Yahoo Becomes Printer UNfriendly
April 24, 2002 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Yahoo Becomes Printer UNfriendly "The text-only news on Yahoo! News has been discontinued. Please use the main Yahoo! News site." What gives?
posted by Erendadus (23 comments total)

 
Screw Yahoo and their new spamming settings and their pop-up ads *and* their no-text-only news.

http://www.nandotimes.com/front/v-text/
posted by chuq at 10:30 AM on April 24, 2002


if they would just a simple stylesheet for printers, it wouldn't matter.
posted by o2b at 10:36 AM on April 24, 2002


well, i take that back. 'text-only' does not just mean 'printer-friendly.'
posted by o2b at 10:38 AM on April 24, 2002


The discontinued it because everybody was linking directly to those pages. Not as many ad views. Less revenue.

Wonder if this is a trend that will continue.

sigh.
posted by jgilliam at 10:43 AM on April 24, 2002


Every news article I clicked on still has a working "Printer friendly" link at the bottom of the story. Removes some ads and side menus just fine (keeps top ad).

I truly dunno what all the fuss is about. Yahoo is a business. They are trying to make money to remain a business. What's the problem? If you have better suggestions on how they can make money, let 'em know!
posted by docjohn at 10:51 AM on April 24, 2002


Like docjohn said, Yahoo needs to make money or they'll be gone. Would you rather pay directly for your news?
posted by timothompson at 10:55 AM on April 24, 2002


It's important because there are many people who cannot see the web. They need text readers to narrate it to them, and these text readers have a very hard time with the complex code needed to make pages lay out.

I have been working for some time on a text-only converter for the site I work on, and let me tell you, it is not easy.

Lastly, it's important because some people dont want to read ads. In fact, if jgilliam is right, MOST people dont want to look at ads. So, in the pursuit of cash, Yahoo just shut out all people with visual disabilities from their site.

Wonder if anyone has told the National Federation of the Blind
posted by Irontom at 11:01 AM on April 24, 2002


Advertisements are a powerful anti-motivator for me. Most of my decisions on which news sites to visit are based on the relative intrusiveness of ads. (I won't visit the LA Times, for example, because every single time I do they pop up one of those damned X-10 ads, and I generally avoid MSNBC as their articles are a tiny column of text surrounded by inches of ads.)

So, I am probably going to find myself avoiding Yahoo a bit more now.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:19 AM on April 24, 2002


Maybe they discontinued it because relatively few people were using it... Just a thought, though. (To be honest, I didn't know they had a text-only service until seeing this post.)

Also, if you really want Yahoo to be text only, just turn images off in your web browser. Yes, I'm aware, it's not the same thing. Still, if it matters so much...
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:32 AM on April 24, 2002


That's a rather curt message. I wonder if people might be a little less pissed if they actually offered some explanation ie: maybe Dark Messiah is right about people not using it.
Then again, using a stylesheet instead of a separate document to generate the page would mostly negate that kind of argument, so it's probably the adview idea that's right.
posted by Su at 12:01 PM on April 24, 2002


In related news, I recently coughed up $19.99 for yahoo's formerly-free popmail, after paying $24.99 earlier this year to go from 6 to 25MB. I have a cable modem and enough boxes and savvy that I could build a mailserver, but I got used to using that account over the years, and even if I were to switch, the same $19.99/covers forwarding as well.

Anyway, I made the payment yesterday and received confirmation. Then yahoo switched today and promptly discontinued access to my account and those of at least four or five of my co-workers regardless. The fact that I'm now a paying customer means they should be accountable. I have a feeling they don't agree.

Similarly, Vindigo is going to a pay-model. I think I'll sign up, actually. The end of free indeed.
posted by Sinner at 2:21 PM on April 24, 2002


It's important because there are many people who cannot see the web. They need text readers to narrate it to them, and these text readers have a very hard time with the complex code needed to make pages lay out.

True, and you are right that it is important, but on my site CSS2 is perfect for that very job: If people read the articles on-screen it is presented with graphics - if they use the printer or teletype or aural or braille it is presented without any fuss: Just the plain text.
posted by cx at 2:24 PM on April 24, 2002


Yahoo is a business. They are trying to make money to remain a business. What's the problem?

