Yahoo Yesterday: Mission and Mistake

yahoomission.jpgYahoo has a new mission statement. I first saw it on Read/Write web.

Last night, Yahoo! announced their new mission, “to connect people to their passions, communities, and the world’s knowledge.” While Google emphasizes the data, Yahoo! will emphasize the people.

Yesterday’s post at Yodel Anecdotal, Yahoo’s rather wonderfully named blog, provided more detail. The post is by Jeff Weiner, the Executive VP who heads the Network Division. The network division includes Flickr, a site long notable for, among other things, passion and community.

Yesterday, some of the passion in the Flickr community was directed against Flickr itself, and against Yahoo. This was due to the Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir incident.

I can state the following as facts of the case.

  • Prints of some of Rebekkah’s photos were sold, without her permission, by a gallery.
  • When she discovered this, Rebekkah demanded payment from the gallery; she didn’t get it.
  • She posted about the ripoff on Flickr; the post drew 450+ comments.
  • The post and the comments were deleted by Flickr.

You can read more about this appalling incident at Rebekkah’s WordPress blog. I first read about it at Reddit.

Heather Champ, Flickr community manager, contributed to the Flickr forum discussion of the Rebekkah incident as follows. This has nothing to do with censorship — we made a mistake. I’m inclined to believe this and Heather’s subsequent contributions.

But, to sum up, at much the same time that Yahoo was redefining its mission in terms of people, passion, and communities, it removed from one of its leading sites the work of a talented person, along with some passionate discussion within a community. This casts doubt on the mission statement, or, at least, on the firm’s ability consistently to act in a manner consistent with the statement.

It also makes me wonder if I will renew my Flickr Pro account, which expires soon, and whether I will continue to use Flickr as my main means of photo sharing…

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