that? What IS Yahoo doing?

  33. AcilletaM says:

    Never found Y! answers helpful.

    And Y! mail? That’s my email address for things where I’m not sure whether it’s going to get sold to spammers or not.

  34. mconfoy says:

    If he was in China, he would be in jail by now.

  35. tourpro says:

    I’m constantly disappointed by Yahoo!

    The only saving grace is the lack of connection between their “lame” services and del.icio.us

    I’m going to export my bookmarks just in case.

  36. Her Grace says:

    This makes me really sad. I’m a devoted yahoo im user (best interface of any im program, as far as I’m concerned) and have a yahoo email account I’ve used as my primary email for about 8 years. I guess I’m glad I never got into yahoo answers…

  37. Mr. Gunn says:

    Oh Yahoo. Shall I compare thee to a festering pile of garbage? Thou art too stinky and too foul. How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways:

    * Yahoo answers gets worse comments than youtube.
    * The yahoo email that I was forced to sign up for by flickr and have never ever used gets more spam than the address that has been on my usenet sig for 10 years.
    * Your search engine still sucks, and it ruins Opera Mobile.
    * Oh yeah, that turning over chinese dissidents to be tortured thing. Can’t forget about that one.
    * Every company you buy and mess with dies. Flickr and del.icio.us are going the way of geocities and blo.gs.
    * @yahoo.com = @aol.com I’d throw a resume with that on it in the trash, too.

  38. Trai_Dep says:

    Hey, Ben -

    Promise to keep up a “x days of no response from Yahoo” ticker if, say, a week passes with no response. We’ve seen their a tad irresponsive to paying, involved, formerly loyal customers. It’d be interesting to see if anyone can penetrate the impervious shield that Yahoo erects around themselves.

  39. nffcnnr says:

    @Jonathan Harford: Fake poop? That reminds me of a Dave Barry article from a few years ago as he watched an engineer try to make a better toilet. The engineer used fermented bean curd in a “secret recipe” to simulate #2′s, or as Barry called them, “Geraldos”. i found a copy of the article here.
    Since i read that article some years ago, “Geraldo”, “fermented bean curd” and “poo” are inextricably linked synaptically in my head. i can only hope that Mr. Barry’s words can provide the same service for others.

  40. Danltn says:

    If that really is the case, then I’m quite happy to lend you some of my current hosting, No ads, nothing like that. Not sure how much you get with Yahoo! but I’ll try and give you an acceptable amount. With FTP, PHP, Curl, SSH, etc, etc.

    If you would like my offer, then send me an email: – daniel.neville@gmail.com

  41. kinged says:

    Hi, this happened to me also late last year.
    I’ve been with them since 1996! I used to have paid hosting for my personal website with them for 3-4 years maybe. I was just joking around on the site & I may have pissed off some close minded liberals.
    I lost my email account, flikr account, yahoo Notes & yahoo Briefcase. I couldn’t even access my email to download the important stuff. I had several domains registered to my yahoo account..so it was a hassle to get that changed to a new email address.

    So, yes beware..don’t post your opinions on Yahoo. If they disagree with your opinions..the liberals will ban you.

  42. oldhat says:

    What can force a monolithic organization like Yahoo to notice it squashed a little ant for no good reason? Mass action, public shame.

    Yahoo has NOTHING that you can’t find somewhere else. Competition is fierce. Nothing is stopping any of you from banning Yahoo.

    But yet, we all let this shit happen, thinking it won’t happen to us, and so they get away with it. There is no accountability because nobody holds them accountable. We simply can’t be bothered.

    I dropped Yahoo and MSN/Hotmail for Google and my own hosting companies…because of stuff like this Spend the time to try other services, stop feeding the trolls.

  43. brundlefly76 says:

    I cant believe you posted this entire article without fact-checking his original posted text.

    He doesn’t even offer it.

    Obviously there is more to this story then he wants us to know. CHECK YOUR FACTS CONSUMERIST.

  44. lorenjfisher says:

    Andrew,

    You CAN move your domain name to another domain name registration service provider. Log into your control panel for your domain name through Yahoo! small business domain management and change your administrative contact email address to a valid email address.

    Don’t remember your login information? Contact Yahoo! and ask them to update your administrative contact email address. They will ask you for your security “secret question”. Answer this correctly and they have to update it for you.

    Don’t remember the answer to your secret question? You can still request them to mail you your username and password to the mailing address that you provided to them on signup.

