Flickr vs Yahoo sign-up

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Signal vs Noise has a good piece about the replacement of Flickr's friendly, humorous and welcoming sign-up page with Yahoo's corporate infovacuum. It's particularly sad to see this happen, as social sites like Flickr rely on the number and quality of participants and it's almost certain that many of these people won't bother to make it past Yahoo's sign-up screen.

I must have created about 20 Yahoo accounts over the last few years, as there's no easy way to get a password reminder sent out. Here are the bits of information that Yahoo requires when you sign up:

Personal Information

  • First name and Last name. There's no reason for Yahoo to ask for these. Even when they might be useful, like in Flickr's profile or Yahoo Mail's outgoing emails, they're entirely optional and can be entered in the profile later on.
  • Preferred content. Again, completely unnecessary. Google picks content automatically by IP address and lets you set a preference for content if you happen to be outside your home country. Personally, I don't want any of this national content - where's the option for Yahoo World?
  • Gender. Required. Why?
  • Yahoo ID. Almost impossible to find a reasonable ID that's unique, as everyone's used them up making 20 Yahoo accounts each when they forgot their passwords. No dots, only underscores, so you can't use the same ID as on Google to make it easier to remember.

'Security' Information

  • 'Security' question. As if I'm going to give Yahoo the answer to a security question I use at the bank. I pick one at random.
  • Your answer. I use the same answer on every site, thus breaking the security of the password. Browsers don't remember lots of made-up answers to security questions, and neither do I.
  • Birthday. I use the same made-up birthday on every site, so this is getting easier to remember. Why is this for security?
  • ZIP/Postal code. Easy, it's always 90210.

Verify Your Registration

  • Some image recognition task. Fair enough, I suppose.

Terms of Service

  • Inevitable. Press I Agree.

In contrast, the only fields that are necessary for using Flickr are the ID, password and email address, then showing a profile page after sign-up allows you to set a screen name and other optional preferences.