I've been thinking a lot about Yahoo! Groups recently. This is partly because I'm a member of more than 30 mailing lists hosted there. But it's also because I find myself running into limitations that seem pretty silly in 2006. More importantly, I feel like Yahoo Groups can serve as the collaborative (not just communications) platform for bringing people together in interesting ways.

There are bits of JotSpot (notable Tracker), WordPress, and Flickr that I think could be sprinkled into Yahoo Groups, not to mention Google Maps and/or Wayfaring, Yahoo! Local, Google Calendar, and a few other things.

This definitely means thinking about Yahoo Groups as more than place to host a free mailing list, which is how most people use it today.

But before I ramble on too long, I'd like to know how you would like to see Yahoo! Groups evolve. What's missing? What killer applications or add-on services deserve to be part of the service? Are there alternative services that are providing a lot of this already?

Posted by jzawodn at March 27, 2006 10:46 AM

Reader Comments
# Jeremy Wright said:

I don't use Yahoo Groups at all. What I do use is Google Groups for mailing lists, Basecamp for project management, Flickr for photos, etc.

What should Yahoo Groups be? It should be a real "portal" (ie: a view into different apps) just for a specific group. They can have their photos (ie: a private, integrated, Flickr group). Their mail (smart mail, I love how much easier it is to manage GGroups subscriptions than YGroups ones). They should have the ability to publish a blog.

I guess the big question someone needs to ask is "what is a Group, and what would be the ideal tool for a Group".

To me, it's communication (external and internal), events, photos and "media". Hence my list.

on March 27, 2006 11:03 AM
# Joe Hunkins said:

I'd like to see groups integrated more easily with Yahoo 360 style community features (Maybe they already are - I don't do groups or 360 much but would if a critical mass of similar people appeared).

Push (Pull?) both group participants and 360 users to interact more like they already do with Myspace et al. I think you'd also want Myspace/Facebook/Friendster imports to 360 accounts.

on March 27, 2006 11:10 AM
# Peter T Davis said:

Hiya Jeremy,
I use Yahoo! Groups. I'm a member of a few, not quite as many as you but getting there. How about offering a single RSS feed which would consolidate all of my groups, so I can just put it in my reader and see the most recent posts, along with the other 100 feeds to which I'm subscribed?

on March 27, 2006 11:13 AM
# Dan Hugo said:

I think Yahoo! should integrate Groups into its other properties more. For example, I know an LA stand-up comic who uses Yahoo Groups to send out updates on his shows, Comedy Central appearances, etc. As someone hinted already, something like that would tie in nicely with a 360 page-- and I don't mean the "My Groups" box present on there now. Groups has a lot of features (photos, files, links, polls, etc etc etc) and with all of the Mash-Ups out there, you'd think Yahoo! would be better at A) mashing with itself and B) enabling more mashing.

Just my $0.01 (half now, half for the interview)
-dh

on March 27, 2006 11:27 AM
# Joe Beaulaurier said:

Someone (I don't recall who) recently blogged about being dismayed that members of the group they belonged to didn't automagically show up on their Messenger list (would appear as a group on the list).

This made some sense to me. I wonder about it's wider acceptance and use though. It would make Messenger more of a Yahoo! hub if that's a goal.

Allowing membership without needing a Yahoo! ID would be at the top of my list. Last year I directed about fifty people into a Yahoo! Group for an organization I started. There was much todo about the requirement for a Y! ID. Irrational fear and lack of technical ability drove this. But everyone benefited from the functionality including the calendar (reminders), files, photos, links, messages, and even the group description. But there remained a sense of unprofessionalism (read: advertising) that forced its replacement.

If an ad-free premium Groups could be enabled (with a unique/forwarded domain name and email ties?) that didn't require a Yahoo! ID then you'd really be able to accomplish alot.

But that's just me.

on March 27, 2006 11:28 AM
# Michael Moncur said:

One word: Wiki.

I've been on several mailing lists that clumsily set up their own, why not make it part of the offering. Yahoo already has the memberships to prevent most of the abuse.

on March 27, 2006 11:44 AM
# Hashim said:

Yahoo Groups is good enough and works well for me.

on March 27, 2006 11:44 AM
# Saul said:

Above all: Search.
Why in a search company can't I search through all the messages in a group in an easy way?

on March 27, 2006 11:54 AM
# Dru Nelson said:


Hi Jeremy,

As a former eGroups employee, I'm glad to see you guys
publicly recognize groups and look for ways to improve
it.

Most of the limitations on the current groups systems
were resources... not enough engineers and infrastructure
to support the services you see on the web today.

I look forward to the improvements that come.

on March 27, 2006 11:57 AM
# Elizabeth Grigg said:

Permissions! This isn't 1999, Yahoo's job should be increasing usage of the site and not forcing people to get yahoo accounts. Definitely want to allow people bonded to other "accounts" to see the files, postings, calendar, according to moderator preference.

Make the calendar inherit the functionality delivered in the personal accounts. Re-define using the calendar as an action that results in keeping the group alive. Look beyond a place to manage e-mail accounts. Look into family support. Many people share a yahoo account in order to do a family calendar. This is wrong - they should use groups.

Financial tools like a checking account register

E-vite integration

on March 27, 2006 11:58 AM
# Kartik said:

RSS feeds, much more ability to change the design and interface looks, Photo management has to improve too.. would like to see tagging system for posts and photos..
I havent seen the calendar properly, but it would be nice to have the ability to synchonize it with a PDA(Blackberry or something like that).
Another really cool feature would be a scribble pad made using AJAX.. so that people can do something interesting...

on March 27, 2006 11:59 AM
# James Day said:

Jeremy,

"I'm a member of more than 30 mailing lists" may be an interesting disconnect. I'm not a "member" of a mailing list, generally. I'm a reader or sometimes participant in them. That Groups requires a membership model instead of a list subscription model is unfortunate for this type of interaction, IMO.

I agree that there's great merit in a richer product but what about the mailing lists product? Will that be polluted with unnecessary and inappropriate features?

I'm already reluctant to sign up for lists hosted at Yahoo because of the "Groups" instead of "subscription" approach it takes.

Seems to me that a split may be the most useful approach, since there are two distinct products here.

