Yahoo Groups Is Winding Down
October 16, 2019 4:18 PM   Subscribe

...and all content will be permanently removed. Users won't be able to upload new content to the site after October 21 and have until December 14 to archive their content, Yahoo said in an announcement.
posted by clawsoon (73 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
The announcement is titled Understand what's changing in Yahoo Groups. An understatement.
posted by readinghippo at 4:22 PM on October 16, 2019 [7 favorites]


RIP to an old obsolete service with no business plan. Speaking of which, I'm amazed Google Groups is still around. Last I looked that product was also in pretty rough shape.

If you need a modern mailing list provider consider Groups.IO. It's run by Mark Fletcher, formerly of Bloglines and eGroups (which became Yahoo Groups). It's more of a paid service than a free service but it's run well with love.
posted by Nelson at 4:23 PM on October 16, 2019 [14 favorites]


Wtf is the purpose of keeping the listserv function without basically anything else? Or should administrators assume that the email mailing lists will also be discontinued at some point in the future?
posted by muddgirl at 4:25 PM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


What did eGroups do to Yahoo that required such a long and intricately detailed death sentence?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 4:27 PM on October 16, 2019 [10 favorites]


I remember when they were Clubs. And at the time, there was nothing else on the internet.
posted by Melismata at 4:27 PM on October 16, 2019 [10 favorites]


Huh. I thought Yahoo Groups died soon after they banned all the porn groups.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:33 PM on October 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


Well, that's a lot of history down the drain. I wonder if Fletcher will add a final chapter to the ONElist File?
posted by Not A Thing at 4:35 PM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


I've been a member of the oddmusic group on Yahoo since 2008. It's been pretty slow for the last few years, maybe 3 or 4 posts a year, but I'll still miss it slightly.
posted by moonmilk at 4:42 PM on October 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


Griffin McElroy's eyelids spring open in the middle of the night, and staring at his ceiling in the darkness, he just whispers "The time is nigh..." before drifting back off to sleep.
posted by Caduceus at 4:45 PM on October 16, 2019 [8 favorites]


I'm not surprised Yahoo Groups is dying. I'm the administrator of a Yahoo email group for local homeschoolers. It sucks, but no one has been able to come up with a better communication method. An example of Yahoo's crappiness is the fact that I learned about this change just now, from this post. Yahoo hasn't sent out any kind of notification.
posted by Redstart at 4:46 PM on October 16, 2019 [24 favorites]


Well, now where am I supposed to argue with strangers in all-caps about vintage garden tractor parts? [throws greasy Snap-On hat on ground]
posted by CynicalKnight at 4:48 PM on October 16, 2019 [22 favorites]


"As of January 2009, Archive Team no longer considers Yahoo a dependable location for data. Yahoo! found the way to destroy the most massive amount of history in the shortest amount of time with absolutely no recourse."
posted by clawsoon at 4:56 PM on October 16, 2019 [11 favorites]


I administer a birding group that was on Yahoo Groups for many years. In recent years the service had degraded so much that I am convinced they were trying to get groups to leave on their own before they shut the service down. The biggest problem was delayed and undelivered messages. We moved to groups.io a year or two ago and have been happy with it. All posts get distributed immediately. They made it easy to import all of our archives from Yahoo.
posted by jkent at 4:56 PM on October 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


clawsoon has it right but it is also amazing that the slow death of any product run by Yahoo can move at this slow pace but then still just screw everybody with a quick death with no notice. I gave up on Yahoo back around the flickr acquisition and then sometime later they quietly canceled email forwarding so that I missed a bunch of important messages. Nobody should ever use anything from Yahoo. (Except Yahoo Japan is totally useful because it isn't run by Yahoo.) At least those two teachers' groups I am in will finally move off but instead of groups.io I am almost certain they will just make yet another fb group of the damned.
posted by Gotanda at 5:05 PM on October 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


I have 17 years of email on Yahoo. I hope they don't decide to shut that down with a one week warning.
posted by clawsoon at 5:10 PM on October 16, 2019 [12 favorites]


Well, shit, I manage a LOT of mailing lists on Yahoo. To be fair, most of them are moribund, but!

