When I worked at Yahoo a looong time ago (OK, it was only three years ago, but that's forever in Internet years), Yahoo had a Yodel. Technically, they still do. In fact, if you click the "." on the exclamation point on the logo in the top left corner of the Yahoo home page, you can hear it. Only now, it seems to be sung by a professional choir. It used to be a dude with a banjo. Yahoo used to be guys in jeans and sneakers, now it feels more like MBAs and analysts. It's lost it's spunk. What was a bunch of uncouth revolutionaries has become measured and calculated for maximum click rates. And as the click rates have gone up, the love has gone down.
Now I don't have any evidence to back any of this up, but it's how I feel about the Yahoo brand and I'm someone who loved the Yahoo brand. It used to be that people would see something from Yahoo and they'd chuckle to themselves and say, "Oh, those crazy Yahoos. I wonder what they're up to now?"
Now we get emails like this one.
Here's the story. Yahoo bought MyBlogLog a few years back for $10MM but they never did anything with it (See also Delicious
). Eventually the founders left and Yahoo decided to shut it down. Today they sent an email to all MyBlogLog users officially announcing the shutdown. This is that email.
Let's break it down…
First, it's a Service Announcement. I don't remember all the specifics, but a Service Announcement is a way to get around the limited number of times you can email a user. It's basically a category that let's you email all users about a change in their service. There are strict rules that it can't be marketing…just announcing. My problem with this is that EVERY TOUCHPOINT you have with a customer IS marketing. The number one component of brand building is customer support. If your support is blah, so is your brand.
Second, it says, "Dear MyBlogLog Customer." C'mon, Yahoo. You know my name. Use it. You can do it with MSWord Mail Merge if you have to. You could even use my user name, I answer to rkuder25 (just not as often anymore). This shows me you don't care who I am, I'm just a customer.
Third, Yahoo apparently doesn't want to hear from me. They give me a link to the help pages and they say in a highlighted yellow bar at the bottom, "Please do not reply to this email." At Bizzy
, every email we send out has an email address for a REAL PERSON
who answers your email. I know we don't mail as much as Yahoo does, but let's be practical, there probably weren't that many active MyBlogLog users left who would reply anyways.
Fourth, and most importantly, there's no humanity. It's signed from the faceless "Yahoo MyBlogLog Team." It could have just as easily been from Matt or Susan or Carol or whoever's in charge. There's no, "Hey we know you loved MyBlogLog and we're sorry." There's no empathy. There's just the facts. Yahoo, you're taking something away from your users! Something they used and had some kind of attachment to. This is the perfect opportunity to reach out to them, tell them you love them, invite them back, tell them about how even though you're super duper sorry MyBlogLog is going away there are lots of other great ways to interact with people on Yahoo and you value us as people who give you our time and attention. This email says go away, we don't care.
When you break it down, there's just no Yahoo here. The Yodel has left the building.