Joe,

My desire to read a mailing list at times I choose is very unrelated to my desire to have someone able to instantly contact me via Messenger or know whether I'm online at any particular time.

on March 27, 2006 12:07 PM
# Joe Hunkins said:

Glad to see others note permissions issues. I think even modest sign-up requirements are bigger barriers to entry than generally thought. I also think Myspace is your key resource for implementation and community building guidelines.

No Advertising? As a publisher and one who likes great services at no charge I favor ad based models, so perhaps consider rev share with the GROUP via YPN OR maybe a "donation to charity" model where revenues for a group go to a cause it can choose. For some groups this would be a perfect match (cancer survivors to cancer research, etc)

on March 27, 2006 12:09 PM
# Jeremy Wright said:

I guess boiling down a bit. It should be My Yahoo, but for groups. And hell, while we're redesigning services, My Yahoo needs a massive, massive, massive overhaul.

on March 27, 2006 12:26 PM
# AV said:

You are right about sprinkling functionality from various services. So, here goes :-
- Conversations like gmail.
- RSS feeds of groups as another way to read group mails.
- An automatic web-site created for the group. Something like mygroup_name.yahoogroups.com?

on March 27, 2006 12:52 PM
# Josh Woodward said:

How about the ability to subscribe to a group without being forced to clutter your personal calendar with their junk? There's one I want to be on, but I can't figure out how to keep that off.

And the message board software, which is probably the most important part, is terrible. A modern forum-style interface would be huge.

on March 27, 2006 12:54 PM
# Karl said:

Great that you are doing this Jeremy.

1. Let me map a domain or subdomain to the group.
2. Let me change stylesheets that define the look of the group.
3. Let me share membership/permissions with a Wiki and group blog composed from group members.

Jeremy Wright's suggestions at the top of this thread are musts.

on March 27, 2006 01:23 PM
# Jim Howard said:

Our flying club uses our Yahoo egroup extensively. The big problem we have is that we've run out of storage for files.

Heck, we'd pay Yahoo something to have more storage and maybe ad-free mailings, but I don't know if that's possible.

While you are fixing Yahoo, could you please add an option to Messenger to ignore incoming messages that contain urls from people not on my friends list? That would filter most of the spambots that currently ruin Yahoo chat for human users.

on March 27, 2006 01:25 PM
# Moultrie Creek said:

Categories or tags for all components - messages, calendar, links, files, etc. Search everything. RSS everything. Membership for posting, but allow the admin to make whatever features they want open to the public. Use RSS to pull selected content into 360 - or other blogs.

on March 27, 2006 01:26 PM
# Matt Terenzio said:

SSE enabled feeds like here:

http://skinnyfarm.com

on March 27, 2006 01:30 PM
# cooper said:

1. A good threaded web-only, threaded "work like PHPBB" interface to the message list.

2. Group-specific member profile pages.

3. Group-specific basic templating/wrapping.

4. Adding of views/reports against the database functionality.

5. DNS pointer support.

6. Calendaring w/RSVP

This all goes to a very specific usage pattern that I think there is a lot of promise in someone supporting, and that is the little gaming clan/guild/associate page. Right now people are cobbling together these pages from tons of free hosting things that offer one piece of the puzzle. Yahoo Groups actually HAS all the components needed, they are just kind of locked up in a limited mailing list + stuff nobody uses kind of model. Really with some basic "Customize my group home page" functionality, a better non-email (and threaded) access to the message lists, and a little more flexibility with the "Database", it could swallow up these kinds of sites wholesale.

on March 27, 2006 01:51 PM
# nearlY! said:

I wrote up a few ways to revamp Yahoo Groups at http://www.indospectrum.com/blog/2006/03/27/how-to-revamp-yahoo-groups/

Good to see Yahoo thinking aloud. It's disappointing sometimes that there is such terrific value locked up in many Yahoo properties but is allowed to stagnate.

on March 27, 2006 02:12 PM
# Ryan said:

Saul is absolutely correct -- search should be priority #1.

For a great example, try a search within the messages on the Group GtD_Palm, a group about Getting Things Done, David Allen's popular book about time management. This is a very active group about how to best implement the GTD system on a Palm PDA:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GtD_Palm/?yguid=206849191

Try searching for, say, "ShadowPlan Mac" in that group (ShadowPlan is an outliner for the Palm often used to implement GTD) and see how it works. You can basically only search about 20 of the 20k messages at a time, then you have to click to search more of the messages, over and over.

Not only that, but the search engine does not appear to tokenize along word boundaries, so the above search turns up a message with the word "emacs" as the first hit right now.

on March 27, 2006 02:30 PM
# Ryan said:

Sorry, I meant to type that "you can only search about 200 of the 20k messages," not "20 of the 20k messages."

on March 27, 2006 02:32 PM
# kosso said:

I posted something i little while ago about Y!Groups
http://kosso.wordpress.com/2006/02/19/yahoo-groups-opml-reading-lists/

Basically, I would like an OPML file listing all the groups I'm subbed to so I can hook them up into a NewsReader/Grazer to create a 'River Of News' type display.

I say 'grazer' as I dont want to aggregate the feeds per se in an inbox stylee (embolden/count on update) - I want to 'browse' items in my Y!Groups 'reading list' (I can search already, natch)

These day, I'm not aggregating feeds so much at all - I'm browsing and grazing as opposed to the 'fill your inbox' option.

Will all the feeds I read htese days, the thought of many emboldened feeds in an email inbox style to look through makes me shudder - I like browsing. I feel like I have more control.

My tuppence.

on March 27, 2006 02:47 PM
# said:

What's missing?

*real time collaboration*. Or a kind of shared white-board if you wish. Allow communities to solve their problems by collaborating together.

Allow "stay-at-home" employee to perform their work in real-time with their office colleagues.

No fancy stuff required for a start! An outliner, instant-IM of some sort, ***all within the web browser***

After that, you can add many more services:

You shouldn't see the desktop comming to the web, but the opposite: Yes! No matter how obvious this looks once you get to the "Aha!" what we need now is a way to collaborate IN REAL TIME from WHATEVER place in the world we reside at. A kind of "Lotus Same Meeting" but for the Web!

on March 27, 2006 02:56 PM
# vishi gondi said:

Solve the egroups space problem and leave it alone.

Start a new service where no privacy for IM presence, calendar, contacts, etc is the default.

on March 27, 2006 03:27 PM
# TechMBA said:

#1. Search!
I want to be able to search messages in my group.