Damn it.
posted by suelac at 5:12 PM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


dammit. I belong to a group still actively using Yahoo groups. We've been talking about switching because people are having trouble signing up. But this is now precipitous.

Email listservs are really important for us. We also have a Facebook group, but a) not everyone has a Facebook account and b) our group is LGBTQ-related, and some of our members are refugees from countries where they face violence should they be outed. An anonymous email account on a list serv is the only way they can get announcements from us - and also send messages to other members.
posted by jb at 5:21 PM on October 16, 2019 [11 favorites]


I'm in a few Yahoo groups for users of obscure brand/pieces of equipment that are long out of manufacturer support but are supported by their communities, and they are crusty and dusty enough that I don't see them surviving, or being archived elsewhere, which is a real shame.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:31 PM on October 16, 2019 [5 favorites]


Yahoo Groups was what I used when I couldn't get Google Groups to let me do things because Google Groups actually cared about having reasonably respectable anti-spam controls. It was the half-assedness of Yahoo Groups that made it useful to me.

Fortunately, I no longer have those particular needs.

(To be clear, it wasn't to spam people, the 10 or so people who were on the receiving end of the email all enthusiastically wanted to receive it, it just involved some shady message bouncing that Google was not down for.)
posted by jacquilynne at 5:37 PM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


You mean I spent all that time converting my Google Wave content to Yahoo Groups for THIS?!! Just kidding, I didn't even know this was a thing. Sorry to hear that it is going to make people find another alternative.
posted by Chuffy at 5:37 PM on October 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


I might as well post this, for those of you who are interested in archiving stuff before it goes. I've already used it to save a few groups that were important to me.

http://www.personalgroupware.com/
posted by Palindromedary at 5:39 PM on October 16, 2019 [9 favorites]


I think it’s safe to say at this point that every Yahoo! product is on borrowed time at this point. I say this as someone who once liked Yahoo! so much that I still add the exclamation point.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:39 PM on October 16, 2019 [13 favorites]


It seems that this decision will have repercussions for [checks notes] the... UK’s telecomms infrastructure?

@erincandescent
Today it was announced that Yahoo! Groups is shutting down, and taking with it a piece of critical national infrastructure: the Oftel Yahoo Group which is used for managing UK phone number assignments.

Yes, really: See Ofcom's website
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0027/56646/simwood.pdf
[screenshot]
posted by chappell, ambrose at 5:53 PM on October 16, 2019 [40 favorites]


Seconding personalgroupware.com - I used it to help move a client's group off of Yahoo Groups and into a Drupal forum. The Personalgroupware software worked really well for us.

Besides things like Drupal, many cPanel-based hosting services still offer Mailman mailing lists.

My sympathy to everyone who has to wrestle with this at short notice - and ESPECIALLY to anyone who doesn't hear about it until their data is gone.
posted by kristi at 5:58 PM on October 16, 2019


Sounds like Groups.IO gets to tell Oftel when to stop writing zeroes.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:02 PM on October 16, 2019 [8 favorites]


I posted some really dumb stuff to Yahoo Groups and hope it vanishes, like USEnet archives, just to spare me the embarrassment of it surfacing.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:12 PM on October 16, 2019 [9 favorites]


So with Groups gone, what does Yahoo even do anymore? Pretty much just fantasy sports?
posted by ckape at 6:36 PM on October 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


Well, now where am I supposed to argue with strangers in all-caps about vintage garden tractor parts? [throws greasy Snap-On hat on ground]

I CAN HELP YOU
posted by compartment at 7:08 PM on October 16, 2019 [14 favorites]


So with Groups gone, what does Yahoo even do anymore? Pretty much just fantasy sports?