    No longer live there? Request the offline form to update your contact information. You will need to provide proof of your identity, likely involving a photocopy of government issue photo ID. They will probably also slap you with a service charge for this option.

  45. tomi_poutanen says:

    Hello –

    I am the product manager responsible for Yahoo Answers and hope to have an opportunity to respond to this thread.

    -tomi

  46. Anonymous_FSC_CSA says:

    In regard to Andrew’s situation as well as many other’s I’m sure… I work for Verizon in one of their FiOS Fiber Solution Centers. At least a few times a week I am contacted in regard to an option that allows Verizon FiOS customers to choose to get MSN Premium svc’s -OR- you guessed it! Yahoo! Portal services.

    Of course I can not speak on behalf of Verizon when I say this, but I think I’ll recommend users in any direction other than Yahoo from today forward. Yahoo! seems to treat our customer’s “not so friendly” by constantly missing committment deadlines to have “portal partnered” accounts (specifically email) in regard to repair issues. After reading this I’ve decided I’m sick of having to take the bullet for lacking customer service when I work for a company that treats me very well and we honestly do care about our customer’s internet troubles. And I feel Yahoo just doesn’t step up to the plate when it comes to customer service. I at first thought it was just because these were not their direct accounts. But not warning a customer of a violation (if such existed) tells me I was wrong to have thought that. Clearly Yahoo! likes to bite the hands that feed them (I mean their direct customers, not Verizon when I say this.)

    I obviously can not agree with Yahoo! or Andrew in this case because who knows whats going on in that “gray” matter. But I did want to voice the above in regard to Yahoo!

    - Anonymous

  47. sapireli says:

    Next time you Google.

  48. flwong says:

    hi all,

    i have a same disaster as andrew, my yahoo mail ac was deactivated without any reason i think, i cant log in with my id and password. after trying to retrieve my password, message came off as this account has been deactivated?? What a bad disaster i came across.

    Have log in to contact them, no news yet, dont will take how long before i can get the final answer from them. have send in many mails now.

    Is been a nightmare for me now, i have lost all my contact, important info, messages, i am like a lost man now, what a day. As for the yahoo Answer, i have been to level 2, and have awarded many times for the best answer!! Still my yahoo account was suspended atleast for this moment before the actual answer to me. Hopefully it is not that “””Suspended”””

  49. ruggedtoast says:

    Exactly the same thing happened to me. Went to logon, nothing, no record of my password, eventually found my account with 5 years worth of emails, my yahoo 360 account with my blog and all my answers account with 100s of answers totally deleted and any reference that I ever existed on Yahoo completely obliterated.

    They gave me no warning at all and I have never had a reason given except that my account is ‘not eligible for reinstatement’. I have no idea why they did this or what I was meant to have posted that could have caused it. I literally dont know and they wont tell me.

    Yahoo seem to want to drive people away, if you look on the violation forum there are more people springing up every day whove had their accounts deleted and have no idea why except that some over zealous autocrat in Yahoo has decided to erase them.

    I wouldnt touch Yahoo with a pole now and Ill make sure anyone with a Yahoo address knows about what theyre doing.

  50. logisticslord says:

    Yep. Yahoo! decided to delete the account that is the contact for valuable college stuff and other school work. They told me I “offered another user a STD”. That is craziness. My question was “If someone had AIDS, would you ever consider being intimate with them? Even if you knew them for years and were really close?” I was simply curious. That does not merit banning an email account and I did not “offer” anyone a disease. There response was the same “No!” as other users have posted. I did nothing wrong on my email or other Yahoo! services, I merely got someone who didn’t like my question decide I shouldn’t be allowed to email because of my simple question. No warnings were given either. Thanks for letting me rant.
    Google found themselves a new #1 fan!

  51. Imatwirp says:

    I had a Yahoo Answers account too…
    I realized that Yahoo is like a dictatorship.. If you pay them a load of money a year, they let you slip on a few things… and all of the people that have the free accounts, they are not afraid to delete it just for fun…

    I had recieved four or five violations in the Religion and Spirituality section expressing my views… A couple of christians going around report me, and then I get the violation… I did not dis anyones religion or anything… I just stated my own opinions…

    Later I recieved a violation for something that I said, In fact I kinda agree with why they suspended my account…

    There was a lady that posted a question about tightening the Vaginal walls… And yahoo isnt a doctoral site.. So I posted this…
    “Stab it vigorously for about an hour with a knife, and if that doesnt work, get off Yahoo, and see a gynecologist…”