We can talk about a thousand things later, but first, let us have a functional group.

on March 27, 2006 03:32 PM
# Andrew said:

A search function that actually works!

Currently it sucks eggs.

That's it.

on March 27, 2006 03:40 PM
# Mookie Kong said:

Ajaxify the interface.

Integrate the features with Yahoo! 360.

Better SPAM filtering.

More storage (or option to purchase more).

Better customization of the UI (ala Yahoo! 360 with skins/themes).

on March 27, 2006 05:40 PM
# Long ago Y! said:

Could you make it work like trn?

on March 27, 2006 05:42 PM
# David Evans said:

Atom/OPML
2006-era tools and interface.
Custom CSS
Better targeted ads instead of the filler junk.
Some Ajax functionality to spiffify the UI and experience.
Wiki
Messenger integration.

on March 27, 2006 06:03 PM
# Robert Young said:

Hey Jeremy,

Like many commentors have already suggested, the most obvious enhancement to offer is a browser-based feed syndication format (in addition to email). But as the icing on the cake, I'd add one more piece of functionality... integrate www.AllPeers.com so Group participants can privately share media files. I think the type of folks who use Y! Groups would find that kind of feature incredibly useful and cool.

on March 27, 2006 06:04 PM
# Russell Gum said:

tags and the ability to selectively block certain tags as well as certain members posts

much better search

opml organized by topics like a threaded list

an on topic/off topic rating system

a rating system for the most read posts for the last week, month, year

on March 27, 2006 07:10 PM
# Nick D said:

I want to invite everyone in one of my Yahoo Groups to Flickr, and I want them to make is possible to join with one click. Here is the thing. I have all of my aunts, uncles and cousins in a Yahoo group. Some of them e-mail HUGE pic files to the group, and don't understand that it is going to take someone who has dial up a day to download it. So, I tired to get them to use Flickr, but only two joined. Since the pics are family, I want them to be private, family only. And, maybe the option to post a notification to the group automatically when new photos are uploaded.

How about this: Yahoo Groups Open AIP!

on March 27, 2006 07:45 PM
# Nick D said:

I mean API.

on March 27, 2006 07:46 PM
# Vinayak said:

Have a feature where a user can download the group messages which were exchanged before he joined the group.

on March 27, 2006 08:04 PM
# Fabio said:

As a moderator, I would like more flexibility in the permission system. I would like some users to be able to post attachments, some others not to be able or only to be able to post files less then a specified size.

It is also difficult to explain the difference between a mail subscription and a web subscription (and why they should get a yahoo id).

An API would be great as well as more RSS feeds (for new users or for database, e.g.)


on March 27, 2006 08:43 PM
# John K said:

Yahoo groups is great for organizing small/medium groups already, baseball teams, clubs, etc. Whatever you do, don't screw it up by adding a bunch of tagging and Web2.0 collaborative crap that ordinary soccer moms have no idea how to use.

Make it easier. Fix the search. Add more storage. Make it faster. Integrate maps. Integrate with Flickr. Simplify.

Keep the interface consistent with My Yahoo and the rest of Yahoo... i.e. when the My Yahoo calendar is Ajax-ified, integrate that.

Don't invent a bunch of stuff that's unique to groups, though, because the people in my groups will just find it confusing and will do less with groups if it's more complex.

on March 27, 2006 09:37 PM
# grumpY! said:

agree with John K, most yahoo group users don't care about web2 fluff non-features like tagging.

first thing, whatever you want to do to groups, you are seriously short of headcount. so combine the teams from geocities, answers, 360, message boards and groups to build a community messaging platform. this is a key yahoo failing - ten groups of two developers building little crap sites instead of one group of twenty. and it shows in the glacial pace of development for most of these sites.

combining development group would also address the cost issue. i doubt yahoo is going to fund a major rewrite of groups with looming "denominator management" in the offing with the share price down. costs matter. a revamped groups site is going to make about as much money as groups does today. there is no case for much more headcount operating the way we do today. you get the headcount by combining functionality on platforms and merging teams.

it seems most of the requests people have a straightforward. no one really wants "groupr". combine teams, build a superior platform, and let it make money for a while. the last part is important. it isn't making money if you are constantly rewriting it.

on March 27, 2006 10:28 PM
# Julian Bond said:

Fundamentals.
- Nobody (Nobody!) has successfully combined the simplicity of mailing lists with the power of web conferencing systems like PHPBB. Start from mail like YahooGroups and you get a poor web interface tacked on. Start from phpBB and email handling sucks. It's time to re-think what a web+email conferencing system looks like.

Add-Ons.
- Absolutely, integrate in your existing properties. eg Merge Flickr and the photo handling.
- Think about things that can promote "GROUP". eg Group del.icio.us bookmarks. Group Blogrolls. Group Wiki. A Group Blog. Group real time chat. Group RSS aggregation. Group Amazon Wishlist.
- Make the permissions finer grained. I want to expose the mail archive, photos and files to the world but keep the calendar private.

The Killer App.
- There are vast numbers of offline clubs. eg the local Fishing, tennis, golf club. These all have the same problems. There's an overworked Secretary trying to organise group events and keep the club active. And then there's a Treasurer who hates managing the books. Provide facilities that take away those two people's pain and you open up a vast new market that is directly involved in transactions. Which means you can make money from it. So provide a mechanism to handle subscriptions and pay for events.

Annoyances.
- Running out of space. 30Mb is a joke in 2006. Deleting old archives due to lack of space is also a joke in 2006
- The adverts. I know you need them but can you make them a bit less objectionable?
- People have enormous problems with their Yahoo ID if they're not computer literate or long time users. Fix it.
- Automatically unsub people who put unsubscribe in the title or body.
- Let me stay logged in for more than 24 hours. I'd really like to be logged in forever.
- Better handling of the spammers. Let Administrators mark bad accounts as Spammers. 2 or 3 strikes and you can never sign up to a yahoogroup with that account again.

on March 27, 2006 11:06 PM
# Julian Bond said:

Three more.

