Yahoo! security support update –

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After a pretty bad experience with Yahoo!’s merchant services security support while getting online, the site is finally up and running. Yahoo! does a decent job at outsourcing their support to work-at-home representatives. The one I got, Max, was nice enough.

I’m glad it’s over… Now my father’s site can start working for him.

Yahoo! security support sucks with a capital S

Yahoo! Security Support

Most of you know I rarely go out of my way to publicly voice such a negative opinion as I’m about to issue. Especially against a company for which: a) I hold stock, and b) I believe is one of the best large companies in Silicon Valley.

Today I signed up for Yahoo! Merchant Services for my father’s (a small time marimba making studio in Northern Cali). I’ve used Y!’s store system with partner sites at iofy, such as (a foreign language and ELT/ESL specialty store). I like Yahoo!’s store product and recommend it to others.

The signup process was a piece of cake. Zipped through the steps until the moment after my credit card was processed. At that point the added Security Key was requested. Since no security key had been initiated for the account, I was asked for information to generate a new one.

  • First question: “What is your name?” – duhhh…
  • Second question, “When is your birthday?” – better, but easily available on Facebook and elsewhere.
  • Third question: “What is your favorite city?” – I don’t remember, I’ll put in my hometown.

The third answer was wrong. I’ve had my Y! account almost as long as Y! has been in business. It’s probably a secret question I set a long time ago. Getting the third question wrong one time locked me out of merchant services and prompted to call Y!’s security team. Fine.

The wait time was minimal on the phone. As soon as a Y! human was on the line things went downhill. Here is an almost exact transcript of the conversation which took place. Names of people and places are replaced so you don’t get any ideas for h4c|<ing me, and so Y! doesn’t discipline the rep without learning more:

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Google Contact API finally here

Google Code

Cart dropped a note about long anticipated API addition at Google (so long that most people forgot about they might even still be working on it). Google now has a contact API. This is huge news because up until now only Yahoo! offered a good synchronization service.

I’ve been a Yahoo! Address Book fan for years because of their service, especially how it integrates with their Go service. With Google’s API we’ll see apps that start synchronization between these two, as well as any other service out there. This is fantastic!

Nokia and Yahoo!?

Tim O’Reilly twittered this article on the five reasons Nokia should put a bid in on Yahoo!

I’d go for that. I’ve written about what I like about Yahoo! and the reasons I like them as a company without search. Nokia making a play for Yahoo! makes sense. It creates a strong combination as a mobile platform company from two forward thinking complimentary companies…

So unlikely, yet I couldn’t hope for a better Yahoo! suitor. I’m sure we’ll be seeing mobile manufacturers picking up more of the web-co’s.

Yahoo! – components that matter to me after no search

YGMThe news of the week (month/year?) is the $44.6 billion offer from Microsoft to acquire Yahoo!. Robert Scoble blogs the intelligence of Google’s email and Dave Winer drops thoughts on Yahoo’s options based on TechCrunch blogger Mike Arrington’s analysis. Mike Arrington’s latest news is a bit disheartening. Either sell to Microsoft or sell their search to Google.

Yahoo! has a lot more than search to offer – it shouldn’t be their primary business. As Scoble and Winer both pointed out, the wars are being fought on platforms – Especially the mobile platform. Yahoo!’s Go service synchronizes calendars, contacts, etc, from phone or PC and runs on Windows, OS X, BlackBerry, Symbian (Nokia), and Windows Mobile. Heck, it runs on almost every phone out there and OS X has Yahoo Sync built in. It’s been over a year since I’ve synchronized my phone by wire and I’m able to keep three phones and two laptops in sync.

Dave Winer shares insight from past technology wars while asking which platform will be adopted as the standard for synchronization of contacts, social networking, etc. I argue it could be Yahoo!. They’re embracing OpenID and offering Pipes. The Go service has plugins which tie in to MySpace and other social networking sites. They’ve got an identity system, a delivery method, and a decent reach in to the mobile market.

Finally, Yahoo’s two destinations – Yahoo! Music and Yahoo! Finance. These two are both number 1 in their class. Numero Uno. Why? They have content. Google offers search – when you’re looking for content. Yahoo!’s Music and Finance (and other sites) have that content.

These are the Yahoo! products that matter to me and the reason I’m a Yahoo! shareholder. If the sale goes through I’ll happily cash out with a profit and start looking elsewhere for services that satisfy consumer need.