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August 28, 2007

Yahoo, The Value of About Pages, Bloglines & Fun Stuff

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Yahoo and Jailed Dissidents

Yahoo has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit being brought against them by those two Chinese journalists that they helped jail by turning over their search information to Chinese authorities. The two men have since been sentenced to 10 years in jail in an institution known for abusing its inmates. The wife of one of the jailed men is also alleging that she was forced to endure “severe psychological and emotional suffering” as a result of Yahoo’s actions. How very Western of her.

Though sympathetic, Yahoo is asking for the suit to be dismissed, arguing that it has no merit and does not belong in an American court room:

“This is a lawsuit by citizens of China imprisoned for using the Internet in China to express political views in violation of China law. It is a political case challenging the laws and actions of the Chinese government. It has no place in the American courts"

Truthfully, I’m not sure where I sit on this one. In my perfect little world where ponies graze on sunflowers all day, I want Yahoo to be held accountable. I feel like turning in your users for completing an action you allowed them to take is wrong. At the same time, I can appreciate the difficulty that entities like Google and Yahoo face having to respect local customs. Really, I don’t know where I ultimately sit; the journalism kid in me who was taught to respect anonymity is clashing with the SEO blogger-type who knows it’s not up to the search engines to challenge established laws. I just don’t like the idea of Yahoo giving up private information about its users. I feel like Google would have fought harder.

What do you think? Do you think Yahoo should be held responsible for turning over information that caused two innocent-by-Western-standards journalists to be jailed?

Will Adding Photos On the About Page Increase Conversions?

An interesting question popped up over at LED Digest. Site owner Carol Moore wondered if adding a photo to her site’s About page would help potential clients "trust" her site more and therefore be more inclined to do business with her.

I think it’s worth doing. There are definitely users out there who are still wary of conducting any kind of transaction online. Offering up a picture and showing users that there are actual, real live people behind your Web site will make some feel a whole lot more comfortable doing business you. You may have noticed we started adding some photos to our Authors Page (I know, I look like a psychotic poodle, what do you want me to do about it?).

That reminds me, who thinks Susan should be forced to put up a picture? Anyone? Anyone? [Leave me alone. I’m not photogenic. –Susan]

New Beta Version of Bloglines: Love it or Hate It?

So Bloglines went ahead and debuted a new beta version of their site this week. I’ve been reluctant to say anything so far because while I really love Bloglines and am a loyal, loyal user, I’m still not completely sold on the new format. I like the three reading views (though I’ll probably never use anything but the full view), I like the customizable start page and I love that stories aren’t marked read until you actually read them, but the UI is going to take some getting used to. It just feels different. I spend almost my entire day in Bloglines and suddenly I’m having trouble being able to focus in and read a given post, my subscription numbers are gone, and it’s still not updating fast enough for me.

I’m sure at some point Bloglines will require me to make the switch, but for now I’m sticking with the old version.

Fun Finds

I know Susan will give me crap for mentioning Facebook again (hey, check it out, Susan decided to come to work today!), but change is coming. Be aware. [No, I mean it, this time you really are fired. –Susan] Kbye.

I’m sure my BFF Tamar Weinberg will want me to point out that Digg has prettied up its home page, allowing users to see both news and video on a single page. Ooo.

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One response to “Yahoo, The Value of About Pages, Bloglines & Fun Stuff”

  1. Dave writes:

    The Yahoo issue seems pretty simple to me, sue Yahoo in a Chinese court. Not here as the “action” was committed in China.

    If the suit is allowed here, then I say all those recalls that have created harm or death (in some pets) should be brought to those in China…



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