- APIs, APIs, APIs.
- Tighter linking of profiles with the message interface.
- Extend Profiles to non-Yahoo properties. What's that person's, AIM, MSN, Skype address.

on March 27, 2006 11:12 PM
# Kevin Burton said:

- easy login

- new design. The current one is a pain to look at

- FULL *ajax* UI...... similar to a mail reader...

on March 27, 2006 11:19 PM
# Rob Sanheim said:

Search! Please, add search first. Then add all the web 2.0 ajaxy goodness. Get a working search feature and then allow people to subscribe w/o a yahoo account - and then you'll have decent base to grow from.

on March 27, 2006 11:20 PM
# Manoj Agarwal said:

Before geting in new features, I think the present search provided in the group should be made better. Besides, the search results from yahoo groups can be shown in yahoo web search as google does.

on March 27, 2006 11:54 PM
# Jamin said:

We've worked two years on that subject - how to merge yahoo groups features with meetup event facilities, and the results will be soon released at citycita.org.
I think spam protection, loca in yahoo groups.
If you want test the application, i will be pleased to Rendezvous you on skype and let you in meanwhile i help you discover the service in-depth.It could be a source of inspiration for us two.

jamin

on March 28, 2006 01:15 AM
# Danny said:

Make it easier to find stuff. (1) Regular search is the obvious one, it's currently very weak. But (2) tagging could help a lot too - go beyond simple reply-to/subject-line threading. In a similar vein, the ability to *explicitly* (3) link to external related resources would be very powerful.

(4) Atom Protocol support (so you could interact with the group via blog tool/aggregator) could open up a lot of benefit. Adding a (5) SPARQL endpoint would make for easy mashups.

Better (6) moderation/spam filtering would be much appreciated.

on March 28, 2006 01:19 AM
# Bill Seitz said:

Silly/small thing - on the list of MyGroups, be able to jump to a starting letter, rather than "page 5 of 10".

(Also I'll second that "search message archives" emotion.)

on March 28, 2006 05:08 AM
# Bill Seitz said:

Stripping of long quotes passages, especially in daily-digest.

on March 28, 2006 05:10 AM
# Bill Seitz said:

Until you offer a built-in wiki, you can turn messages into WikiMail. Have a default InterWiki URL-prefix (extra points for supporting *multiple* prefixes). Then when people type a CamelCase word in the body of an email, it automatically links to that page in that wiki space. (You don't have to check whether the page exists, just assume it does.)

on March 28, 2006 05:14 AM
# Eric said:

- Update it with some AJAX. The UI sucks.
- The limitations are stuck in 1999 (Heck, the service seems stuck in 1999). You should be able to offer groups storage measured in the gigabytes, not megabytes.
- Integration with Upcoming.org, Flickr, Maps, and other Yahoo services.
- Group blog, group wiki
- Fine grained permissions and roles.
- Better search.
- Some mechanism for money handling.
- BETTER SPAM FILTERING. 90% of the groups listed right now appear to be nothing more than spam.
- RSS support

on March 28, 2006 06:06 AM
# John Handelaar said:

1. API. API. API.

The most useful Y! Groups app I know of is unsupported by Yahoo and may even be against the TOS. It's called yahoo2mbox. An API could be used to bring mail out of a group. It could, conversely, be used to bring an mbox archive *into* a new group to enable people to migrate lists into the service.

I may not want to use it myself, but I'll bet there's no shortage of people who are downright sick of dealing with bounces and such in Mailman. Which brings me to:

2. Let me choose my own list address.

By which I mean let me send mylist@mydomain through Y! Groups. Or allow subdomain mapping.

--

The Corporate Voice says that dismantling your lock-in is bad. I say that, as with Feedburner before you, smart customers currently avoid services with lock-in and being open gets you more usage and loyalty.

on March 28, 2006 06:32 AM
# carolyn said:

After system issues of emails not going through or being delivered wildly out of synch, the files section is lame, many users can't figure out how to upload files, and the "database" is even lamer. Way too limited to be useful. It seems obvious to me that a group would want to keep track of its members, yet the database doesn't adequately serve such an administrative purpose. Many members tend to have completely non-obvious handles so that if you're searching for a particular group member and you only know their real name, forget finding them. Some groups are appropriately anonymous as to member identity, other groups, particuarly the private ones, need a way to manage their group memberships (join date, renewal date etc) Searching the archives rarely returns known archived material. The older the material is, the harder it is to find.

For the groups I moderate or am a current owner, it would be great if I could integrate yahoo groups into the organization's web site. RSS seems like fertile ground for this.

on March 28, 2006 06:55 AM
# Akilesh said:

Please fix the search...

on March 28, 2006 07:44 AM
# said:

Jeremy, go check ZoomGroups (www.zoomgroups.com), get rid of the Affiliate/Advertising stuff (not even sure why it's there), and see what features/services - IMHO - can be integrated with email groups or viceversa in a meaningful way. Yahoo could do that and some more, but if you "integrate" too much stuff you'd kill it. (NOTE: ZG interface reminds me of Yahoo 5 years ago, I'm not suggesting to "get inspired by" the UI, but at some of the features and integrated services)...

on March 28, 2006 08:09 AM
# Adrian Lee said:

A few years ago (beginning of 2000) I found what was quite a good Yahoo! Club (before they became groups). I was just starting to learn about web design, and more importantly, how to get people to visit a site I was helping someone with at the time.

It was great, a small community of helpful people, generally just using it as a forum. It wouldn't of worked if it was very busy, but back then, it wasn't. I learnt a lot.

Then we got shunted over to Groups. Not long after that we got fed up and set up Cre8asite Forums instead. Now a fairly popular forum. We did that because we all got pretty pissed off with Yahoo! Groups.
It wasn't a communication point anymore. There were more ads everywhere. Every few page few was an ad, we'd go to read a post, get an ad page and a click here to continue.

Annoying, really annoying. We got very fed up with how in our faces it was. We left around the end of August 2002 to set up Cre8asite forums (the club/group was called cre8pc) in phpBB2, now powered with Invision.
I've never looked at Yahoo! Groups since, I don't know that many of my colleagues who made the move at the same time have either. You had us, we were making good use of the tool. You screwed up the tool, lost our trust.

It may have improved since, the ads may not be as in your face, I've moved to Broadband since then, so it should run faster too, but honestly, why should I try Yahoo! Groups again?

They should probably should be MySpace for groups.
Can't say I'd use it, but some other people might.

on March 28, 2006 08:38 AM
# Brian Duffy said:

Make the messageboard not suck.

