Waiting for Verizon to screw Yahoo users and customers
by Doc Searls Thursday, July 28, 2016

I wrote this in response to Verizon, Yahoo Could Reshape The Advertising Industry in MediaPost....

When Verizon bought AOL, I thought “Whoa, what a retro move. Do they really see a future in adtech? What are they smoking?” Now, with the Yahoo deal, it’s clear they’re smoking the adtech crack pipe, and thinking about all the ways they can track people, put crosshairs on their eyeballs and eardrums, and annoy them everywhere. Good luck with that.

The market is in the process of blowing up that business. Hundreds of millions of human beings are already running tracking protection, blocking ads, or both. If this be a boycott (and it is), it’s the biggest in human history. Tracking people without their express, willing, conscious interest, knowledge and consent—is what Yahoo, AOL and its zillion partners and competitors do. They occupy what’s left of a market 85% controlled by Google and Facebook.

Apparently Verizon thinks it can compete with Google and Facebook in this creepy business. They are wrong. Google and Facebook are gigantic companies that users can easily see, interact with and understand, even if they don’t like knowing they are tracked like animals constantly. Google and Facebook's businesses are also relatively bounded and easily understood. Not so with the fraud- and malware-filled four-dimensional shell game that comprises the rest of adtech today.

My own concern with Yahoo going to Verizon is what happens to the millions of Yahoo users, including paying customers, who Verizon doesn't care about, because Verizon is clearly only interested in advertising-funded assets. In my own case I am a pro customer of Flickr (a Yahoo property) with 65000 photos getting up to 10000 and more visits per day. My guess is that Verizon has no idea at all what to do with customers like me, and will screw us over.

For the millions of human beings who are users and customers of Yahoo properties, risk of abandonment by Verizon is the only real story. Not how Verizon will compete with its betters in the annoyance business.

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There are ways that ignoring people is no different than contempt for them. That's what most press coverage of the Verizon-Yahoo deal displays: contempt for the millions of people who depend on Yahoo. All they seem to want to write about are big businesses mating, the ad biz, and personalities.

I'd dig deeper, but need to hit the road. Rock on. 

BTW, if you're reading this, Verizon and/or Yahoo, tell me how I'm wrong to fear the worst here. Thanks.