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Yahoo Small Business Platform Disaster

Updated on January 22, 2015
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I'm a happy man. I am impatient, have impossibly high standards, and view incompetence as a personal affront. But...When you take those qualities, and add the ability to form two or more coherent sentences, then what you get is someone who writes about what they think is wrong with the world. That's what I do, and if it helps one person, then I'm a happy man.

I've written multiple articles about Google's paid advertising platform killing-off the small businesses of America. However, I still afford Google a modicum of latitude, since they are the frontrunner in the internet race, and the frontrunner is always the first to crash. Well...Somehow, Yahoo has found a way to crash from second place.

I'll never understand how a company like Yahoo, can see what's right and what's wrong with Google, and choose to copy both. In fact, Yahoo is coming up with new wrong ways of doing things (which, by the way, is a very difficult feat.) On the other hand, Bing looks at Google's mistakes, and makes a point to avoid duplicating them. For example, there is virtually no way to contact Google Support by phone. They accept email correspondence, but are lackadaisical at best in solving problems in a reasonable time frame. Bing saw that everyone hated this process, so they offered 24-hour live-chat. I used it, and it was excellent. Yahoo decided to take Google's user-unfriendly posture to a higher, more idiotic level: Not only can't you talk or live-chat with Yahoo, but they also stopped offering any support for free business listings. In other words, if there is a problem with your Yahoo Small Business listing, Yahoo will not correct it.

Microsoft did something similar to this. They canceled support for their Windows XP platform. Perhaps they did this because XP is somewhat out-dated, and it would be inefficient for them to offer support for all of their products dating back to Windows 95. I can make some sense out of that. But Yahoo Small Business is their only platform for free business listings. By canceling their support, it is obvious that they are trying to persuade people to join the ranks of "paid listings" clients. That is a strong-arm tactic, and is something that I abhor. At least Google still offers support for their free listings platform, albeit at a turtle's pace.

I have colleagues who constantly watch for suspect and/or sub-standard business practices. When I read their correspondence with a Yahoo support representative, I had to publish it, no matter how absurd it seemed. The truth is the truth, and the public should be privy to it, even If it turns my informative article into a humorous one.

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Edit. I have no problem whatsoever in calling-out Yahoo and providing the first name of the support gentleman with whom my colleague had correspondence. All of the accounts are legitimate and provable. I welcome any and all rebuttals.

My colleague, whose name is Daniel, added a small business to Yahoo's free listings platform. A couple of months later, he made an edit to the listing. It's proper protocol for all of these search engines to verify any edits. The verification period is between 10 and 30 days. The following is Yahoo's 'edit confirmation' message.

Yahoo Support Dated July 24, 2014: "Thank you for submitting changes to your Yahoo! Local Basic Listing for [company name]. We will review your change request for inclusion in Yahoo! Local. We will send you a confirmation email after review. Your existing listing will remain on Yahoo! Local until your changes are approved. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you drive customer calls, in-store traffic and web site visits with Yahoo! Local Listings.Sincerely, The Yahoo! Local Listings Team."

Daniel Dated Sept. 8, 2014 (40+ days after July 24): "Dear Yahoo Support, My [company name] listing has been pending since July 24-25. Please help. Sincerely, Danny."

Edit. Daniel purposely kept my above email brief, as to avoid sounding antagonistic.

Yahoo Support Dated Sept. 8, 2014: Hello Daniel, "Thank you for contacting Yahoo Small Business Support. My name is Azmath and I would be glad to assist you. I understand that your Listing is pending since July this year. I apologize for the inconvenience. At this time, our review time for [a Basic Listing is 30 days][an Enhanced Listing is 3 to 5 business days]. After reviewing your account, we have confirmed that your account has been in Pending Review for longer than this time frame. We have escalated your account to resolve this issue. Please allow 1 to 2 business days for this escalation to process. Once the review is done, it will take another 1 to 2 days for any approved changes to be published. Thank you again for contacting Yahoo Small Business Support. We appreciate your business and look forward to assisting you in the future. Regards, Azmath."

Edit. Within the following query, Daniel included Yahoo's prior email.

Daniel Dated Sept. 20, 2014: "Dear Yahoo Support, This was your prior correspondence (9/8) regarding my issue: 'Hello Daniel, Thank you for contacting Yahoo Small Business Support. My name is Azmath. I understand that....escalated your account to resolve...allow 1 to 2 business days for this escalation to process....another 1 to 2 days for any approved changes to be published.Thank you again for contacting...Regards, Azmath. It is now 9/20 and my listing is still pending."

Edit. No reply was received.

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Daniel Dated Oct. 2, 2014: "Dear Yahoo Support, This is my 3rd attempt to get the pending status removed from my listing [company name]."

Edit. Here is where it gets ridiculous.

