friday-rant
Business Management

The Mail and Yahoo: A perfect and toxic match

By their friends shall ye know them: Yahoo is approaching the end game of its sale process and the surprise bidder is the Daily Mail and General Trust. Is this, as we might have asked at the wedding for Ms Jerry Hall and Mr Rupert Murdoch, a mooted marriage made in heaven or in hell?

In some ways the Mail and Yahoo are a fine match. The Mail is the despised tabloid newspaper turned global internet phenomenon. It’s become fashionable in some areas, I think, to defend the Mail because there’s such a blanket antipathy to it and because it’s fun to upset the conventional wisdom. But here at least the view of the social media majority is in tune with the truth.

The Mail in print is a dreadful collection of scare stories aimed at maintaining the fears and prejudices of right-leaning, middle-class British people. Things that will cause cancer, things that will hurt the value of your house, jingoism, a smug sense of being above the oiks, fawning to royalty, shouty ‘you couldn’t make it up’ columnists, an aching lack of interest in culture mixed with contempt for working-class people, immigrants, the downtrodden and bereft – these are its characteristic themes and memes. The online version of the Mail has more of the same plus clickbait in the shape of slebs déshabillé on beaches, the pictures topped and tailed with slabs of SEO-friendly text.

The Yahoo homepage is a similarly terrifying slough of despond for anybody with hopes for humanity and is really just a pound-shop version of the Mail. Lots of headlines that are questions, crass surveys, an obscene fascination with the famous for being famous. With this it hopes to lure us beyond its very good (but less good than it was) email service and other properties. But Yahoo’s Finance and Answers pages no longer lead their fields and properties like the Flickr photo album are dating like old Polaroids.

Yahoo is also past its best and should have sold to Microsoft when it had its chance. Now it hangs around the internet like a drunk at the end of a party, minesweeping the leftover drinks. The Mail is a verminous publication that turns half-decent people into golf-club bores because they absorb its nonsense by osmosis. May they be very happy together.

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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