The Yahoo message board model is really awkward... make it like PHPBB or something that makes it easier to thread conversations.

on March 28, 2006 08:52 AM
# Dougal Campbell said:

I feel some empathy with those who complain about the need to sign up for a Yahoo! account. While I can certainly understand from the company's viewpoint the desire to get some "lock-in", there are lots of people who will simply not join a group, rather than go through the trouble to register for Yet Another Service, especially when it comes to something as basic as mailing lists.

That said, I think that evolving Groups to a new level would be a Good Thing. Y! has so many interesting offerings, and many of them are isolated from the others. You've got all the ingredients for some awesome service mashups, it's time to start brainstorming and experimenting!

on March 28, 2006 09:31 AM
# BillyG said:

I joined a Group about 6 months ago only to recv the emails and when I went to search thru the earlier postings, it totally sucked so I wound up leaving the Group. I tried again about 2-3 months ago; 5 mins later, I knew I was never going back.

From a search company, who'd a thunk it?

on March 28, 2006 10:31 AM
# Joseph Hunkins said:

Wow - if Groups builds the ap described collectively here...it's going to be fantastic!

on March 28, 2006 10:44 AM
# kerri Hallbeck said:

I would like the ability to sort posts. Liek for Freecycle I'd like to be able to sort items so that I can see what was offered, taken, wanted and received.

I'd like to be able to have my signature appear on messages posted from the group.

From the files section I'd like to be able to say send this message now. Not every 2 weeks, or anything else, just now.
I want to be able to go from allowing anonymous members (no showing email addresses) to disallowing them. I understand that I may have to remove all members with no email address visable, but the ability should be there.

on March 28, 2006 01:58 PM
# n3td3v said:

I'm going to put this blog entry on Digg.com

on March 28, 2006 04:20 PM
# Deb said:

AS a moderator I would like to have the ability to edit a post AFTER it has been posted to the board.
FIX THE SEARCH!!

on March 28, 2006 04:54 PM
# Randall Neff said:

Turn Yahoo Groups into a virtual community with a 3D graphics environment. BUT, use VOIP technology so that members can actually talk (you know, with their mouths) to other members. Write software so the avatars can lip sync. Each group has a club house that can be customized. Members can leave text, photos, images, videos, podcasts, 3D objects, etc. in the club house. Still support existing access and GUIs; add RSS feeds for changes.
Could use Croquet (http://www.opencroquet.org/) or just buy out 'There' (http://www.there.com) in San Mateo.

on March 28, 2006 08:22 PM
# word_man said:

I own and run several yahoo groups including a Freecycle. The one feature I could use urgently is a Memo field adjacent to each member name. Even if it was just 40 characters, I could keep track of why I placed someone on moderation, or even what town they're from if they failed to place that information in their group message. A good parallel example would be ebay, where notes can be placed on any item being watched.

on March 28, 2006 08:26 PM
# Frank Mash said:

Hey Jeremy,

API Support would be really nice along with the ability to tag posts both when creating posts and when reading them.

Frank

on March 28, 2006 09:51 PM
# Mike Woodhouse said:

Well, search should go without saying, but I'll say it again anyway.

Beyond that, look at groups then look at what helps them. Starting from a feature, however obvious (mailing lists, say) constrains thinking and reduces the chance to deliver something truly compelling.

Whatever it turns out to be, find some features that can be paid for (like removing the ads). I could be completely wrong here, but I think people are more comfortable with paying for web services that they value these days.

While I think most likely activities would be asynchronous I really like the whiteboard idea: another win for my Tablet PC?

on March 29, 2006 12:47 AM
# cory said:

Please do something about the horrid pastel colors. The light blue and magenta, while cute and trendy is hard to read.

If you want to think in terms of "aps" and code. Give us a way to set those or override the idiotic default themes.

Also better tools for booting spammers would be nice.

There's an amomaly that I don't understand. A spammer on one of my lists is posting three jpgs using the identity of regulars. He does this about once a day. Yahoo does not show enough trace-log info that I can tell what's happening.

==========================

Re: Latest requirements in a US based SEI CMMLevel 5 company attheir
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Subject: Re: Latest requirements in a US based SEI CMMLevel 5 company attheirChennai,Pune and Gurgaon offices ravi_amp1
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on March 29, 2006 02:15 AM
# Richard Fairhurst said:

Less clicking. I can read an entire thread in Google Groups in the time it takes to read two messages in Yahoo Groups.

Better searching within groups, obviously. Also, better searching _for_ groups. I lose track of the number of times I've known that a group exists but have failed to find its URL by searching.

Fix the bug that causes broken word-wrap when replying to a message (on the web) using Safari 1.3. At present I have to manually insert CRs to avoid this.

RSS feeds, again obviously.

Why do I have to have a UI in French if I'm reading a group hosted by yahoo.fr? Can't I get the same messages but with yahoo.com/.co.uk around the edges?

And I wish it didn't ask me to sign in quite so often!

on March 29, 2006 02:26 AM
# evariste said:

1. The search. Jesus, Yahoo, you're a search company. Why is Yahoo! Groups search so atrociously bad?

2. The RSS feeds. They're crap. Give us full-content feeds.

3. The wording of "Prev" and "Next" is confusing when browsing a group. "Older" and "Newer", please.

on March 29, 2006 11:48 AM
# Dave Kovensky said:

It's great that you brought this subject up, Jeremy, it's something I've been thinking about a lot recently. Yahoo! Groups is a good service but is missing out in some areas. I tend to agree with part at least of what Randall Neff wrote:

"Each group [should have] a club house that can be customized. Members can leave text, photos, images, videos, podcasts, 3D objects, etc. in the club house."

What we really need is interrelated "club houses", i.e. spaces to leave text, photos, multimedia files etc., and tagging so everyone can trace everyone else's and find "what's related". I looked into several solutions not long ago, ended up with Flikr for photos and eSnips for a general solution for files of any sort. Now add integrated blogs and RSS, like eSnips has, and you get a "club house" where both organized groups and "ad hoc" associations of people can share and discuss things in one space or in spaces owned by different people with their contents linked together by tags.

So I figure Yahoo needs to expand in the direction of something that combines the current groups functionality with esnips and flickr.

on March 29, 2006 12:19 PM
# Annie said:

As a Yahoo group moderator, I feel when I am sending a message whether its via the "Message Post" option or the "Members", "Send Message" option, I should be able to send the message to more than one address! Yahoo Groups automatically inserts one "To:" email address. I often want to copy the messages I send to the other Moderators or my own email account for my record keeping.

on March 29, 2006 07:51 PM
# Matt said:

Get rid of the storage limitations. Or, if that's not feasable, give us a way to buy our way out of them with cash.

