screen-shot-2014-06-19-at-8-29-20-pmYahoo is a relic of the Web’s past. The best thing it has going for it? A deal Jerry Yang architected years ago that gave them a stake in Alibaba– a Web property that’s still actually relevant in 2014.

I’ve been plenty critical of Mayer’s “say yes to everything” strategy in the past. And now it seems the convoluted, crazy-quilt that is the new EVERYTHING!! YES! YES EVERYTHING!!! Yahoo has finally infected Yahoo Finance– the only part of Yahoo I have visited for much of the last decade.

Yahoo Finance used to be super simple– I’d want to know a stock quote of a company and see basic charts of its performance. I’d go to finance.yahoo.com and enter the ticker. Done and done. Was it perfect? No. Was it pretty? About as pretty as Craigslist. And the market caps were frequently wrong which was incredibly annoying. Other services like YCharts offered snazzier charts and UIs.

But Yahoo Finance was free and generally reliable and — ironically– the thing Mayer keeps saying she wants Yahoo to be: A daily habit I just couldn’t break. I’d have typed finance.yahoo.com before my brain had even finished thinking “I need to look up the price for…” 

I’m not sure exactly when Yahoo rolled out its new awful version of Finance but visiting the site tonight I was left totally baffled. They’ve destroyed the basic functionality of looking up a stock quote.

Enter, say, “King.com” in the search box and you get this monstrosity:

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Let’s see: Trending stocks? Don’t care. I want to know about King.com. Burger King auto fill? Really? Stories that are actually about King? Well, we’re getting warmer but that’s dated information from a third party. Used to be  buried at the bottom of a profile page for a reason. Yahoo Finance videos about King? A link to King’s own profile about itself on its own Web site? Ads for the LA Kings and Sacramento Kings and a box offering me more ads with the word King?

None of these were what I was looking for. I could have found all that better on a search engine like Google. I came to Yahoo Finance, so HOW ABOUT THE BASIC STOCK QUOTE? Worse: Not a single thing in the left rail to take you to a quote page or summary page.

Granted, mega caps like Facebook have a handy box that gives you basic stock info. But for whatever reason, Yahoo Finance hasn’t rolled this out widely.

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So the company essentially destroyed a universally useful feature to build an arguably prettier version of it with a lot more clutter and ads that only works for some stocks. Great move.

Confused, I tried to figure out Yahoo Finance’s logic. For instance, Zynga– about half the market cap of King and in the same sector– gets a fancy profile box. Meanwhile, TriNet — another recent IPO– didn’t get any profile or stock info, just like King.

King and TriNet recently went public. So maybe it takes Yahoo a few months to add these to pages? Makes sense. What journalists or investors would want to track information on a newly public company anyway?

Nope, Veeva– which went public last fall in a banner IPO and has struggled since– had no fancy profile box either.

Helpfully, Yahoo shows a profile box for HP, but in the first “search” result highlights a totally different HP.

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Seems totally arbitrary. Just what you want in a Web utility. Congrats, Yahoo. And just when we were giving you credit at the expense of Google’s even worse finance offering.

(Update: Gets weirder. After playing around with this in several browser windows for a while, I went back to look up more stocks. Suddenly everything was reverting to classic Yahoo Finance profile pages. So I tried the same ones I’d looked up before. All displayed with old profile pages with the normal useful information.

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I tried it a few ways in different windows and different browsers with different computers even. I did the exact same thing: Going to finance.yahoo.com and entering a company name in the search box. I got different results repeatedly. It seems to rely on whether or not Yahoo recognized the actual ticker or not.

I’m sure there’s some strange technical nuance that is causing Yahoo Finance’s search box to give me answers I actually want in some cases and a new bizarro version of results other times. But given the general users Yahoo is trying to appeal to are arguably even less tech savvy than I am, I’m not sure the reason matters. This is ultimately commodity information that I went to Yahoo to find out of habit. No more.)