    Of course I was a bit sarcastic, but It was a stupid question in my views… People post questions like, “My mom died, and I put her in the closet, should I call 911?” or “I cant breath, what should I do?”
    And in my opinion, I think that smart-A questions deserve Smart-A answers…

    So I see why they deleted me, but my problem was that everytime I asked them why I got a violation, I never got an email or response…
    Yahoo is like communism, if you have friends in high places, you are fine, otherwise, one slip up will get you out…

    I had my myspace account, among about ten-twenty other websites that I subscribe to and now I dont know what they all are, I lost all the password verification letters, and I no longer have any of my important emails, I had an addressbook full, and I used to send stuff to myself, If I thought it was something I wanted to remember, so I could check it later… And now all of about 4 yrs work is gone… I asked them nicely, that even if they did delete my account, that there was probably a reason, but if at all possibility could I have any of the information that was in the account…
    no reply whatsoever…

    So I made a new one, and now I also have two other accounts, and I made sure not to put an alternative email, or any affiliations, that way if they decide to cut me off again, they dont have but one that they can ruin…
    I too had reached level 3, I had a few thousand points saved up, and I thought nothing could be worse, but it happened…

  52. gregoryagogo says:

    I had my yahoo account for 8 years. Over the years I had added quite a number of photos to my yahoo photos account, and quite a number of web pages at geocities. It wasn’t until late last year that I found Yahoo Answers. I became quite active (level 5) in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered subject category.

    Yahoo is mysterious and can’t tell me what part of the Yahoo! Terms of Service I violated and they only tell me to read it. Finally, after reading the Terms of Service for geocities, I realized that I had been breaking a rule for quite a while, and didn’t know it. Why can’t they tell me about my indiscretion so I can make necessary changes? For the life of me I can’t imagine anything I did that is worth deleting an 8 year account! I made a mistake, and told them I am willing to correct it. What’s the matter? They coldly stand by the Yahoo! Terms Of Service.

    I believe what attracted Yahoo! to my account was some activity in Yahoo! Answers LGBT Category. I would answer someones question, then in the sources box, I put a link to one of my sound files as an added fun thing that I do. It was to a vintage radio commercial for Ipana Toothpaste. They automatically thought it as spam, then noticed it was to my geocities web page.

    I explained to them that technically it wasn’t spam, since it wasn’t a product that does not exists today, and it was my “humor”. They still will not listen to me and again coldly say “If you continue to use Yahoo! Products, then read the Terms Of Service”.

    So why is Yahoo! not flexible to someone who has made an honest mistake? Why is Yahoo so quickly willing to delete and get rid of a customer of 8 years? I’m begining to think that Yahoo!

    Some advise: If you use more than one Yahoo! Service then have several accounts. Don’t use the same account for Yahoo! Answers that you use for Yahoo! Photos. I lost 8 years worth of uploading personal photos. In general, Yahoo! Answers attracts negitivity to you. If you are going to do Yahoo Answers, I reccomend creating one account especially for that only. The moral of my story: Don’t Put all your Eggs in One Basket. Or in this case one Yahoo! Basket!

    What am I suposed to think when Yahoo is so evasive?… I’m not a bad guy… and I’m a paying customer! So what gives?

  53. eagleflyer says:

    Om resonse to this thread, may I add that I was a Level 7 with over 33,000 points on Y!A when they quote-unquote supsended my account. No reason other than the vague TOS violation given. I felt my intellectual property was ripped off. Ironically, my answers are still there for Yahoo’s use, but I can’t access them through my non-existent account anymore. Something ought to be done to teach these cowards a lesson. I hope their stock tanks big time.

  54. gregoryagogo says:

    Yahoo acts like it is the “moral authority”. It’s “system” gives their “farmed-out-low-paying-jobs” free rein of Yahoo!’s TOS when they most likely don’t even know English that well. But, as Yahoo! will be the first to tell you, you “signed your life away” when you “agreed” to their very vague TOS! There’s way to many glitches in their “abuse” system that leaves good, normal people, their customers being mistreated.

