Yahoo: "The Open Web is not a rose garden."

St. Anne's Park & Rose Gardens by infomatiqueApparently, Yahoo didn’t like the bad press it was getting following its decision to shutter its own Shopping API and instead strike a deal with PriceGrabber to use their data. Neal Sample, Yahoo’s Vice President of Open Strategy has a rather passionate post today on the Yahoo Developer Network Blog responding to the criticism of the news. Among the key quotes:

  • “I’ve read the commentary here on the blog and out in the blogosphere. I’ve also read some of the speculation about what this means — and it’s dead wrong.”
  • “Yahoo!’s commitment to developers and to open platforms is not going away. Not at all.”
  • “As Yahoo! continues to refocus and rewire, businesses change and priorities shift. Strong leaders make tough decisions all the time.”
  • “The Open Web is not a rose garden. You know that.”

I dunno. I’m sure Sample believes everything he’s saying, but it’s hard for the rest of the web to believe it when Yahoo keeps shutting down services left and right while outsourcing other core aspects. He makes the case that the Shopping API is “an isolated consequence of a strategic partnership that will improve the Yahoo! shopping experience for consumers.” But that doesn’t speak to the countless other services Yahoo has had to shut down (or is thinking about shutting down). Sure, they may have to do it to make ends meet, but it might be better to be more communicative up front rather than telling us what we “know” after the fact.

Sample does acknowledge that Yahoo has to get better about communicating changes like this (and promises his team will going forward), but come on, this has been going on for several months. The only thing surprising about all of this is that Yahoo seems surprised that people are pissed off. Maybe instead of pouring money into a cycling team, Yahoo should have put resources into the Shopping API, which some developers clearly loved.

The fact of the matter is that the Open Web should be what we (meaning everyone on the web) make of it. The thing that isn’t a rose garden is Yahoo right now. That’s too bad. But that’s no one’s fault but Yahoo’s.

[photo: flickr/informatique]