And e-mail! Don't forget e-mail!
posted by slater at 7:08 PM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


About a year ago, when Yahoo Groups went wonky/down for an extended period with barely a peep from Yahoo, most of the groups I had been a member of & still idly followed moved over to Groups.io. But quite a few - mostly ham / shortwave related groups full of cantankerous & resistant-to-change old men - stuck around, resisting even that bit of fairly obvious writing on the wall, and proudly proclaiming they'd never move to any newfangled forum or "groups.io" or anything.

A brave few have since moved over to Zuck's Walled Garden - which itself is rapidly becoming God's Waiting Room For The Terminally Miserable - but the majority have stuck it out on Yahoo. Wonder where they'll go now? Probably to a closed mailing list or reflector somewhere, to die quietly…
posted by Pinback at 7:12 PM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Wow, Yahoo has gotten weird. It seems to be a mix of aggregated content from Verizon sites ("Suzanne Somers, 73, told to 'show some class' after baring all in 'birthday suit' photo") and unclassifiable things like some kind of review of a video camera you stick in your ear.

> Whether you’re checking for ear infections, wax buildup, inflammation or just out of curiosity, the tiny camera can help! The best part? It’s on sale for just $29 with the clip-in coupon.
posted by smelendez at 7:19 PM on October 16, 2019 [5 favorites]


Well, this really, really sucks. I'm part of several mailing groups on Yahoo. The most active is the mailing list for my publishing house, a small company out of Canada. We've tried locating discussion to other pages but it never seems to stick.

We absolutely need to find a new groups page, though. I wonder what the admin is going to do.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 7:21 PM on October 16, 2019


The thing I've used Yahoo Groups most for in the past few years is joining the groups which are dedicated to old obsolete midi hardware. To be able to delve into 15+ years of messages (and files!) for reverse engineered midi specs for the BCR2000 has been wonderful when I got a couple recently.
posted by Catblack at 8:01 PM on October 16, 2019 [6 favorites]


Apparently groups.io has already taken a stance on the whole Breastfeeding + Nipples thing.
posted by XtinaS at 8:06 PM on October 16, 2019


About a year ago, when Yahoo Groups went wonky/down for an extended period with barely a peep from Yahoo, most of the groups I had been a member of & still idly followed moved over to Groups.io. But quite a few - mostly ham / shortwave related groups full of cantankerous & resistant-to-change old men .... Wonder where they'll go now?

1. Usenet (to discover you can’t go home again)
2. EEVblog subforums. They’re all there already.
3. LISTSERVs set up by ARRL (presuming it can still manage that in its moribund state)
4. Groups.IO or Mailchimp for the groups with enough support to fund it.

That there isn’t a truly free alternative is troubling, if predictable.

(Omission of FB is intentional.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:18 PM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Groups.IO … more of a paid service than a free service but it's run well with love.

They've no love for Yahoo expats. They just upped the cost of transferring a Yahoo group to Groups.io to $110/year.
posted by scruss at 8:46 PM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


Good riddance. Our flying club had a group for a long time and lost control of it when the previous person listed as administrator died. That left us with no way to administer the site, export data, etc. There was no way to contact anyone from Yahoo to help, the only response to any of the communications we sent to them was a reply letting us know that in order to change the administrator information we'd need a letter from the former administrator (see previous comments regarding his status in the world of the living) authorizing the change. We eventually abandoned it and opened our own domain and started self-hosting.

On the whole, it forced us into our own website, which was a benefit many times greater. But we lost about 5 years worth of history, photos of events, etc.
posted by Snowflake at 8:56 PM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Snowflake, if the dead admins estate still has an executor or representative that would have been the person who could have caused Yahoo to act. A spouse or child (if no spouse) might still be able to accomplish it.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:03 PM on October 16, 2019


Stay out of the clouds.
posted by amtho at 9:36 PM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yahoo Groups gone? What's next, Compuserve?!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:49 PM on October 16, 2019 [6 favorites]


2. EEVblog subforums. They’re all there already.
Ha! No, not these guys. Too many smart cookies that'll actually question them.