Bring back the "non-members can do everything except post messages" option that used to exist. Forcing people to join the group just to access the multimedia content is insane. (Or at least it's insane in the context of the group I used to run.)

Lose the "no emails for X days means the group is inactive and should be deleted" policy...if you're going to make these just email lists with multimedia, then I can do better on my own server, and if you're going to make it a web-centric application it makes no bloody sense to ignore web traffic and focus only on email.

Change these things and folks like me might stop shutting down our Yahoo groups and trying to reimplement Yahoo on our own servers.

on March 30, 2006 01:47 AM
# Efrat Moshkoviz said:

From what I've seen, it seems to me that one of the biggest problems with Yahoo! Groups is the lack of effective support for sharing different types of files and media. It is partly a storage issue and partly a usability issue. I do the marketing at eSnips and am seeing a growing number of Yahoo! Groups that use our service for this purpose. A few of them have moved all their activities to eSnips.

on March 30, 2006 12:19 PM
# jimmy james said:

We are based out of Gold Coast Australia Thats the reason we avoid checks, they are expensive MikesnewsBlog here in Australia and time consuming. If you really need them though mikeslotteryblog and I'll see to it personally that we do the checks for you. Mikescasinoblog.

on March 30, 2006 04:32 PM
# ella said:

Hi,all,I also have a site offers free web access to newsgoups under big8 hierarchy, posting requires free registration.If you are interested at newsgroup,welcome to come!

on March 30, 2006 10:13 PM
# John said:

I would like to see site customization - i.e. - a lot of the intranet / extranet functionality on the website has not really changed since Yahoo! bought eGroups.

A lot of organizations (I think) use Groups to have their email lists, but then have a seperate website to host their stuff. There is an opportunity to have customization and integration of Groups functionality into, lets say, GeoCities / Yahoo! hosting

I agree with the comment posted earlier:
"It's disappointing sometimes that there is such terrific value locked up in many Yahoo properties but is allowed to stagnate."

Reminds me of your frustration with Yahoo! Finance vs. Google Finance.

John

on April 2, 2006 11:17 AM
# Mike Macgirvin said:

Get back to the core strengths. Most people use Yahoo groups as a mailing list. Period. Capitalize on the strengths.

The second reason for groups is access control.
Nobody is doing this. At least nobody is doing it right. They are all building out group 'spaces' which are subsets of the portal. There's no reason for this if groups are implemented as ACL's rather than application clusters. Then you don't need a group space. Everything is a group space. Group portfolios. Shared mailboxes. Shared photo albums. Shared weblogs. Shared event calendars. Every web app should allow a group as an access property - just as they would allow a 'user'.

A few years ago, everybody had to have groups on their portal. I know. I was a development manager for AOL groups. Do you tie it into pictures? File managers? Yada, yada, yada. These days it's Ajax. (Because Ajax does chat rooms.) Weblogs. Feeds. Search. Tie it into the other corporate web properties. Make it sticky.

Been there, done that.

If there's a reason to go back and do it right, the thing to do is to get rid of all the excess cruft and just offer a mailing list manager.

The second way to do it right is to build it into the permission system and build out from there. If you do this, there won't be a group 'space' per se, with static copies of a few apps that have been made group friendly. The entire application space should be group friendly.

If you go down this road, you'll find two types of groups. The static list of members, and the dynamic list. Think of it as a search function. The Sunnyvale FreeCycle group could include any Yahoo member with a Sunnyvale zip code.

on April 3, 2006 11:51 PM
# subhash said:

Why do i get virus mails in yahoo groups with attachments .HQX file and 3 jpg image and the sender is being one of the group member ?

Yahoo must be aware of this bug and has to cure this as early as possible.

on April 5, 2006 06:55 AM
# Scott Johnston said:

I want it to be this: http://familysite.jot.com

on April 11, 2006 06:39 PM
# Marcus Widerberg said:

1. RSS feeds. That are useful. (ie full, not like the current funny version)
2. Even better: NNTP gateway. But I guess that is asking too much.
3. Reading without logging in. Yahoo is sooo 90's, it's embarrasing.
4. Like many say: Reading is so slow you can read a couple of threads at google in the same time yuo read a couple of messages at yahoo.

Sadly, so many good groups are at yahoo, despite the silly state of the "solution".

on April 17, 2006 09:57 AM
# Rahul said:

Think of a problem and Jeremy has already given it some thought :)

I came to this blog by a google search... basically I am looking for phpbb type of a website which I can use to store *private* notes, articles and so on...

I used to use Yahoo groups many years back and now my fastmail mailbox but editing and re-editing those notes,articles is a problem. Privacy is my main concern.

The only option I can think of now is to get a hosting space and password protect my site but it can still be risky ?

Has the Web 2.0 crowd come up with any application which might serve my needs ? Writely was very very close to what I wanted ...

Thanks

Rahul

on April 21, 2006 03:10 AM
# Michael said:

I have been a moderator and owner of many yahoo groups (egroups) for at least 8 years.

This week for some reason yahoo decided to terminate 8 diferent yahoo groups with the conbined subscription of over 8,000.

Our moderators have contacted Yahoo customer service to find out what prompted their actions. And Yahoo sends back generic responses about guidelines and TOS.

If a group of volunteers spend 7 or more years developing a community service for thousands of subscribers and carefully moderating every posting daily. Then out of the blue find everything gone.

What suggestions does anyone here have is trying to resolve this matter. My fellow co-moderators would either like to have our messageboards reinstated or retrieve our subscription lists from each messageboard. And hear the actual reason for Yahoo's actions to prevent further occurances.

Any suggestions on how to resolve?

PS. None of my fellow moderators have encounter this problem before. WE all think Yahoo Groups has offered a great tool. And like any tool improvements need to evolve. So better customer support is what I am suggesting.

Thanks

on April 22, 2006 03:05 AM
# Nick D said:

Ask Josh, Stewart, and some Adaptive Path people to design it. Their interface with your data will go great together. Or get 37 Signals books Defensive Design for the Web and their e-book Getting Real.

