Yahoo! Music still stuck in 1999

In The Bad Old Days Linger On at The Web Standards Project, Chris Kaminski reports that the web developers at Yahoo! Music are apparently still stuck in 1999 when it comes to browser support.

The site uses buggy browser sniffing and tells visitors to “upgrade” to older browsers in order to view videos on the site. I tried viewing a video in Safari on my Mac, and all I got was this nice message:

We’re sorry, but you must use Netscape 4.7x to use this application on a Macintosh. Download NOW.

Wow, thanks for helping me keep my browsers up-to-date, but I think I’ll pass on that one. Come on, Yahoo! Music, it’s almost 2006 and you’re asking people to downgrade to a browser that was released in 1999. I think most will go elsewhere instead.

Posted on December 17, 2005 in Quicklinks, Web Standards


  1. Yeah, that is pretty sad.

    I have run into these types of problems on other sites — AOL and Microsoft being the worst. But hey, at least you got an error message. Most of the time (as a mac user), it just won’t work, and you are left opening the page in every browser on your system.

  2. I’d come across this before so many times while using Firefox I installed a GreaseMonkey script to get around it and forgot it was even a problem.
    Come on Yahoo!, grow up and think about all those other people out there…

  3. Hahahaha, how sad. It’s like my schools site, the navigation only works in IE because of a stupid JS script.

    It’s sad that Yahoo are so behind when it comes to cross-browser support.

  4. Kalle, I resent your comment as being a far too general statement.

    Yahoo! has many properties and developers can vary quite a bit. On one hand there’s folks like myself, Douglas Crockford, Simon Willison, and Bill Scot whom aim to make Yahoo! a more Standards Compliant and accessible by improving one property at a time.

    I looked in our bug queue and sure enough there has been a bug logged for that very issue for quite some time.

    If you really think about it, the code looks like 1999 probably because it was developed in 1999. I guess the real problem is just getting a new release…it’s not like ie was written yesterday.

  5. *Correction: it’s not like ‘it’ was written yesterday.

  6. December 17, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Dustin: I realise that Yahoo! is a big company. I also know that you’re in there working to improve things. Here’s hoping that you get a chance to fix the issues with Yahoo! Music - maybe you could spend a day or two with that developer team :-).

  7. Err…

    This is crazy: using firefox on Windows also doesn’t work, but when opening the page in IE3 on Windows, the page fails, but there’s no error message. This is unbelievable :)

    When i tried to listen a song in Firefox via a link on the front page, it first failed saying i’m blocking popups, and that i should add ‘’ to my allowed sites. When i did that, it didn’t work again because the URI of the page calling the popup is ‘a…’.

    Adding * to the allowed popupers list then works, but ultimately fails with the error: “Sorry, we do not support Netscape on the Windows platform.”

    Just crazy.

  8. December 18, 2005 by grumpY!

    yahoo will play the standards compliance game when it becomes a issue of visibly losing users or worse, impacting financials. keep blogging the point though, yahoo is reactive by nature. with all due respect to dustin diaz, this isn’t an evangalism issue.

  9. Dustin: You are correct, that was a general comment. It’s good that there are people like you that works for making the site webstandard.

  10. Kalle, No we’re all good. I mean everything in a half-hearted serious way anyway. Going into Y! I knew I was going to be surrounded by legacy code. We are definitely seeing the importance of standards now that it makes for better costs.

    In actuality, I’d say even some of the developers that ‘do’ practice standards are still not doing it for the accessibility reasons.

    @majk: IE3??? c’mon man. That’s not even Grade C.

    The only property important enough to be working in IE3 is the Yahoo! homepage and search.

  11. “Upgrade” messages are most galling when they claim it’s about “standards”. The more enlightened dev teams out there at least let you proceed anyway.

    Why my bank doesn’t support Opera yet… I just don’t know. It works just fine.

  12. I noticed the other day that the MTV website also had a similar problem. Viewed with Firefox and Win you get a message saying:

    Detecting Browser… We’re sorry, PC Users with Netscape, Mozilla or Firefox: you need to run Internet Explorer to use MTV Overdrive.

    Yeah right - close tab!

  13. What I really hate is browsing with Firefox and coming to a website that tells me they don’t support Netscape. “So what does that have to do with me?”

  14. Yahoo! Mail instructs IE7 users to “upgrade” to IE6 or one of their other supported browsers. My attempts to report the problem fell on deaf ears and the only replies I could get out of Yahoo were canned answers that had nothing to do with anything. Dustin, maybe you can do something about this? Just need to upgrade the Javascript from browser detection to object detection and it should be almost good to go.

  15. Just need to upgrade the Javascript from browser detection to object detection and it should be almost good to go.

    That’s what I preach brutha! I’m doing the best I can :)

  16. December 20, 2005 by Christopher Pickert

    I too got canned answers from Yahoo. Yahoo mail has funtionality that would work fine in Opera, if only they tried a little. I also tried to alert them to the fact that their javascript on the mail login page was causing problems, and only canned answers that had nothing to do with it came back to me.

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