Yahoo Support Dated Oct. 7, 2014: "Hello, Thank you for contacting Yahoo Small Business Support. My name is Azmath and I would be glad to assist you. I understand that the changes that you made to your listing have not been published yet. I apologize for the inconvenience. I found that the most recent change was done on your listing on 09/26/2014. The review time frame for free listing is up to 30 days. Once the review process has been completed, you'll be notified via email as to the outcome. After your listing is approved, allow an additional 1 to 2 days for your new listing (or changes to your existing listing) to show up in Yahoo Local. Regards, Azmath"

Edit. Does that support person's name look familiar? On Sept. 8, he was the one who apologized for Daniel's business being pending since July 25.

Daniel Dated Oct. 8, 2014: "Azmath just sent me an email (10/7/14), saying that the most recent change to my listing was performed on 9/26/14. That is incorrect. The most recent change was done on 7/24/14. Azmath, himself, on 9/8/14 sent me an email apologizing for my listing pending for 40+ days, and said that he was escalating the issue. I keep immaculate records, and I have all correspondence for every company I own, not to mention a memory that is unrivaled. I challenge you to show me a legitimate 'change submission' form dated after 7/24/14. I would prefer to have this issue rectified expeditiously, rather than make our correspondence public."

Yahoo Support Dated Oct. 8, 2014: "Hello, Thank you for contacting Yahoo Small Business Support. My name is Azmath and I would be glad to assist you. I understand that you are certain that there was no change made to your listing on 9/26/14 and the last change you made was on 7/24/14. I also understand that you received a response from us indicating escalation of your case. I apologize for the inconvenience. After investigating the issue I found that, due to a glitch in the system the modified time 9/26/14 was erroneous. We have confirmed that your account has been in Pending Review for longer than this time frame. We have re-escalated the case to resolve this issue. Please allow 1 to 2 business days for this escalation to process. Once the review is done, it will take another 1 to 2 days for any approved changes to be published. I hope I have understood and addressed your question or concern. If not, please don't hesitate to reply to this email, and we will gladly assist you further. Thank you again for contacting Yahoo Small Business Support. We appreciate your business and look forward to assisting you in the future. Regards, Azmath Yahoo Small Business Support."

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Daniel Dated Oct. 23, 2014: "Since July 25, I've been trying to get the pending status corrected for my listing [company name]. On Sept.8, (40+) days later, I asked again, and you replied that you were escalating the issue and it would take 1-2 days to be process, and an additional 1-2 days to be approved. On Oct. 2, I asked again, and on Oct. 8, you gave me the same 1-2 days to process and 1-2 days to approve. IT IS NOW OCT. 23, THREE MONTHS (A QUARTER OF A YEAR) SINCE I EDITED MY LISTING, AND IT IS STILL PENDING."

Yahoo Support Dated Oct.23, 2014: "Hello, Thank you for contacting Yahoo Small Business Support. My name is Azmath and I would be glad to assist you. I understand that your listing has been pending since three months and you have been told that this has been escalated multiple times. We know it’s frustrating when things don't work and appreciate your patience while we correct the problem. If you have any other questions or can provide further information regarding this issue, let us know by replying to this message. I hope I have understood and addressed your question or concern. If not, please don't hesitate to reply to this email, and we will gladly assist you further. Thank you again for contacting Yahoo Small Business Support. We appreciate your business and look forward to assisting you in the future. Regards, Azmath Yahoo Small Business Support. Auto-Response 10/23/2014 01:21 AM. This is an automated message acknowledging your recent submission for help to Yahoo Small Business. Please do not reply to this automated message as replies will not been seen or answered by a Yahoo Small Business representative."

Edit. I underlined where Yahoo's preceding message stated twice that Daniel could reply to their email, and later stated that he could not reply. Daniel will continue to send me correspondence, since I am sure that none you will rest until he gets closure.

I read hundreds of Yahoo Forum threads from business owners who can't fathom that support for Yahoo's current advertising platform has disappeared. Deleting and re-entering the listings might be an answer, but if there's a problem with the re-entering portion, then there's a distinct possibility that the listing will never again be visible on Yahoo for free. No small business owner can afford to take that chance. Daniel is luckier than most. The pertinent information for his business is intact and visible. But, I sympathize with businesses that have recently changed their address or telephone number, and cannot correct them on Yahoo. I just wish that Yahoo shared my sentiment.

Epilogue

My experience with Yahoo during the last few months can fill a book...better yet, a comedy album. Purely for the sake of closure, I'll tell you how this travesty ended: After six months passed, I decided to make a phone call to someone (anyone) who worked at Yahoo. I got through to someone who handles their "paid advertising listings". He repeatedly told me that he could not help me, as I repeatedly asked him for help. We went back and forth for close to an hour, before I gained his sympathy enough so that he made a phone call to someone in Yahoo's "free listings support" group. Actually, a support group for Yahoo's free listings, would be a great idea. Ten more subsequent emails, and my listing is currently active. I will never venture down this road again.

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