back to article Yahoo! Groups' closure and a tale of Oftel: Die-hard users 'informally' included telcos

The tossing away of user-generated content on Yahoo!'s long-running Groups site on Wednesday was not just bad news for all the hardcore users who are about to lose all their precious things stored there. Many were quick to point at telcos, who were using Yahoo! Groups to manage phone number assignments. From 28 October, the …

  1. Imhotep Silver badge

    And besides the wench is dead

    Interesting and somewhat surprising to find out that professionals were still using the platform for business related functions. I imagine the advanced security features offered by Yahoo will be hard to duplicate.

  2. Timto

    It's sad to see internet history being wiped out.

  3. Commswonk Silver badge

    Don't Panic!

    It's enough to make you pine for the days of Yahoo! Groups.

    Oh no it isn't.

    The final demise of Yahoo Groups has been foretold for quite some time, even if the foretelling wasn't actually on any Yahoo Group. I am a member of several groups that used to be hosted on Yahoo, but most migrated to a different host months or years ago while others effectively withered on the vine, and were doing anyway.

    This bit of news has unsurprisingly generated a flurry (no; a storm) of activity by (Yahoo) group owners to find a new home which in turn has generated a lot of work for the "home owner". The group for "group managers" has shown a significant increase in membership, and more than a few posts from panic - stricken owners trying to maintain some continuity of service. Some of the questions they are posing suggest that they don't deserve any continuity of service, but that's another matter entirely.

    In other news, having an online group for telcos is not actually a bad idea, but I can see why Ofcom itself would not wish to try to host it. At the time that group was set up on Yahoo it probably made sense; if they choose carefully they can find another host that will not bombard them with advertisements while at the same time keeping the group out of the public gaze.

    1. nicoleahmed

      Re: Don't Panic!

      any good recommendations for switching seamlessly away from yahoo?

      Thanks

      1. Ian 55

        Re: Don't Panic!

        groups.io looks like the best option.

      2. krept

        Re: Don't Panic!

        Discord servers are your best bet.

  4. Wellyboot Silver badge

    >>>didn't think it was "befitting for the world's sixth largest economy to manage critical national infrastructure via a Yahoo! group."<<<

    Why not? US foreign policy is mostly done via Twitter these days

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Clearly IRC should be used instead. ....

  5. IoTrickle

    Cynical and selective...

    This cynical selective disabling of Yahoo! groups means they can still harvest the email addresses used in correspondence... without the burden of actually having to invest in server space for content!

    The eMail addresses actually have market value... which I'm sure they will continue to harvest.

    The content, which was uploaded without any copyright recognition or controls, has NONE, and is therefor expendable.

    With content removal as of December 14, 2019 rendering Yahoo! Groups useless to me; effective January 1, 2020 I will be notifying Yahoo!/Oath to delete any/ALL of my personal information, including email addresses, in accordance with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Consumer_Privacy_Act

    As a 15+ year participant in Groups; I don't ever want to hear from them again!

    Richard - in California

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I used Yahoo..

      Web forums? Usenet is/was where it is/was really at!

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Re: I used Yahoo..

        In the eighties I was too young to be allowed near a PC or a Commodore 64. Not to mention my parents would have killed me due to the huge phone bills. And we didn't get Internet at home until 1998 anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I used Yahoo..

      @Blackjack

      Straight off topic.

      Thanks for hijacking the thread.

  7. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Mixed feelings but over all... meh...

    Yahoo has been sliding down the slope for a long time. It's sad to see them go but like AOHell, their day is past. They provide minimal reasons to visit, even the news feed isn't all that great but unlike AOHell (which Yahoo owns) at least much of their site is functional. Still, fond memories of groups and assorted chats back in the day. I'll raise a toast to both of them for showing the potential of the Internet.

  8. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    I'm a member of a local history group that has been running for 15 years with research going back centuries. Does anybody know a way to suck all the content out, or do I have to go through the Files area and click-download-save 5000+ times?

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Does anybody know a way to suck all the content out...

      As Groups.io got a mention earlier (I would have mentioned it myself but didn't as I didn't want to "advertise") I'll mention it again.

      Groups.io will download all your Yahoo material* and load it on to a new group once you have set that new group up. Note, however, that there is now a charge for this (and has been for perhaps 12 months) so 1 year of "Premium" Service has to be paid for up - front at (IIRC) $110.

      If your total storage requirement exceeds 1 GB (which does not include the message archive) then you will need to pay for an enhanced service of one type or another in perpetuity, either the "Premium" rate as above (10 GB) or the "Enterprise" rate of $2200 per annum which will get you 1 TB of storage.

      I've never seen it written down but I suspect that if you need > 10 GB at the outset then you will need to pay for an Enterprise Group from the very beginning.

      * At the time of writing accessing Photos on Yahoo Groups is reported to be rather hit and miss.

      And apologies if this looks like an advertisement, but someone did ask...

