Type of site
electronic mailing lists
|Launched||January 30, 2001|
Yahoo! Groups is one of the world's largest collections of online discussion boards. The term Groups refers to Internet communication which is a hybrid between an electronic mailing list and a threaded Internet forum, in other words, Group messages can be read and posted by e-mail or on the Group's webpage like a web forum. In addition, members can choose whether to receive individual, daily digest or Special Delivery e-mails, or simply read Group posts on the Group's Web site. Groups can be created with public or member-only access. Some Groups are simply announcement bulletin boards, to which only the Group moderators can post, while others are discussion forums.
It is not necessary to register with Yahoo! in order to participate in Yahoo! Groups. The basic mailing list functionality is available to any e-mail address, but a Yahoo! ID is required to access most other features.
As well as providing e-mail relaying and archiving facilities for the many Groups it hosts, the Yahoo! Groups service provides additional features for each Group web site, such as a homepage, message archive, polls, calendar announcements, files, photos, database functions, and bookmarks.
Each new group created at Yahoo! Groups allows the creator (group owner) to have several features attached to the group. Some of the features can be selected for "off", moderator, members, public. Here is the complete list of possible group features:
The current Yahoo! Groups Directory organizes groups in these main categories:
There is a Yahoo! Groups search box available at the Yahoo! Groups homepage. The search function currently provides these options for sorting the results by:
A group receives a web address and an email address when it is created and can be listed in one of the Yahoo! Groups directory categories if desired. Groups listed in the Yahoo! Groups directory can also be found via a Yahoo! Groups search.
New members can join groups directly, or may be invited by a moderator to join. Some groups have restricted memberships, which allow group managers to accept or reject new members. Some groups are closed and allow only members who have been directly invited by a group manager to join the group.
Yahoo! Groups also includes so-called adult groups, however, these groups are not publicly listed in the Yahoo! Groups directory and access to them is restricted. People wanting to visit an adult group receive an "adult content" warning and must agree to it each time a member visits the group.
Yahoo! Groups was launched in early 2001 as an integration of technology from eGroups.com and community groups from both eGroups.com and Yahoo! Clubs.
Yahoo! Clubs was launched in 1998 as a logical extension of services that had already been developed by Yahoo - message. Unlike previous Yahoo products, this product was designed to allow much deeper levels of user control over creation, membership and overall direction of communities. Development was led by Doug Hirsch (product management) and Matt Jackson (lead engineer), both of whom have since left the company. Yahoo! Clubs quickly grew to be one of the largest traffic-generating products within the Yahoo! network of services.
In August 2000, Yahoo acquired eGroups.com, one of the most popular group collaboration products at the time. About eight months later, the new Yahoo! Groups product was launched which merged eGroups.com and Yahoo! Clubs. The resulting product is typically one of the Top-five page-view-generating sites across the Yahoo network.
Yahoo! Groups functionality remained static between 2000 and 2005. In 2001 Yahoo! deleted adult groups from its search directory, making it very difficult to locate Yahoo! groups with adult content. A Yahoo! user who wishes to find a group with adult content must therefore either know the exact name of the group, or attempt to find it by using a search engine or one of several online adult group directories. This has created what some view as an "underground" atmosphere for Yahoo! adult groups. While it is unclear whether the intention of Yahoo! was to diminish the number or merely the easy availability of these groups, adult groups on Yahoo! have continued to increase. In 2005, a revived ability to generate revenue through targeted search-related advertising resulted in renewed interest, which has slowly received new features since then.
In 2006 Yahoo! Groups introduced an option to add a Yahoo! Answers module at the bottom of group homepages. Group managers can control whether the module will appear on their Group homepage and if so, the type of Yahoo! Answers category to be included. However, this option has been removed in the Groups remodel of 2010.
Also in 2006, Yahoo! Groups introduced an improved message search that includes an Advanced Message Search allowing a search by on any combination of message date, author, subject and message body. The Advanced Message Search also disappeared in Groups remodel of 2010
In October 2008 Yahoo introduced a new universal Yahoo! Profile replacing the Group profiles and Yahoo! 360 Profiles, both of which were utilized by Group members prior to this introduction. The use of "adult" profiles was discontinued at that time. On June 7, 2010 Yahoo! announced that the universal Yahoo Profile has been replaced by Yahoo! Pulse.
This new feature was announced on November 19, 2009. It allows Group managers to post messages to their Group from a Group Owner's email address. Before this new feature was introduced, Group managers had to use their personal address even when making official Group announcements.
