By Davis Freeberg
Yahoo! News has spoiled yet another television event for PVR users. This morning they posted a link on their Yahoo! homepage that said R—— denies R——, wins Apprentice. For those of you who’ve yet to watch the show, I won’t ruin it for you, but knowing the winner of the Apprentice will immedietely suck out a lot of joy and suspense from the season finale.
While this particular instance was highlighted by a reader on Digg, spoilers on the main Yahoo! page have been a consistent problem for Yahoo! readers. In 2002, I initated the Davis Freeberg boycott of the Yahoo! homepage for this very reason. After repeatably emailing Yahoo! regarding their posting the World cup scores on their main search page, I decided that the only way to prevent Yahoo! from spoiling sports and other shows was to never go to their homepage — hence, no more Yahoo! search for me. Many world cup games were being broadcast at 2am and while I did watch some of the games live, the vast majority of the games were watched the following day on my TiVo. If you really want to ruin a soccer game, try telling a fan that the score will be 1-0. It takes a tremendous amount of drama out of what would normally be a very exciting defensive match.
I don’t really have an issue with Yahoo! News reporting sport’s scores — that’s their job after all. My problem is that I don’t want to see this spoiler type of information when I go to their homepage to search. Why not just leave this kind of information on it’s respective news page where people can elect to read about it, instead of having these results thrust upon them.
About a year and a half ago, I decided to lift my boycott because I really enjoy reading the Yahoo! news, but after they revealed the winner of the World Series of Poker months before it was broadcast on ESPN, I knew that I could not go back until the company publically addressed the issue. With nearly 10% of the US population now using PVRs, Yahoo! should seriously reconsider this terrible policy of forcing results onto people who use their services. Would it be so hard to have the headline read finalists face off on the Aprentice – Winner Announced. I don’t mind them writing about television, but give your users and opportunity to avoid the link if they haven’t seen the program yet.