I think the problem is fairly obvious, they are no longer offering a service they once did. Purely as a business decision this might hurt them as people who want hard copies will switch over to another news source that offers a printer friendly version. Its not so simple as you make it out to be and the 'its a business' argument rarely holds water when you've got customers with pther choices out there.
posted by skallas at 2:29 PM on April 24, 2002


Lastly, it's important because some people dont want to read ads. In fact, if jgilliam is right, MOST people dont want to look at ads.

This is exactly why Yahoo stopped offering text-only pages. They don't pay the bills by giving you free news, they pay the bills by giving you free-news-plus-ads.

If people use text-only news as a way of getting an easy-to-print version of a story after reading the story-with-ads, it makes sense for Yahoo to offer it. If people use text-only news as a way to get the news without having to see the ads, it makes no sense for Yahoo to offer it. More page-views that don't bring in revenue is a bad thing for a web based business.
posted by jaek at 2:45 PM on April 24, 2002


irontom said
It's important because there are many people who cannot see the web. They need text readers to narrate it to them, and these text readers have a very hard time with the complex code needed to make pages lay out.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but TV stations are under no obligation to provide subtitles, nor are radio stations to provide video feeds or print versions. They can choose to or choose not to provide these and other services (SAP) - correct me if I'm wrong here, by the way. It saddens me that the web's halcyon days of free everything are at an end, but I don't feel the same sense of entitlement you seem to feel.
posted by Sinner at 3:08 PM on April 24, 2002


The difference as I see it, Sinner, is that it doesn't have to cost them anything significant to cater to those users. You'll see the normal ads - they'll get the braille version.
posted by cx at 3:21 PM on April 24, 2002


These businesses may be under no obligation to provide services to the disabled (the legality of which, I am unclear), but they are certainly excluding a segment of their potential customers if they omit them.

Yahoo is running FreeBSD, and if ensuring that ads are seen by the majority of their audience is a primary concern, they could easily prevent direct linking to text versions (and automatic redirects to ad versions) using .htaccess and mod_rewrite. This means they don't HAVE to eliminate their text-only stories if the click-thru comes directly from the main Yahoo site.
posted by Danelope at 3:22 PM on April 24, 2002


Sinner, you are indeed wrong (so I will correct you). And so is the claim that a text-only page is the only accessible one. There are captioning and description requirements in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.; there are captioning requirements in Oz. Tables etc. are perfectly OK in Web accessibility if done correctly. Text-only news pages are merely much less bother for everyone.
posted by joeclark at 3:25 PM on April 24, 2002


the 'its a business' argument rarely holds water when you've got customers with pther choices out there

That argument does indeed hold water quite often in those circumstances, and in this instance Yahoo has chosen not to compete against those who offer text-only pages. Whatever its reasons, Yahoo obviously sees greater margins by not investing the resources to offer that service and to attract those customers.
posted by mischief at 4:30 PM on April 24, 2002


mischief, a couple points. First, nowhere did yahoo make a statment that they did this because of ad revenue. This is conjecure on the part of mefites. Its might be true. Personally, I think if its about ads they would also be a little smarter about the whole thing and deny access to people blocking ads. Also, someone already mentioned that a simple htaccess change would redirect them to the ad page by using mod_rewrite by checking the referrer.

Maybe the time and effort in maintaining two sets of news pages is the reason, ads or no ads.

The "its a business" argument used by docjohn assumes that this move is one to become profitable. Like I said this has yet to be established and may hurt them in the long wrong.
posted by skallas at 5:15 PM on April 24, 2002


I did not assume it was about ad revenue. BTAIM, companies do not make moves to become unprofitable.
posted by mischief at 5:53 PM on April 24, 2002


I'd say that companies never _intend_ make moves to become unprofitable, but many do make such moves in the belief that it will increase their profits. People may be excused for thinking that Yahoo is doing this to increase their profits as that company has been making many moves lately, i.e. putting ads everywhere, charging for previously free services, inserting extra click-through pages throughout their sites, etc., and this may seem like the most recent of these actions.

Whether Yahoo sees things from the users' point of view anymore or not is anyone's guess, but if they don't, if they are operating under the assumption that everyone will embrace such changes and start forking over for all of these changes, then I would question the profitability of these moves.
posted by Poagao at 8:24 PM on April 24, 2002


Once again, Yahoo! travels further up my Shit List.
posted by Down10 at 2:17 AM on April 28, 2002


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