cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Chris Lott

It’s gotta be monkeys (no offense to the primates) (but I love it when my creative common search turns up an image from a friend, hi Chris).

Seriously– who is Yahoo using as a test group for the “new” flickr? The latest WTF is the insertion of a Yahoo navigation bar that looks like it was hand coded in the mid 1990s.

yucks yuck

On looking at the page source I truly accepted to see a bunch of


tags. At least it was not that bad. Maybe there is some humor at Monkey Web Design Shops, since the main div id is named “eyebrow” and the interior divs are all called “yucs”


Yeah. YUCK- they cannot even spell that correctly.

I was curious to see what the infestation of ads was like, so I hopped over to Safari to explore Flickr when I was logged out or using an old free account I use very rarely. The most odd thing was in Safari there is no Ugly Butt Yahoo Navigation Bar.

First off all, I have to say that I saw no advertisements on individual person’s photostreams or photos themselves. You find them on the main Explore– Warren Buffet appeared quite a few times:

flickr ads

If you go to the Camera Finder page (the place you can see aggregation of camera use by brand and model), the first ad I usually saw clearly shows Yahoo is applying some deep analytical engine to serve relevant ads:

yahoo ads

Yep, I think of Canon, Nikon, Apple, Sony camera ads, I think of my need for more free Testosterone.

Either that, or I seek language tips from blondes in bikinis

ads girl bikinni

AT&T seems to be in heavy ad rotation

ads att

As are the gold hawkers

ads gold ira

And you know ad sales are good when Yahoo has to advertise on their own site

yahoo ads itself

I got a bit curious when they started serving ads relevant to my location– and I was not logged in… see them offering car insurance info for Pine, Arizona, a town just 3 miles away from where I live (actually it is the town that comes up when I put my zip code for Strawberry in, because the post office for both towns is in Pine)

az ads

When I follow some link for information about this ad, I land on Yahoo’s page about Ad Choices:

The Web sites you visit work with online advertising companies to provide you with advertising that is as relevant and useful as possible. Some of the online ads you are served may be based on the content of the Web page you’re visiting; some others may be based on registration information you provide; some may be based expressly on your search history and other ads may be customized based on predictions about your interests generated from your visits to other Web sites.

In other words… We are sniffing your cookies, pal. Mmmmm

It gets even more fun and colorful purple text “Yahoo offers ads that suit your tastes… and respects your privacy“:

It’s your Web. At Yahoo!, we strive to make your experience on the Web as customized an experience as it can be. This means you can easily get the information that’s most important to you – catch the score on your favorite team, see the up-to-the-second news you need, get the financial information that pertains to you””and see ads that interest you.

That is exactly the vision Tim Berners-Lee had in mind when he invented the web, right? And here I thought the web was:

a common information space in which we communicate by sharing information. Its universality is essential: the fact that a hypertext link can point to anything, be it personal, local or global, be it draft or highly polished. There was a second part of the dream, too, dependent on the Web being so generally used that it became a realistic mirror (or in fact the primary embodiment) of the ways in which we work and play and socialize. That was that once the state of our interactions was on line, we could then use computers to help us analyse it, make sense of what we are doing, where we individually fit in, and how we can better work together.

And that’s what ads do! Especially ones of blonde women who can help me find free testosterone!

So here is what my cookies were telling Yahoo:

what yahoo knows

I’m not sure about the Scottsdale IP address, must be an old cookie. And Yahoo uses what I search for to give me relevant ads, all my searches for investments and testosterone:

yahoo knows what i search

So yes, I can opt out, but do you think that stops Yahoo from harvesting my cookies? Can you spell “NSA”?

A crazy thing is their new account structure – if I stay with my free cogdogroo account, I get the AT&T, Buffet, and Testosterone ads on some main pages. I can give Yahoo $50 clams a year to not see ads, more than what I pay now for a Pro account.

The most bizarre one is the offer for an extra TB of storage for $500 monkey skulls a year. Who would need an extra Terrabyte of storage?

My main account has over 33,000 photos from more than 9 years of uploading to flickr. Yet, I have used up only 0.070 TB of storage!

0.07 tb

I calculate it will take me another 128 years to reach my first TB of photos on flickr. I guess when I turn 178, I might shell out that extra $500 per year.

And you know the crazy thing? I still love using flickr, I post every day, and will continue to do so until the monkeys bury me in banana peels and monkey poop. While the ads, like all web ads are questionable, I dont see them encrusting my photo pages like some predicted, and the places they do put ads are places I dont really even use.

I stay because of the social, after all. The comments from friends and strangers. The messages when people find and use my photos, which even end up having me do things like mailing tea bags to Russia.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Trey Ratcliff

Despite the whacky design changes (and I don’t really mind the new photo grid look) I remain hooked on flickr, the original idea that energized me in 2004… even if Yahoo has baked that out to dry, I can still revel in my illusion of false magic.

Now where did I put that vat of free Testosterone?

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. God! is that how ads will look like? The worst implementation of all time and I am completely scared.

    I think I will just keep my account as Pro and renew soon.

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