If it wasn't for that, they'd be right at home amongst the thinly-veiled racism, sexism, techbro-neoconservatism, and general 'old man invents cloud to rant at' vibe over there.

Likewise, they see the ARRL - and by extension, the RAC, RSGB, WIA, etc - as the devil who keeps selling them out. These are basically the guys who write the FCC/OFCOM/ACMA submissions you see buried amongst all the corporate copypasta bot submissions…
posted by Pinback at 10:38 PM on October 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


We started and still run, kinda, a paddle club on Yahoo Groups way back when. It's a little easier to organize trips and stuff than through Facebook.

Could I possible take an old laptop and set it up as my own server in my electronics closet? We have fantastic Fiber internet in my town.
posted by atchafalaya at 11:32 PM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


I used Yahoo! IM for several years with a correspondent. We LOVED the emoticons, and the fact that Yahoo! told us how to make them. We were sad to see the service go under. No one else has that quality of fun emoticons.
posted by Cranberry at 11:40 PM on October 16, 2019


I have 17 years of email on Yahoo.

Fastmail is cheap, very very reliable and has an excellent IMAP-based import tool.
posted by flabdablet at 12:26 AM on October 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


Also, anybody looking around for a new sharing platform should be aware that Keybase users are currently being offered free play money by the Stellar Foundation.

Stellar Lumens are a cryptocurrency whose blockchain integrity derives from federated Byzantine agreement rather than proof-of-work, so even if they do eventually trade at prices as ridiculous as those Bitcoin has achieved, they're not going to burn electricity at whole-nations scale as a consequence.
posted by flabdablet at 1:07 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


"Two graduate students, intrigued by a growing wealth of material on the Internet, built a huge fucking lobster trap, absorbed as much of human history and creativity as they could, and destroyed all of it." -- Jason Scott

As true now as it was 9 years ago
posted by tomp at 2:31 AM on October 17, 2019 [16 favorites]


flabdablet: Fastmail is cheap, very very reliable and has an excellent IMAP-based import tool.

I've heard good things about it, too. Part of the problem is the email address, which another provider can't replicate. My Yahoo email address is effectively my online identity.
posted by clawsoon at 5:17 AM on October 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


Ha! No, not these guys. Too many smart cookies that'll actually question them.

There are always the QRZ forums for the OM of culture.
posted by jquinby at 5:36 AM on October 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm involved in a small but still lightly active Yahoo group, which has been around since ~2001 and stayed there more out of inertia than anything else. And we've mostly transitioned to Facebook now (which, yeah), but there are a few Facebook refusers (at both ends of the age spectrum, Boomers/Silents and post-millennials) among us, so we've kept the Group in parallel. Mostly just as a mailing list, but the message archive has been helpful at times for institutional memory. ("Didn't we try that in 2005? How did it go then?")
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:16 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yahoo Groups are still widely used in French genealogy, and as I haven't seen that on any of the groups I subscribe to, I imagine no one knows, which given that the upload deadline is October 21 for Yahoo France, so one week earlier than the US, sucks mightily.
posted by snakeling at 6:56 AM on October 17, 2019


I found one of my best friends online in a shady group that distributed bootlegged copies of old Nickelodeon gameshows.

I'll miss Yahoo Groups, but I haven't been there in years.
posted by deezil at 7:10 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


Part of the problem is the email address, which another provider can't replicate. My Yahoo email address is effectively my online identity.

I had the same issue after I first jumped ship from Gmail. It's not insuperable.