  55. zog_dot_66 says:

    I’m not even a part of “Yahoo Answers” and they deleted my account on 10/1/2007. I had the account for over NINE (9) YEARS. I was not given any notice whatsoever. I found out by being blocked at the login screen. I immediately tried to regain control of the account by requesting a password reset via my alternate email address, and I reached a page that said my account was scheduled to be deleted. I contested the “deletion process” via email, which i DO NOT recommend. I received emails from Agnes, Grace, Brooke, Emma, Cyrus, and Sherry. And of course: “Member Services.” And six days later, my account was re-opened, 10/7/2007. I quickly forwarded as many valuable emails as I could to my other address. By evening, I had about 900 emails left to root through. The next morning, 10/8/2007, I was still able to access the account and I was getting emails from Yahoo saying, “We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused,” and “Please fill out our survey to tell us how we handled the problem,” and “We are glad this problem has been resolved.” Then at about 3:05 PM, I received a very spooky email at the alternate address stating, “Account Termination” in the header. And in the body of the email, it read, “per your request” and “approximately 90 days.”

    I was ANGRY. I replied back asap stating I DID NOT MAKE ANY SUCH REQUEST, and to NOT DELETE MY ACCOUNT.

    So I got on the phone with Yahoo after work. Their customer service number is not 24 hours, but here is the number: 866-562-7219. I spoke to a guy named Andrew. He was able to get me back into my account, by about 7:00 PM – I was given a case number to reference the call and the call was ended. But by that time, the 900+ remaining emails in the account were GONE. GONE. I tried to call back, but the support office was closed.

    So I called the next day, 10/9/2007. I spoke to Joseph. Joseph actually got around to saying, “Based on the information you are telling me it sounds like somebody has broken into your account.” He asked, “Do you know anybody that has a grudge against you?” He also said my yahoo ID was so unique and “cool” looking that perhaps a hacker was paid by a person that coveted the ID. WHAT A JOKE. My user ID was literally constructed as two words like so: mikeOReric@yahoo – because word #1 was taken and word #2 was also taken at the time i created the ID – BACK IN 1998.

    Joseph posted his notes with the same case number and was going to transfer me to his supervisor, but he dropped the call because maybe he doesn’t know how to transfer calls. I called back and spoke to Katrina. I referenced my case number and I told her enough to get her up to speed and requested to be transferred to a supervisor again. She transferred me to Raymond. Raymond provided me with a new case number to reference him by. What I learned from Raymond was that “It is Yahoo’s policy not to delete any emails in any account.” So that my account was reactivated but all of the remaining 900 emails were deleted should’ve been extra spooky. I also learned that “Once emails are ‘deleted’ and subsequently ‘deleted from the trash’ (recycle bin), Yahoo is not able to retrieve them again.”

    Now, I had inadvertently signed up for Yahoo-Music-Unlimited back in August 2007, only because I had been with MusicMatch since 2000, and Yahoo bought MusicMatch. So I was “converted” over to Yahoo-Music and subsequently given a trial membership for Y-Music-Unlimited. I NEVER bothered to test it out. I forgot all about the service. (Sound like AOL to anybody?) So I was annoyed to see $71.88 charged to my bank account. Per the Music Unlimited TOS, fees are not refunded. However, since my account was no longer “secure” because Joseph and Raymond agreed that my account must have been “compromised” I decided I needed a refund for the amount of $71.88. Raymond had to transfer me over to Yahoo Billing. It was there that I spoke to Louise. I was given a new case number. Louise did not want to refund my money, so I spoke to her supervisor, Summer. I received another new case number. Summer put me on hold for a while and then set up the dialogue this way: “Are you planning on using your account ever again?” My answer was “No.” She replied with “Well, I must say that the service is ‘not refundable’….” To which I screamed into the phone: “THEN WHY THE HELL DID YOU ASK ME IF I WAS GOING TO USE MY ACCOUNT EVER AGAIN??? Where are you going with this?”

    In the end, Summer did say that I would be receiving a refund for the full amount in 3 to 5 business days. Whether or not that actually happens, I’ll have to wait and see.

    After reading what I have read on Consumerist.com, I do not believe that my account was broken into my some enemy of mine, or some friend-turned-enemy, or stranger. Either somebody at Yahoo spilled coffee on the wrong server or something like that, or somebody at Yahoo decided I breached the TOS in some “way” they can’t talk about, and wanted to go to great lengths to delete my account and cover up the fact that the account was deleted internally, by Yahoo themselves. I can’t prove it, but on the other hand, they can’t prove to me that I was hacked unless they can tell me who the hacker is.

    A real email solution is to buy a cheap domain name you don’t care about, and an annual hosting service, and set up “Outlook” or something like that. At least if your hosting service goes down, you still have your stuff on your computer. “Free,” web-based email isn’t trustworthy.