On February 4, 2010, the Yahoo! Groups team announced that the Forward feature had been removed from the web interface. The removal of this feature was announced as a spam-fighting counter-measure. The team claimed that spammers had been misusing the Forward feature to mail Group messages to up to 50 recipients each time.
The Groups Updates Email feature was introduced In 2010. It allows YG members to check in one email all the updates that occur every twenty four hours in all their Groups, and helps moderators keep spam out. The items can be new photos, links, files, polls, applications, application entries, applications comments, members (but only for groups with fewer than 100 members), and database tables. Members can choose to turn on/off the ability to receive this daily email.
In September 2010 a major facelift was rolled out, making Yahoo! Groups look very similar to Facebook. However, several key features were removed, notably the ability to respond directly to the sender of a message rather than the group, and the ability to use a Rich Text editor. The first of these changes would dramatically impact the ability of many groups such as Freegle and Freecycle to keep functioning, affecting over nine million users worldwide. The second would affect many RPG groups and collaborative fiction projects, as they often use different font colours to distinguish story threads or individual authors.
On November 11, 2010 the Yahoo! Groups Team announced house cleaning to start the following week. According to the ygroups blog this would involve deleting any Group that is more than six months old and contains no Messages, Photos or Files.
On February 1, 2011 the Yahoo! Groups Team announced the launch of a Beta version of Groups Chat.
Sometime at the end of 2011, the Yahoo! Groups staff started communicating with Group members through yet another unannounced new forum.
Moderators of new Groups started on April 9, 2012 and thereafter, can no longer add members to the Group. Members must initiate joining themselves.
In mid May an announcement appeared on the Groups web site warning members of an Upcoming Groups Calendar upgrade. According to the announcement members may not have access to their Group Calendar (for up to 24 hours). This announcement was still displayed on the home pages of all Yahoo! Groups on July 3, 2012.
In June 2012 a message appeared on top of all Group web sites announcing that the Beta Groups Chat and Applications will be shut down on July 4 and asking members to backup any data created.
In December, Yahoo! Groups Japan emailed its users and posted a notice on its homepage to announce that its service, which commenced in February 2004, would be closing on May 28, 2014.
On February 20, 2009, the search feature for messages stopped working. The official Yahoo! Groups blog stated that Yahoo was working to fix the problem. It was eventually repaired.
On August 31, 2010, Yahoo! Groups started rolling out a major software change. This change was denounced by a large number of users. On September 29, 2010, Jim Stoneham, Vice President of Yahoo!'s Communities products, announced that based on members feedback Yahoo! Groups will be rolling back the recent changes. The protests of Yahoo Group members prompted Yahoo's then CEO Carol Bartz to tell USA Today during an interview that Yahoo will be letting Group users decide whether they want to stay with the old-format Groups or join the new-format [remodelled] Groups. (Play video) The remodel was completely abandoned on January 12, 2011.
On August 7, 2013, Yahoo! Groups rolled out a new web-interface redesign to randomly chosen users. The change was permanent for those users. Many users have taken to the help forum to voice their dissatisfaction[self-published source] with this change, particularly in regards to lost features. Neo has now[when?] been rolled out to the majority of users. One of the main concerns with neo is that people with disabilities have been locked out of their support groups. According to The Register "46,000 people had clicked on the vote button to demand a return to the 'prior format that WORKS!'". That same thread shows Yahoo representatives starting to address a small number of the complaints that have been voiced.
Yahoo! Groups have been the targets of various spamming campaigns throughout the years. Chester Wisniewski, a senior security advisor at Sophos, a computer security company, stated in 2011 that spam messages posted on Yahoo! Groups bypass spam filters by way of using digital signatures.
According to a September 9, 2013 Reuters article "Americans use the Internet to abandon children adopted from overseas", Yahoo! and Facebook groups were being used by parents to advertise unwanted children for "private re-homing", illegally and without government regulation. Yahoo! immediately closed down the forums that Reuters brought to their attention, while Facebook did not.
In August 2008 YG staff reported 113 million users, 9 million Groups, and availability in 22 languages.
The web analytics website Quantcast reported around 915 thousand unique visitors to the YG website(US) daily in July 2010. In January 2011 this number increased to 933 thousand unique visitors daily. This number does not include YG members who access the Groups site via email.
In September 2010 at its "Product Runway" event, Yahoo told reporters that Yahoo! Groups has 115 million group members and 10 million Yahoo! Groups.