Posted on July 31, 2008
Filed Under Unjournalism |

Question: which of the following headlines does not belong in the list?

If you selected “Julia Allison’s Real Test,” you are smarter than the people making decisions at Yahoo Finance.

When it comes to general finance websites, I’ve always considered Yahoo Finance to be one of the better “portals” - a place to go when one needs access to basic high-level news and information about the financial markets.

When Google Finance launched in 2006, I saw no need to abandon Yahoo Finance, which I thought was a stronger offering.

But all it takes is one big slip-up and today I decided to say goodbye to Yahoo Finance.

tech|ticker is an online video program part of Yahoo Finance that was an “online program” that reports “exclusively on technology stocks.”

While it’s of little interest to me because I don’t invest in the technology sector, tech|ticker’s content is promoted on the homepage of Yahoo Finance.

When I first saw that Henry Blodget, the former securities analyst and founder of Silicon Alley Insider, was co-hosting tech|ticker, I was a little disappointed.

After all, Blodget was charged with securities fraud by the SEC for allegedly issuing “fraudulent research under Merrill Lynch’s name, as well as research in which he expressed views that were inconsistent with privately expressed negative views” in violation of “federal securities laws and NASD and NYSE rules, which require that, among other things, published research reports have a reasonable basis, present a fair picture of the investment risks and benefits, and not make exaggerated or unwarranted claims.”

Blodget settled without admitting wrongdoing and was permanently barred from the securities industry.

Thus, Yahoo’s decision to make him co-host of a program dealing with technology stocks seemed to be in bad taste, especially given that a general finance portal like Yahoo Finance is geared towards the same types of retail investors who may have been burned by Blodget’s “advice” in Bubble 1.0.

But I brushed that aside and still included Yahoo Finance in my list of general financial portals to visit.

And then on Tuesday, I saw a tech|ticker headline that - “How to Make Internet Fame Work for You.” Clicking through, I found that it was nothing more than an inane Sarah Lacy interview of the ever-useless Julia Allison, who graces the current cover of an ever-useless Wired magazine.

Perhaps this was forgivable.

And then yesterday, while checking the homepage of Yahoo Finance, I saw the tech|ticker headline “Julia Allison’s Real Test.” Unbelievably, whoever has editorial responsibility for tech|ticker saw some value in publishing of Julia Allison by Sarah Lacy.

As a user named “prithvi” commented:

What nonsense. What does this have to do with technology or the markets

The answer: absolutely nothing.

At this point, I made the decision - when it comes to perusing commoditized financial news and accessing commoditized fundamental data, I would no longer use Yahoo Finance.

What impact will my “leaving” have on Yahoo? None whatsoever, obviously.

But after visiting Yahoo Finance for years, my decision to leave because of Yahoo’s out-of-touch editorial values highlights just how quickly loyalty can be lost.

Of course, Yahoo’s out-of-touch editorial values probably aren’t surprising given that the people running the company are simply out of touch with stakeholders and shareholders.

But one still might ask, just what the hell is Yahoo thinking?

Why would a serious program focused on technology stocks hire as co-host a notorious former securities analyst who was banned from the securities industry as part of a settlement related to his activities in providing advice regarding technology stocks?

And why would the same program lower its standards to give a narcissistic wannabe celebrity virtually unknown to everybody outside of the small worlds of Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley and of no real consequence to Yahoo Finance’s target market a platform to speak on subjects for which she is, by any reasonable measurement, unqualified and unworthy to speak on?

Frankly, I can only guess that the people behind Yahoo Finance are either clueless or have a demented sense of humor.

In any case, as far as I’m concerned, Yahoo Finance sucks.

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6 Responses to “Yahoo Finance Sucks”

  1. Sam B on July 31st, 2008 3:53 am

    My favourite part is that the celeb gossip story was “Posted by Sarah Lacy in Internet, Media” - wait for it - “Venture Capital, M and A, IPOs”. Really, Lacy?

    No wait, that’s my second favourite part. Clicking on that category to see what else Lacy had for the hard-nosed investment banker looking to keep up with the dealflow, I found “Facebook Continues to Focus on Product, Not Revenues. That’s a Good Thing.” That came above “Ronaldo’s Tactic To Run Around And Not Score Goals “Genius” Say Pundits” and “Revolutionary New Heater Consists Of Three Fluorescent Lights Covered In Red Tissue.” Well, it should have.

  2. Drama 2.0 on July 31st, 2008 9:39 am

    They need to fire that woman fast. She’s absolutely useless.

    Of course, this probably shouldn’t come as a surprise given her puff piece on Digg and Kevin Rose (”How This Kid Made $60 Million In 18 Months”).

    And of course, Lacy’s book about Web 2.0, “Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good,” received a less-than-stellar review from the New York Times, which stated “the writing is, at best, informal,” and pointing out that “Lacy’s fifth-grade teacher would no doubt wince at the profusion of incomplete sentences.”

    The New York Times’ Katie Hafner wrote that the book’s details “don’t add up to much” and called it a “disjointed grab bag of gossip.”

    How fitting. Seems like maybe Lacy is working in the wrong industry. Hollywood might be a better fit.

  3. anon on July 31st, 2008 12:41 pm

    I have no idea how either of them got anywhere. They make people outside tech think that tech is all fun and games.

  4. GK on August 18th, 2008 4:36 pm


    Friday, August 15th, Yahoo finance was showing the Dow at a whopping hundred point opening because they had it pegged to Wednesday’s close, not Thursday’s close. It was practically noon before someone corrected it.

    I’m told this happens quite often.

    Oddly, it reminded me of my youth when I used to lose money on these pinball machines that would tilt on their own because the owner of the pool hall didn’t know how to level them properly.

  5. The Chrome Stupidity Continues : The Drama 2.0 Show on September 2nd, 2008 11:15 am

    […] I’ve ditched Yahoo Finance because it sucks, a reader of The Drama 2.0 Show this morning sent me an email imploring me to look at tech|ticker […]

  6. DEMO/TechCrunch Turns Even Uglier, Startups Are the Losers : The Drama 2.0 Show on September 7th, 2008 7:28 pm

    […] to the ever-useless Sarah Lacy on the ever-useless tech|ticker, Arrington and his TechCrunch50 partner Jason Calacanis continued lobbing insults at […]

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