      1. Sven Coenye

        Don't worry about the advertising

        The Yahoo group I'm a member of ([vintage] Meade LX5/LX6 telescopes) is now scrambling for a new home. This was very welcome information.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Thanks for that. I'm also a member of a local history group and although we have a web-site for public facing stuff discussion outside face-to-face is by email (and, yes, there is a use case for cc: rather than bcc:) but this bears looking into. The other possibility I was looking at was a hosted Nextcloud.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          On a quick look at the groups.io page there are options for importing from Google and Yahoo groups but no mention of being able to upload from an archive of mail messages.

          1. Commswonk Silver badge

            no mention of being able to upload from an archive of mail messages.

            Archived where exactly? Yahoo and (I think) Google message archives are transferrable to Groups.io; others probably not.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              On the mail client, e.g. Thunderbird. Not su much archived as just stored in a user profile.

    2. Bill Gray

      Archiving Yahoo<i>!</i> groups

      I found, and have used, the script at the end of this post to download all posts from the groups I manage. (Fortunately, we'd used them just to swap messages; we didn't have any significant files uploaded to Yahoo!.) The posts are provided as HTML spaghetti; I am working on code to convert the posts to a usable form. As you'll see, it's a work in progress... but the important thing is to grab your data before Yahoo! deletes it "to serve you better" / "to increase shareholder value" / "to improve the customer experience". The script will grab that data for you.

      Many people are moving to groups.io. I'm using GNU Mailman on my own server. groups.io appears to be a decent place at present, but then again, Yahoo! was decent for some time.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Archiving Yahoo<i>!</i> groups

        Ah, if the URL structure is that simple for messages I should be able to translate that to iMacros.

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Archiving Yahoo<i>!</i> groups

          Bingo! This is working for me with iMacros, I'll leave it running overnight, 29273 messages to go....:

          VERSION BUILD=7601015 RECORDER=FX

          TAB T=1

          SET page EVAL("var page={{!LOOP}} + 0; page;")

          URL GOTO=https://uk.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/thewhitbygroup/conversations/messages/{{page}}

          WAIT SECONDS=2

          SAVEAS TYPE=HTM FOLDER=* FILE=msg-{{page}}

  9. Ian 55

    Wasn't Yahoo! Groups! the result of buying egroups or similarly named dot com?

    I can't remember Yahoo! adding anything to it, beyond the pain of their mail policies.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I think it was egroups that they bought. I was in several groups and that "change" started a death spiral for them.

  10. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Mushroom

    The Second Time As Farce

    First they came for the GeoCities, and I said nothing...

    1. quxinot Silver badge

      Re: The Second Time As Farce

      Then they came for MySpace, and I said nothing.

      Next time, I'll show the stupid bastards where to find Facebook.

  11. Barry Rueger

    Facebook? Twitter? Useless for these purposes.

    I too remember E-Groups, as well as ListServ and MajorDomo. It truly saddens me that email lists have been all but replaced by Facebook pages, WhatsApp, and forums.

    For every task there is a tool that will perform best, and for many things an email list or reflector is that thing. If you belong to a group of 500 like-minded individuals it's the only sensible route. There's no need for each member to maintain a list of members on their own system, and people are free to leave with no worry that the list emails will keep coming to them.

    Email is the lowest common denominator - everyone has an email address, and can send and receive messages no matter how old or oddball their computing device might be. It's a shame that email has been devalued to the point where some people actually think that a Facebook group is a realistic alternative. Did I mention that an email list also doesn't filter messages based on some California kid's algorithm? And doesn't stick advertisements into the message? And can even allow attachments? That you can easily move from a group discussion to a private one?

    I use forums for solving technical problems, and the fairly permanent nature of them works well for that. And I use Twitter for another set of tasks that are perfect for that medium. As good as those are for some jobs, there are still places where an email list is the easiest, most secure, and most flexible option.

    Ultimately though what this demonstrates yet again is that we all need to take on the task of moving our work away from the Googles and Yahoos of the world and into our own hosted spaces. You simply can't trust that any of these corporations will maintain the services that you use, much less any archives that you may have created. Fortunately a lot of hosting providers have some kind of one-click install for email lists so a lot of the headaches are eliminated.

    1. luminous

      Optional

      "Email is the lowest common denominator - everyone has an email address"

      Sorry but you are misguided. I know some very old folk who don't have email, never had and never will.

      And I know plenty of young people who don't have one either. Their email address is their phone number. Ever since Facebook changed the sign up from requiring an email to just requiring a phone number, more and more young people just don't do email. Or quite a few who have forgotten the password years ago and never bothered to reset, or forgot the security questions they answered. They just live without email, I know it seems crazy but that is how it is.

  12. fredesmite

    Yahoo is still alive ?

    I thought it died years ago

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OFCOM - wasting tax payers money for almost 20 years.

    All in the name of continuous improvement...

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