Yahoo!’s U.S. movie Web site has the following on the Goya movie:
Set in the early 1800s, a tale told in flashbacks by an 82-year-old Spanish artist Francisco Goya, living in exile with the last of his lovers, Leocadia Zorilla de Weiss, and reconstructs the main events of his life for this daughter Rosario. One by one the mysteries surrounding the artist's life are unraveled to unveil the dreams and demons that drove him into exile and are so passionately displayed in his life works.
How odd that a Spanish Web site should have the very same paragraph as the U.S. Web site and both in English. The American Web site, however, has a long biography of the Spanish director.
The question becomes one of what does Yahoo! as a brand stand for? How is it serving its customers? Carlos Saura’s 1998 movie Tango was nominated for a foreign film Academy Award. It featured Julio Bocca and Juan Carlos Copes, both well-known Argentine dancers and choreographers. Yet this Spanish film and its director, also known for this flamenco trilogy, is given more space in English on the U.S. site than on the Spanish sites, including the one starring two famous luminaries of Argentina on the Argentine Web site?
While Yahoo! continues to buy new services and properties, it doesn’t seem to care about the quality of the things it already has such as the movie Web sites.
As a news portal, Yahoo! has done much worse.
Yahoo! assisted the Chinese government by giving information that helped identify Wang Xiaoning, an engineer and dissident who had been posting anonymous writings to an Internet mailing list. Wang was arrested in September of 2002. Yahoo! did not immediately come clean and was soundly criticized by a congressional panel, the House Foreign Relations Committee. According to Wired, other writers such as Shi Tao, Li Zhi and Jiang Lijun were imprisoned because of Yahoo! turning over sensitive information.
According to a San Francisco paper, Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft were questioned about their actions in China.
In February 2006, the Republican-controlled House held a seven-hour hearing in which executives from Google, Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Yahoo! were grilled about their compliance with censorship laws in China and elsewhere. At the time, Callahan testified that when Yahoo! turned over information about Shi to Chinese authorities, "We had no information about the nature of the investigation."