March 16, 2002

As we all know Yahoo! provides some of the most excellent services on the Net and that too for free [won't say that about their messenger which has been having horrible problems staying connected behind proxies socks, http or whatever else]. So, when they offer you a paid solution, you cannot be faulted for expecting the world and more from them. But sadly that is not the case as it seems.

Sometime last month, like so many others who host their sites for free at Geocities I too got an e-mail from Yahoo! explaining that they are shutting down FTP access for the free sites at Geocities. Fine, that is very much understandable. Anything free is a privilege and not a right as far as the user is concerned, if you want cribbing rights PAY UP!!

As I read on I stumbled upon something interesting. When you take up the paid services option, the best Yahoo! offers you is a $19.50 pm package with a one time set up fee of $25. So, you pay approximately $500 in a year for a shitty list of features: Single domain, 100 MB of space, PHP, .htaccess, 25Gb of monthly bandwidth and a few more knickknacks.

Compare this with someone like Cornerhost [Ev's home]. Agreed, it is something of a mom and pop operation. Still $20 pm offers you a much better list of features that include: 250 MB disk space, 3GB monthly bandwidth, CGI/PHP, 2 MYSQL databases, and unlimited domain hosting. The story get even better if you decide to host with someone like Pugmarks who for Rs 20, 000 per year offers you 100 MB disk space, 1 GB of traffic, unlimited FTP data transfer, MYSQL, PHP, and other bells and whistles.

Most of Geocities sites are hosted at the Santa Clara facility of Exodus, which is where Pugmarks is also hosted. Even if you assume that Geocities have co-located boxes at Exodus, the chances are that the support that one is going to get from a firm who is primarily not a hosting company is going to be not very good. Besides they are serviced by the same support personnel who have physical access to the server.

No, I am not making the case for Pugmarks or anyone else here. What I am getting at is that when Yahoo! could have provided such a world class free hosting service, why should it be slack in the case of a service where the customers actually pay? What it looks like to me in the end is that Yahoo! is trying to cash in on the good name that its free services have been known for and in its place we are being offered less than mediocre paid services. If this is the direction that their mail and other services are going to take, then it is high time that I go looking for my own hosting and domain.

Off topic links

Ten things I hate about flash by Wendy Grossman
Journalism and Information Filters