I initially dealt with it after importing all my Gmail by setting up a filtering rule in my Gmail account that forwards all incoming mails to my Fastmail account and then trashes Gmail's copy. Having just now revived a long-defunct Yahoo account I see that Yahoo can't do that, but Fastmail has an IMAP-based periodic fetcher that achieves the same end albeit with up to five minutes delay per batch of mails fetched. I've just set this up for my Yahoo account, and after creating an app password for Fastmail's IMAP fetcher to use, it works.

The effect is to leave me reachable via Gmail as before, but also able to edit my profile on other online accounts that insist on using an email address as an ID so that they use my Fastmail address instead. I have yet to find one that doesn't allow this to be done in some fashion. And five years down the line, my human contacts have pretty much all shifted to reaching me via Fastmail; the only Gmail I still get is spam, and all that does is train my Fastmail account's spam filter to work better.

Religious use of KeePass to manage all my online credentials has made the whole process quite workable. There are still a few tens of accounts that turn up when I search for @gmail.com inside KeePass, but they're all either uselessly old or not terribly important. In any case, KeePass still has all my passwords for them, so I'm never going to need to rely on my Gmail address to achieve forgotten password retrieval, and can cut them over to my Fastmail address whenever I next use them.

Given Yahoo's miserable record at keeping its shit together, it seems to me that anybody for whom Yahoo Mail genuinely is a potential single point of catastrophic online identity failure would be safer with this kind of backup in place, and the earlier it's set up the better.

And much as I hate to come across like a shill, as a recent signup to Keybase it does seem to me that that service does a pretty solid job at provably tying one person's online identities on disparate platforms into each other if that's what's required, and it's pleasingly easy to use.
posted by flabdablet at 7:13 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


I found one of my best friends online in a shady group that distributed bootlegged copies of old Nickelodeon gameshows.

First sentence of a long lost William Gibson YA novel from the mid-eighties?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 7:13 AM on October 17, 2019 [19 favorites]


Can't believe this is the first I'm hearing of the change. For cripes sake Yahoo! you run, for the time being, a one to many email service. Think you could have whipped up a bot to send an email to all groups letting them know the service was going away while they could still coordinate with each other on a move?

There are still a few tens of accounts that turn up when I search for @gmail.com inside KeePass, but they're all either uselessly old or not terribly important. In any case, KeePass still has all my passwords for them, so I'm never going to need to rely on my Gmail address to achieve forgotten password retrieval, and can cut them over to my Fastmail address whenever I next use them.

While you are fairly well along in the transfer process anyone heading down this road should be aware that a not uncommon reaction to a password security breach is invalidate all current passwords and requiring a key sent to the registered email address. If an email service you are using goes away you'll have wanted to switch over any accounts you actually care about before than happens.
posted by Mitheral at 7:52 AM on October 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


I found one of my best friends online in a shady group that distributed bootlegged copies of old Nickelodeon gameshows.

First sentence of a long lost William Gibson YA novel from the mid-eighties?


I was thinking the first sentence of a parallel novel to Ready Player One.
posted by Night_owl at 8:10 AM on October 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


The sky above the port was the color of green slime, falling from a skewed bucket.
posted by jquinby at 9:09 AM on October 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


Shit! Just realized that I still have a moribund group for discussing the Uncle books by J P Martin. Thanks to the couple of hundred members there a publisher was able to crowdsource a reprint (though they were a bit too much about taking credit for finding the funders, calling our group "dead" and "neglected", chiz chiz.)
posted by scruss at 9:53 AM on October 17, 2019


First sentence of a long lost William Gibson YA novel from the mid-eighties?