For Michael's case, I say a really easy upgrade would be to no delete groups that were have gone for 7 years, and just have some more diplomatic policies. What a great way to keep people from using the service, and opt for a younger startup's competing service that would never think of doing something like this.

on May 9, 2006 02:07 PM
# Filippo said:

As many others have already stated, the response is simply "API".
Publish your APIs, sit down, and let the people experiment and come up with new and interesting features.

on May 15, 2006 02:54 AM
# Nick D said:

Actually, you guys have a really good UI team. Forget the Adaptive Path comment.

on May 15, 2006 10:47 AM
# John Porter said:

#1 I would be willing to pay a modest montly fee to avoid the members of my groups receiving advertising.

#2 Is there a YahooGroup for Moderators? I need lots of help. JPJMPJMP@JUNO.COM

Thanks,

John

on May 21, 2006 10:38 PM
# Michael Martinez said:

You want to improve Yahoo! Groups?

Get rid of the ads and the spam.

Before Yahoo! goes and throws more stuff into the mix, it needs to clean up the garbage. Yahoo! Groups is almost unusable now because discussion is sidelined by all the advertising.

on June 16, 2006 01:20 PM
# m said:

i got a question. how do you turn in a group that is at a particular addy that doesnot exist? also, is there such a thing as email fraud?

on June 17, 2006 01:01 PM
# Pramod Biligiri said:

Sorry to comment so late but I'm reading this only now. I have a small feature request:
Every Yahoo groups message has a URL. Can you put the URL somehere in the email itself, at least for public groups? If I find an email interesting, I can share it easily by passing on the link to someone. Currently I have to go to the web based archive and find the permalink.

on June 28, 2006 12:26 PM
# Matej Cepl said:

RFC 2369 and RFC 2919 -- they are from 1998 and 2001 respectively and Yahoo! Groups still require special methods for filtering (put here a lot of obscene and angry comments about your Mailing-List: header, which among other things breaks X- limitation for non-standardized headers).

on June 29, 2006 04:11 AM
# Bill Seitz said:

I also find it (reading msgs via web) rather slow.

And finding a group that you're a member of is a huge pain. (You need a search function of group names and descriptions.)

And the way that the Search function only goes through a small number of past msgs, then makes you hit SearchOlder button to search the next small batch, etc. is quite irritating.

on July 7, 2006 11:14 AM
# said:

....I just want to ask u that how do you rank groups in Yahoo, ...there are groups that have whole lot of spam messages irrelevant to the theme of a particular group,even then they are on top and groups which are private thus to avoid spammers to put message in, are finding somewhere in the bottom of list.

I m talkin about ranks we get when user search by putting keyword in it - Like real estate in search bar and what comes.

on July 9, 2006 09:26 PM
# Nienna Nir said:

First let me say that I've been a memeber of various yahoo groups for close to a decade now. So far back that I can scarcely remember the first group I signed up for.

The most wonderful thing that Yahoo could do to make Yahoo Groups better is to make them work correctly.

For close to two months now one of my groups has had problems with post delays. Most turn up within a couple hours some have disappeared entirely. As the group owner I've lost track of the number of support requests I sent to Customer Care. In any case no human has ever answered me. The problem continues to grow worse with no sign of abatement and no chance of getting help. All of the great new features and all of the wonderfully exciting upgrades don't mean a thing if the core purpose of a group doesn't function. And it's impossible to cary on a discussion when responses and questions take hours and even days to surface.

Improve the quality of Customer Care first and foremost.

on July 13, 2006 12:51 PM
# Rebecca Pack said:

I would love Yahoo! groups to be more collaborative with other groups and individual accounts. I find it silly that for as lone as RSS has been around that I cannot submit other group and personal calendars into their cal feature. I find it even more annoying that I cannot use iCal feeds. We thrive on author chats--wouldn't it be nice if all the authors could post their chats to our calendar by using a simple RSS feed? I'd love it! Yahoo! why not???

on August 5, 2006 09:50 AM
# DM said:

How about more storage. They have a 1 gig file storage in their free webmail but only20mb on the yahoo groups.

on August 6, 2006 09:37 PM
# Robin said:

I would like to be able to combine existing Yahoo! ID's. Is this even possible...orig... did them seperately? It would be nice to be able to access all groups from both Yahoo! ID's
Thanks.

on August 8, 2006 03:04 PM
# Yves Duwelz said:

Hello,

What a good idea to think to upgrading Yahoogroup.

Yahoogroup was (maybe no more is) a perfect tool to communicate with members, friends all over the world but today, as a moderator of 2 yahoogroup, I think this great service is in great danger.

- What ever you do as a moderator you receive every day at least 5 (someday 20) spam to moderate. Spam, any 5 cent system can filter. Although the peoples at Yahoogroup say they install an antispam solution, this tool is not working at all.
- Support : you can report abuse, five minutes later you receive the same spam again...
- Enhancement : Are the peoples at Yahoogroup interrested in enhancing their product ? I am not sure, with a lot of other ones, when you send a message with a question or a suggestion you receive an answer (not by a robot) in a 24 h delay (esnips is fantastic for me in this aera, quick, clear, efficent answer).
- Admin tool : the least to say is it is tricky to understand if you decide to use A, then you cannot do f and g but if you choose g, then you close option f ... wel ... not easy for lambda user

My conclusion there is a strong need for a solution as Yahoogroup, the questions are :

Is yahoo interested with staying in this market ?
Is yahoo interested to learn from user experiences and to make the wizard better ?
Must we wait until Googlegroup solve the problem for yahoo taking the place ?

Many thanks for the initiative and I hope some of the idea expressed here will find application in Yahoogroup or elsewhere.

Yves

on August 10, 2006 01:41 AM
# Shannon said:


I'd like to be able to pump a series of RSS feeds into my yahoo group, as the group owner. That way, I can effortlessly provide my group with the latest news related to our topic.

on August 16, 2006 12:24 PM
# Stephen Yale said:

Customisable templates for emails.

Specifically, Freecycle groups demand a location (Zip code). Typing the Zip in the Zip box would automatically add a hyperlink into the body of the email with the yahoo map location.

Drop down boxes for certain elements (Offer|Wanted|Taken|Received).

This would then allow a better search because structured elements would be used to build the email.

