THE BLOG
10/22/2013 09:17 am ET | Updated Dec 13, 2013

Yahoo Goes Cuckoo

The French have a saying: Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien. In other words, what you think is better will destroy what is already good.

Sometime over last weekend, Yahoo (I am going to drop the absurd exclamation point) decided to change its email system without notifying or warning their millions of customers. And definitely without asking their approval.

Yahoo had already euphemistically "updated" its email about a year ago, to the consternation and regret of most of its customers. We were finally forced to comply this summer, giving up a familiar and simple system for an ill-designed system that was larded with ads.

Now, barely three months later, Yahoo is foisting upon us an even more crack-pot system that lumps together our mails into what they call a "conversation." Thank you, but my conversations are by telephone; I do not want my private mails thrown together according to what Yahoo believes to be a continuous dialogue.

And weirdly, instead of my name on the address header, they write ME, as if to hide my identity.

Moreover, to reply to a mail, you now have to go to the bottom of the page where you'll find very few ways to edit your text: a limited choice of font, of color, of size... and it's impossible to underline anything.

I realized that something was awry last week when half a day passed with no mail arriving. Yahoo said they were dealing with some problems, "resynchronizing and doing other maintenance operations," and that things would be back to normal within 24 hours. But they never retrieved my lost mail. Finally, after three days of frustrating exchanges with the Yahoo Customer Care people, begging them to return me to their former Mail system, I was told: We've closed your incident as we believe we've fully addressed it.

When I called their help line, a recorded announcement said there was heavy telephone traffic and they couldn't answer calls.

Meanwhile, on the Yahoo feedback page, thousands of people have voiced their disgust with the new format, pleading to return to the old one. Yahoo -- deaf to it all -- claims they have produced "a delightful experience" with beautiful new backgrounds.

They have produced a rotten experience, and the new backgrounds do not alter that fact. When I use the internet, I want simplicity: pretty backgrounds and "conversations" simply confuse the work at hand and waste my time.

At this point, switching to another server is a very attractive option. I hope many other Yahoo customers will choose to do that, too. We should not be treated like a bunch of kindergartners who will embrace any new toy that is thrown our way.