11 November 2008

Why I'm boycotting Yahoo!

So yeah, some of you may have rec'd a bounced email from my old Yahoo! account announcing my move over to Gmail.

I didn't want to leave them. I liked the way the inbox was set up and I had used them for years. My first ever email address was on Yahoo!, and I used their March Madness features, travel features, and IM features frequently and Yahoo! maps obsessively. I was a loyal Yahooligan. But I felt forced to do it.

Yahoo! accepted significant (still researching how much, exactly) money from the Yes on 8 liars in the weeks leading up to the election, and not just banner ads (which, fair enough, are annoying but I have trained my eyes to ignore them) but pop-up ads that were simply obtrusive, obnoxious and obstreperous.

"So?" you may ask? What's the big deal? Yahoo! is strapped for cash, looking desperately for a buyout, and are a business, afterall, so it's their right to take money from whomever they can cage it, right?

Well, no. Not to my mind.

First, Yahoo (and I'm going to dispense with the exclamation point, it's tedious) has statements on their website that list what they value - inlcuding "...a personal responsibility to maintain our customers' loyalty and trust." I wonder, did no one there think that taking money from a dishonest campaign on one side of the most divisive issue on the ballot was going to affect customers' loyalty? Or erode the brand?

Further and even more helpfully they list on their website what they don't value. Interesting - things like "discrimination" and "a stick in the eye" and "closed doors" and "rear view mirror." Were I to list the things that Prop 8 does and stands for, well, I couldn't do much better.
Finally, their mission statement:
"Yahoo's mission is to connect people to their passions, their communities, and the world's knowledge. To ensure this, Yahoo offers a broad and deep array of products and services to create unique and differentiated user experiences and consumer insights by leveraging connections, data, and user participation."
Unique and differentiated user experiences? Assaulting everyone on a California ISP with a pop up ad telling us that we had to "protect marriage" by voting Yes on 8 is a unique and differentiated experience? Really? Because it seems "one size fits all" - something ELSE they say they don't value.

How can you trust - and do business with - a company that doesn't even follow its own values?

Finally, there is the fact that Yahoo was birthed in the nursey of innovation, tolerance and diversity: California. Richard Florida, in his research on "The Rise of the Creative Class," showed how innovation needs diversity and tolerance to flourish, and California's Silicon Valley is the ne plue ultra example of this. Diversity and tolerance are the things most intrinsically under attack by Prop 8, whose supporters pander to fear and seek to isolate gay and lesbian folks from other Californians.

For the geniuses at Yahoo! to accept advertising from a group heavily subsidized by out-of-state money (some of which you can see here and all of which you can see here) to make California less California-like and more like the theocratic, un-diverse, un-innovative other parts of the country goes against their own long term business interests. And it's just rude, you don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Even if you don't think it's enough that Yes on 8 eliminates existing rights - and think about that; in 2008 it's possible to eliminate rights from a class of people by simple majority vote! - and causes real human anguish to over 20,000 married Californians and untold others who were thinking of it, or for their children or other loved ones, for the sole purpose of preserving linguistic hegemony for a non-threatened majority; or if you don't think it's enough that by accepting funding from Yes on 8 to run obnoxious and dishonest pop-up ads supporting this revocation of rights that Yahoo made themselves collusive to it; then surely Yahoo's violation of their own corporate standards and vision is enough to boycott them?

Of course, reasonable people can disagree. But that's why I'm on Gmail.


KenAnselment said...

You may (or may not) find surprising the odd coincidence of how I discovered that you dropped your Yahoo! account. I sent you a link to Keith Olbermann's special comment Tuesday on Prop 8

You've probably already seen it, but if you haven't...

Bren in SoCal said...

Thanks man. Yeah, that was a pretty heartfelt, moving, spot on Special Comment. He's a national treasure.

FlickChick said...

I stand with you Brennan. This is a righteous commentary and I thank you for keeping me conscious and aware. Happy Birthday (that's how I discovered your move)!! I've been with gmail for years and I love it. Welcome.