The Problem With Yahoo’s New “Yahoo Contributor Network” is Yahoo

Yahoo!  Totally You = Totally Screwed

Yahoo is out today promoting their latest social media offering. They picked a fancy new name for it. “Yahoo Contributor Network.” Apparently you can write articles, take photos, do all sorts of work and publish it to the new network.

From the Yahoo Anectdotal Blog:

Have you ever wanted to have your voice heard by an audience of millions? How about hundreds of millions? Whether you think your tips for dissolving credit card debt would be at home on Yahoo! Finance, or you want to share the secrets to being a happy and successful stay-at-work mom on Yahoo! Shine, the launch of the Yahoo! Contributor Network is your chance.

We designed the Yahoo! Contributor Network especially for you, our users, and we’re inviting you to share your perspective and creativity on some of our most popular content sites – including Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Finance, omg!, Shine, and even the Yahoo! homepage. The Yahoo! Contributor Network gives you an unprecedented opportunity to reach the largest audiences on the Internet on the topics that matter to you most.

This all sounds sort of interesting, especially to me as a photographer — until I remember that it’s *Yahoo.*

My problem with this offering is that best that I can tell, Yahoo can destroy all of your content on their system that you create at any time for any reason. From the TOS:

“YCN may, without prior notice and at its sole discretion, immediately terminate, limit your access to or suspend your YCN Contributor account and access to the YCN Services, for no reason or for cause which may include your breach of the TOS. YCN shall not be liable to you or any third party for any termination of your account, any associated email address, or access to the YCN Services.

Termination of your YCN Contributor account includes any or all of the following: (a) removal of access to all or part of the offerings within the YCN Services, (b) deletion of your password and all related information, files and content associated with or inside your account (or any part thereof), and (c) barring of further use of all or part of the YCN Services. “

That’s right. Your account can be destroyed immediately and without warning for “NO REASON.” It says so right there in their TOS. Why does this bother me? Because like Flickr, Yahoo here is relying on hours and hours and hours of generous contributions by contributors like you and I. And like Flickr, the rug may be pulled out from under you at any time for any reason.

Since I’ve been involved with Flickr, I’ve watched account after account after account be destroyed without warning. When Flickr destroys your data there is no getting it back. It’s irrevocable. It’s nuked. Gone. Last year I watched as Flickr completely destroyed a pro free speech group on Flickr with over 3,000 members permanently destroying thousands of pages of user contributed content with the flickr of a switch.

So now you’re trying to get me to try out this new service where I submit even more content to Yahoo while at the same time telling me that you can destroy the content I submit at any time for any reason? No Thanks Yahoo. I might buy the argument that this is just lawyerly doublespeak in your TOS except for the fact that I’ve watched so many of my friends have their own data destroyed without warning on Flickr.

How about you show some respect for user data first — and then maybe we can talk about other ways that I might be willing to share my content with you.

All Things Digital’s report on the new network here.

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  1. Sathya says:

    As much as I like Flickr, their nuking always had been bothering, This definitely would downlplay YCN …

  2. Copper says:

    I looked at your post expecting to find some legitimate complaint about the Yahoo Contributor Network but found none.

    Any publisher reserves the right to terminate a relationship with a contributor and destroy any contributed materials. There is nothing at all unusual about this.

    The idea that hours and hours of contributed photos could be lost is silly. Apparently nobody round here has heard of backups.

  3. prophead says:

    Yahoo is so full of fail it’s embarrassing. They even outsourced their core business to Microsoft, pathetic.

  4. Hannah says:

    Yahoo!’s TOS are the downfalls of not having your own web site. They do what they want because they know that the average person needs them more than they need the average writer. It’s shameful, but true. I’m working hard to build up the web site I own with my partner so at any time we can leave the big wigs. Good post with helpful information. Glad to know there are people like you who take the time to read the TOS, few people do.