Regards,
Stephen

on September 5, 2006 12:53 PM
# cwwinson said:

Well, I use yahoogroup extensively.
My hope is to have a better group allowing me to set a customize frontpage and navigation.
More flexible theme like Yblog.
a voicemail in message board
Powerful footnotes enabling attachment of flash, html, shopping cart links. not only for the owner, but every member.

the subgroup enabling collaboration that duplicate and controlling downward.

These all are the needs of our internet communities


best,
cwwinson

on October 24, 2006 02:25 AM
# said:

Do any one of u know how to search groups on yahoo which dont moderate the emails.

on January 9, 2007 05:42 AM
# Nick D said:

Any updates on this project, Jeremy? I had another idea. I want my groups home page to look like an RSS reader for all of my groups, regardless of weather the group has an RSS feed enabled. So either a module style (Netvibes or Pagefles) or river of news style is fine with me.

on January 19, 2007 09:23 PM
# said:

Yahoo Groups is currently experiencing a meltdown of sorts which started on January 25th. Yahoo Groups members are hopping mad. There is a huge email backlog with messages taking hours to days to show up on the groups.

See the Yahoo Groups Team Blog for more information

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/y_groups_team?p=561

on January 27, 2007 08:58 AM
# Peter said:

I would love to have API access to Yahoo groups, mainly for the email list functionality, but also so I could include a Yahoo Groups widget into my social networking site. That would be slammin. I want to be able to create groups, set them to private, add/update/remove members - everything - all from the API. I'd even pay for it.

Hoping Google Groups does the same.

I just looked at a bunch of email marketing providers - that's a huge business.

on January 28, 2007 05:19 AM
# Greg said:

I own several Yahoo groups and find them very useful. But I tried to set one up last week for a local group of non-techno-savvy people and they all objected to having to acquire a YahooID.
As well, they didn't want to see all the davertising.

I had to delet the group -- nobody would use it.

Fix those two problems and I'll be back.

on February 27, 2007 07:13 PM
# said:

How do you group messages in a yahoogroup, say according to subject matter?

ty, bob

on March 22, 2007 01:34 AM
# robin said:

Not sure if this is still an active discussion, but I surely hope some of these ideas come to fruition soon.

Several people have posted about the need for one RSS feed for all groups in which you are a member. Excellent idea! Also, please, please, please, there needs to be RSS feeds available for membership groups, too. I'm drowning in stuff to read as it is. ;-)

Groups which are private/require memberships, should have RSS capability, too. Having said all of that, whatever social networking site comes a long next from yahoo (mash, whatever), I sure hope it allows me to integrate both private content (that I only see when logged in) and public content.

robin

on October 29, 2007 11:51 AM
# Andy Swarbrick said:

Over the last year a new company Grouply has added "social networking" (tagging, rating, favourites etc) front end to Yahoo Groups, and supposedly support for Google Groups in early 2008.

They also have their own SmartDigest which is a kind of better form of the Daily Digest. This is kinder to other members of groups since the DD, in the wrong hands actually destroys thread integrity, whereas SmartDigest maintains thread integrity since replies are always done "properly". (Note this is riding on my pet hate of Daily Digest, so I will stop my rant here and now before I go on and bore you for 10 hours!)

If you want to give Grouply a go visit http://www.grouply.com/register.php?r=203203 and we both can get a chance in their pre-Christmas iPod competition, or just go to www.grouply.com.

on December 12, 2007 09:46 AM
# Brian said:

Notification.

Subscribe to a single thread, and get an email when someone responds in that thread.

PLEASE.

on January 29, 2008 08:31 AM
# Organizing Fetishist said:

Yahoo Groups does not allow me to take my personal yahoo calendar, from my yahoo, and then post it to the Yahoo Group I've created.

This is inefficient and defeats the purpose. I want my calendar as a parent and business person, to be available to certain people---wife. I want her , in the group to then use my calendar, as the basis for family planning.

Pros: My calendar in myyahoo is intact, no changes
Pros: My calendar is a template for Group--no starting from zero
Pros: My wife can add to this calendar and we both look at the Yahoo group calendar as our family calendar.
Pros: I can update my personal calendar, share it with group, and it becomes an updated schedule of my life ( one way sharing)
Pros: In group, she can simply add to updated calendar without losing events she's listed.

Cons: No where in Yahoo groups does it ask if you want to share a myyahoo calendar (and then restrict access to it)

Cons: Pretty disintegrated from Yahoo. Google is getting way ahead, with the exception of easy synchronization with Microsoft.

Cons: Seems intuitive to have a way to use any Yahoo calendar, in any Yahoo application and then set level of privileges, as Yahoo already allows one to call themselves the administrator of a group.

cons: Forces use of some third party application.

Cons: Google has shared calendars, documents, administrator tier. Third party has it. MS has it over networks. Comcast just gave it for free on their system.

Why can't Yahoo, since they have best synch?

on February 27, 2008 01:47 AM
# Andy Swarbrick said:

A recent innovation for Yahoo Group power users is Grouply (www.grouply.com) which provides a Web 2.0 styled alternative interface. This means you can see activity in similar groups as one email.

on September 11, 2008 08:32 AM
# Stephen said:

If Yahoo groups is going to move forward as a place where people can get their information it's seriously lacking in a couple of areas.

1.)We need to be able to have the ability to subscribe to RSS even if the messages are not marked public. Some moderators don't want their groups public because as a non-member of a group you can still spam users directly using their public email address from a post.

2.) Notification: If I post to a group or respond to a thread I should have the ability to continue to receive updates via email to those posts for as long as I want and then have the ability to unsubscribe to that post when I want.

3.) Pictures: Give us the ability to create a scrapbook, where we can gather all the posts, pictures and files from all of our favorite groups in one place. Many times we see something that we want to remember and need to reference it, some of us have to either copy/paste into another application like OneNote or bookmark the link which gets very messy.

on October 17, 2008 08:56 AM
# kingofairmail said:

Type your comment here.

After you submit the comment, check your email. There will be
a link you need to click to make your comment visible.

Your email address WILL NOT appear on the site, so don't worry
about being anonymous, even if you think you are.

on July 30, 2009 10:55 PM
# Matthew Wills said:

>> I own several Yahoo groups and find them very useful. But I tried to set one up last week for a local group of non-techno-savvy people and they all objected to having to acquire a YahooID.

All they have to do is send an email to groupname-subscribe@yahoogroups.com .

on January 18, 2010 04:06 AM
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