First there was the telephone and it was a great invention. People could call their friends over long distances, call stores to see if they had merchandise or inquire about their hours, or call the police or fire department if they were having an emergency. This new invention was very convenient and every one rejoiced.
Then other people found that they could call you at your home and try to sell you stuff. This saved them the expense of opening a store and advertising to get you to visit the store. These telemarketers as they became known, often called at inconvenient times, were usually selling things you weren’t interested in, and generally made the phone a lot less of a convenience for you. So the phone companies came up with a solution called Caller ID. This allowed you to see who was trying to call you and you could decide if you wanted to accept the call or not. Still the telemarketers persisted. They figured out devious ways to get around the call screening. This made the phone customers very mad, and they complained loudly to the phone company.
So the phone company decided that it was too hard to figure out the problem calls on an individual basis and they needed some speedier way to decide if they would ALLOW the call to get to your home. They looked at patterns and found that a lot of telemarketers were in the 408 area code. So they decided that when anyone from the 408 area code tried to place a call to one of their customers, they would hang up on them before the call even got to the customer. They figured if it was a friendly call, the person would try again. Some times they would hang up repeatedly, until finally the person trying to call them would give up and write off the intended callee as a rude person because they didn’t want to talk to them. The person the call was intended for eventually dismissed their friend because they never called anymore. Invitations to lunches, birthday parties, and the latest gossip were all missed because the phone company’s intrusion into their lives.
Worse the phone company soon found there were new area codes that they had no history on. Well this must be bad. This was probably telemarketers setting up a new shop to get around their previous restrictions. Better to ban them right off then have a customer complain about getting a call from a telemarketer.
When customers in this new area code found that they couldn’t call their friends who were serviced by this phone company, they tried contacting the phone company to see what the problem was. The phone company didn’t have a phone number to call them, but they posted some information on their web site.
Problem was the links on the web site went around and around saying click here, click there until you ended up back where you started. Finally after much searching, the right form was found to fill out. Customers submitted the complaint form and promptly received an automated response back saying the system was broken, and it might be a week before they would get to the request. Pissed off customers then went to the web to research the problem further and found out this has been going on for several years, with no solution in sight.
The phone company provided a whole bunch of hoops that people could jump through in an attempt to make their phones work with the phone company’s network, but some solutions were inconvenient or impossible to implement. Many complaints were found on the web were people did everything the phone company wished and still their calls were prevented from going through.
All sounds pretty ridiculous doesn’t it? What phone company would dare think it was their responsibility to screen calls for their customers.
Yet replace the phone company in the story with Yahoo and that’s basically the problem I have been experiencing after upgrading my server at Hurricane Electric. While the server is faster and boasts more modern software, it is hosting the same clients as before, sending the same emails as before. The only difference is that the IP address has changed. This is apparently enough to cause Yahoo not to accept mail from my new server. They won’t provide a reason why, and there’s little I can do about it. I’m caught in the middle with pissed off customers on something that is entirely out of my control.
My hope is that if Microsoft is successful in their buyout attempt of Yahoo, they will immediately put their best programmers on the task of fixing this problem, and the ensuing mess will be so bad that people will flee the new MicroHoo in droves.