  5. Dahloan Hembree says:

    Yahoo COntributor Network bought Associated Content. It is not a new site, just a different name. But I have noticed changes. My articles use to pull 5.50 or so for the fifeteen minutes ot took me to write it. I was willing to do that, Say you write four an hour, 22.00 isn’t bad money. I have seen payments consistantly drop since Yahoo took over. My payments are now running around 4.45. Also, it had been about 2 years since Associated had denied an article. I have had 3 denied since Yahoo tok over. Also, the first time ever a payment has been messed up. I was to be an Education Writer, getting 10 for each education article. I got 3.95!! I am going to give them a month or so more to check it out, but I prefer Demand studios anyday. Yes, the articles are boring, but the longer I”m over there, the less they deny. At first it was 1 in 8 articles, now it is 1 in 30 and at 15 an article, it is worth the researhc. It takes about 40 per article. So I do four in three hours, that 20 an hour. Not bad money for staying at home. That is versus Yahoo’s 13 or so an hour. This is a full time job now for me, so I need the best paying sites

  6. zehngal says:

    I think Copper misses the point: it’s not so much the content that is lost, but the following. That would take more work to track, especially if you had the success you wished for. Strike out on your own people and ride the wave. We are in the incipient phase of this phenom! And don’t forget to read the classics: Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451 and 1984.

  7. If you’re looking for a place to post serious and responsible op-eds about sex, please don’t try to do it @ Yahoo! Contributor Network! I posted a two-part essay criticizing certain kinds of pornography, and it was banned. Even worse, behind the scenes a YCN contributor named Angie Mohr was accusing me of spreading “vileness” on the site. She urged administrators to do a content review, and they tagged my content as “obscene” shortly thereafter. Fortunately, I did not need YCN’s patronage that bad; I took all 120 of my op-eds away from them the same day. The essay I posted can be found here:

  8. I think its kind of funny what is happening over there now! As of March 1st 2011 all of the so called Featured Contributors will have to Re- Apply! Lol They were sitting so high on their horses putting down other writers there wanting them thrown out of the Featured Contributor Sections and now they all have been thrown out by Yahoo! lol The old saying is correct for the high horse writers over there, “WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND”

  9. Electrician says:

    Another scary thing to consider is that you could contribute a bunch of content, and they will pull the plug each time you’re about to get paid. Also, it’s interesting that they don’t offer any details about how how much and how often you get paid for contributing.

  10. Amelia says:

    I am newly in the Yahoo Contributor Network, and to be honest it has been a much smoother experience than my work at The pay is very clear all over the site as far as how much and how often, so I’m not sure why “Electrician” feels there aren’t details offered. Dahloan, I am impressed that you are putting together quality articles in 15 minutes! I didn’t read Associated Content before Yahoo took over, but maybe the lower pay and more frequent denials is just Yahoo trying to set some higher standards now that the content bears their name? Like I said, I’m new to YCN, so maybe the shoe will drop and/or the honeymoon phase will end, but as of now I am being paid more, have SIGNIFICANTLY higher readership and reach, and more freedom in what I write than I have elsewhere.

  11. Lisa says:

    Yahoo Contributor closed my account without any warning. They took their sweet time answering me back as to why I could no longer login. I could login until I changed my password a few week ago but then I forgot the password. I ended up wasting allot of time in trying to request a link to change my password. They would send me a reset my password link that just went to their home page. Then 1.5 or more weeks later they emailed me giving me some stupid password like lisa1234 that of course didn’t work. Then after I asked about my account about the 3rd or 4th time they finally wrote me saying they closed it because I put affiliate links in my content. If I did that it was like 1 or 2 times at the most and that was a long time ago. After submitting allot of content I’d only gotten up to maybe $7. So associated content or Yahoo contributor was just a big waste of time for me. I think it was rude of them to just delete all my content which is not searchable anymore and delete my account without telling me first.

  12. Marty says:

    What a load of it this is. They lost some of my files, and I’ve heard they can just cancel your account for no reason!! Yahoo is really going down. Don’t waste you time with them.