15/10 would read
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 10:09 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


Not sure why you're still calling it Yahoo.
Its Verizon. What did you expect?
Fastmail is often recommended but its not nearly free.
Free is so over, even before the WeWork flameout.
Corporations aren't people. They're assholes.
Just like your new boss, same as the old boss.
(The 90s were a long time ago in long-term downward trend)
posted by Fupped Duck at 12:39 PM on October 17, 2019


I spent a lot of time on yahoo groups as a teenager, in 1999, with my dodgily assembled desktop in my own bedroom!!, holding two pillows to the sides of the tower so the modem noise didn't wake my parents up when I got disconnected at 1am and had to get back on the AOL dialup. The hemp bracelets and Star-Wars-branded pepsi cans just popped into being around me, typing this.
posted by nakedmolerats at 1:07 PM on October 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


Not sure why you're still calling it Yahoo.
Its Verizon. What did you expect?


Isn't it the creepily-named "Oath" now?
posted by clawsoon at 1:49 PM on October 17, 2019


Who runs the Kaycee group? Anything there worth archiving?
posted by Fukiyama at 2:13 PM on October 17, 2019


"Oath" was short-lived. It's "Verizon Media" now.
posted by Hamusutaa at 3:42 PM on October 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


Man I remember when I had set up a cron job on my Linode server to grab the Pirates stats from yahoo sports. That page stayed the same HTML for years. Rocks solid in April I'd start to see stats show up in a csv again. And now? talk about biting off too much to chew yahoo!
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:52 PM on October 17, 2019


I still bump into yahoo groups stuff when I google for kayak construction stuff. Like mentioned above, what will this demographic do now? Also, this is a sign of the serendipity of the old internet dying off some more. Walled gardens and all that.
posted by freethefeet at 4:08 AM on October 18, 2019


I'm only a member of one Yahoo! Group, one devoted to "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension"; and it's been around over 20 years. Good times, good times. It will be interesting to see what the rest of my Blue Blaze Irregulars decide to do with the group.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 10:12 AM on October 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


A few times this week, people I know mainly from Yahoo Groups have posted about the demise of Yahoo Groups on FB. It's strange to go back and look at those communities -- most of which have long since moved activity over to Ravelry or Facebook or other less moribund sites -- and see the ghosts that remain. A lot of them still have a couple of messages a month -- the software itself generating automated reminders of the birthdays of people who are theoretically still subscribers but who have gone 'web-only' and probably never log in.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:30 AM on October 18, 2019


Just joined up with Groups.io to follow one of my Yahoo groups there and I've got to admit the import feature is pretty slick. They didn't balk at my long, includes several punctuation marks, generated password. Subscribing/unsubscribing and changing back and forth from digest mode can be accomplished via email; no need to visit the web site. And it appears to be free regardless of group size if you are using it in pure text mode (IE: they only charge for file hosting). I'm impressed. And a little sad I didn't hear about them before this.
posted by Mitheral at 11:01 PM on October 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


Part of the problem is the email address, which another provider can't replicate. My Yahoo email address is effectively my online identity.

In addition to flabdablet's advice: If you do switch away from yahoo, and want to make it easier to migrate again if you have to, get your own domain name. Most email providers will happily host email for a domain that you own, which means that the email address itself becomes portable as long as you own the domain.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:49 AM on October 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Can Groups.io import the archive of a mailing list? I'm not seeing anything clearly on their website...
posted by suelac at 2:23 PM on October 19, 2019


Groups.io import instructions - It will import the archives, but: "Messages do not count against your storage allocation, but there is a limit (100,000) to how many messages the agent will transfer for you. If you need the agent to transfer more than that, you must pay for one year under the Premium plan ($110). Otherwise, the agent will transfer the most recent 100,000 messages and leave the remainder behind. "
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:51 AM on October 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Argh followup note that I missed: "[Note: Transfers effective February 13, 2019 or later will require payment of a 1 year subscription at the Premium or Enterprise level.]"

$110 to transfer a group to Groups.io.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:54 AM on October 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Groups.io has raised their prices to $20/month, $220/year for premium groups, which includes new transfers.

Oh, and "export from Yahoo" and "import to groups.io" are separate activities - export is relatively quick; import may take longer. But for an additional $200, your group can be on the priority shortlist.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:56 PM on October 29, 2019


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