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Yahoo Pipes: More down than up.

Posted on Nov 24th, 2009 by


Yahoo Pipes is a free Internet service by Yahoo, which allows you to aggregate and manipulate RSS feeds. I use them extensively for several of my aggregation sites like Humanitarian News and AidNews, to name a few.

Recently, Yahoo Pipes silently went from “Beta” to “Production”, a migration which was only noticed as the word “Beta” disappeared from their logo.

Let me correct that statement: when they went from “Beta” to “Production”, the only thing the users could notice was that their service became unreliable. Since about four weeks, users have been complaining on the Pipes discussion forum about problems saving and running their “pipes”.

Several Pipes staff are monitoring the discussion forum, and have been putting out messages in the gist of “we had a problem, but all is fixed now”, but other than that, there has been silence.

Which makes me think: how far have we, the Internet community, become reliant on free services like Pipes, or Google Apps, Google Gmail, Blogger, Flickr, Picasa, etc.. And how far do we have a say on “our rights as a consumer”?

It is not because an Internet giant like Yahoo puts out a service free for all to use, that the service is to be taken “as is”. Where are our not a “consumers’ rights” in all of this? Are we not lured into the free services, because the services are free, and when we become reliant and dependent on them, understaffed as they might be, we just “cope” with the down time? Have we, as consumers, become reluctant to demand our rights? And what is the forum of to do that?

Think of it. How many organisations, if not companies, use free Internet services provided by the “Giants”. What is our say when these services go down? What are our rights? How much longer will we cope with their downtime by saying “oh… but it is for free, so we have no right to complain?”.

Nothing is for free in this world. If a company decides to provide a certain service “for free”, than there is a certain reason for it. Either because they want our contents, they want us to develop applications based on their platforms,… But it does not mean because services are for free they should be unreliable.

This is the time to demand to these companies a certain acceptable level of service. We need to demand the right to be informed.

Yahoo Pipes: your service sucks at this moment. Get your act together!




7 Comments to “Yahoo Pipes: More down than up.”

  1. My take on this: you get what you pay for. If something is critical to what I do, I don’t use a free service. If I don’t have a choice (e.g. in the case of Twitter), I ensure that I have fallback plans — e.g. I am now getting a (paid!)subscription for Backupify.

    I don’t see how we have any ‘rights’ when it comes to free services. The only right you have is to leave e.g. Yahoo and go to the competitor (who you might need to pay for), which will impact Yahoo’s bottom line because they will get fewer clicks. You can try to influence them, but rights, no.

  2. Hank J says:

    While these sites may be free for us, the end user, google and yahoo take the numbers we provide for them, and they scan the content we enter on their services, and use it as fodder to sell their profitable products, such as adwords.
    It is in their interest to keep these sites working well, as the critical mass we provide is the very product they can leverage to advertisers.

    That being said, Michael Keizer is correct- if the service is mission critical, buy the pro account, and get on the line with their support if needed.
    Do you know of an alternative to Pipes?

    • admin says:

      @Hank:
      Don’t think there is any pro-account formula for Yahoo Pipes unfortunately. The only alternative I found is http://pipes.deri.org/ but looks even more of a hackers tool, and I don’t know how well it performs.

      I think I will make my own…

      Peter.

  3. mgingerhack says:

    i think the problem is solved now..

    • Peter says:

      Yahoo Pipes went back up after almost 3 weeks of intermittent problems. There are still problems saving new or modified Pipes, though. That problem exists since at least 2 months….

  4. Terence says:

    Let me tell you, its now October 2010 and the problems are still there!

  5. Ravishankar says:

    And they are for non commercial purposes. huh !

    They are not ready to accept money to give quality, continued service as well which spoiled the high reputation i had for yahoo pipes.

    Thank you admin i am now looking at pipes.deri

    Need to check whats the roadmap of it as an open source application, and if its promising i think il give it a try(do let us know if they have any strong support channel that you know of).

    Meanwhile kindly keep us posted on any alternative for ypipes proven to be good (irrespective of the cost factor involved)

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