Yahoo Live Is Here and Full of Creeps

Late last night Yahoo launched a live video broadcast web service – what they are calling Yahoo Live. Yahoo Live allows anyone with a webcam to stream live video to a Yahoo dedicated site. “A platform for live video,” is what Yahoo is calling it. It piggybacks on the other lifecasting sites out there, such as and UStream. The service seems to be unstable at the moment, most likely because it can’t handle the large amounts of early adopter traffic. But we didn’t seem to have that problem this morning. In fact the LAPTOP Magazine channel had more than 50 viewers within 5 minutes of its launch. Why? Well yes, people love LAPTOP Magazine and apparently love its female writers even more. But primarily it is because of Yahoo Live’s lack of obvious privacy controls. Creating your live video stream is easy. You use your Yahoo account to log-in and if you already have WebCamMax downloaded, then it simply asks you if it can access your webcam. Then without asking you if you would like to create a private channel Yahoo Live not only begins broadcasting for all to see but places your channel on the home page and in the directory.


So live video of me sitting of at my desk drinking my coffee was broadcast well beyond my small New York office. Did you know so many men were at home at 10 a.m. just watching live video in their dirty underpants? The comments in the chat box that appears next to the live video began to roll in as our channel was placed on the top of the most popular channels list. My favorite includes: “We finally find an intelligent woman with a job and all u can do is ask her to show what u mamma had and was too selfish to share.” I appreciate this attempt to defend this female tech writer. To the others that requested inappropriate actions go find yourself a blow up doll and a job.

Finally, after digging through the menus, we were able to disable the public viewing of the channel and select the “I’ll send the URL around to people that I want to see me” button.


Yahoo, you may be deciding on the fate of your Microsoft adoption today, but please put some more visible privacy options into your Yahoo Live offering before you make it the publicly available. Or perhaps I should think about suing Yahoo for embarrassment and emotional distress. They may just have $45 billion in their pockets by the end of the day.

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