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Yahoo! Messenger Network Overrun By Bots

A large number of Yahoo!'s instant messenger chat rooms are being overrun by automated programs designed to hawk commercial services, Web sites and other wares, preventing millions of actual human users from joining most of the chat rooms on the company's network.

Normally, when Security Fix writes about automated robots or "bots," it's in the context of remote-controlled Microsoft Windows machines that have been hijacked by cyber crooks for use in online moneymaking schemes. In this case, however, we're talking mainly about relatively benign "chat bot" programs sold and marketed as walking billboards that lurk in the most popular chat rooms and periodically post links to various Web sites.

In a posting on the Yahoo! Messenger Blog subtitled "Bots, Bots and More Bots," product manager Sarah Bacon said the company was aware of the bot problem and was trying to devise a solution. "So stay tuned - we know this is a critical piece, if not the most important," she wrote.

From the tenor of the 620 comments that ensued, it appears many Yahoo! Messenger users are starting to tune out.

"Yahoo set out to fix a problem and the result is that you can not get into a room, or if you do the room is full of bots," wrote Yahoo! user "Bill," on Aug. 21.

Security Fix decided to download the latest (newly patched) version of Yahoo! Messenger and check out the situation last night. It wasn't pretty. Out of the 22 chat rooms I tried to join, only two let me in. The rest merely popped up a "Communications Problem" error message. One of the two that let me in (Amusement and Theme Park) appeared to be full of automated programs posting messages. The other summarily booted me from the room shortly after I joined.

I don't want to make light of Yahoo!'s network troubles, but I find it rather ironic that legitimate users are being kept off the network by bots whose sole purpose is to attract human eyeballs.

By Brian Krebs  |  August 24, 2007; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  From the Bunker  
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I used to be an avid user of Yahoo Messenger and its Chat room feature. Going in there now, you'd be lucky to talk with ANYONE real. I've been long gone from Yahoo messenger / chat! Fix it and I might be back.

Posted by: H.C.D. | August 24, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Bk> I find it rather ironic that legitimate users are being kept off the network by bots whose sole purpose is to attract human eyeballs.

Kinda like how viruses destroy cells by causing them to over-replicate the virus until the cell wall is ruptured.

Posted by: antibozo | August 24, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Another interesting thing to point out is Yahoo could be charging ( or marketing to) it's advertisers for ads that appear in yahoo chat.

Since there are little or no real folks in Yahoo chat, are Yahoo advertisers being duped by how many people (bots) are logged in at one time?

Posted by: Don | August 24, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Don> Since there are little or no real folks in Yahoo chat, are Yahoo advertisers being duped by how many people (bots) are logged in at one time?

Depends on whether they're buybots. Some people/companies send out buybots to purchases things.

Posted by: Buybotter | August 24, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Yahoo sux0r, it was good for laughs now and then on the audio chat rooms. However, years ago I noticed the increase in stupid bots.

Hi..wanna meet a Cali girl?


Posted by: DOUGman | August 24, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

old meme

Posted by: Tilly | August 24, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

@Tilly: FTW

Posted by: Ben | August 24, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I think yahoo chat as it once was is long gone.

Many people have flooded to this mIRC type chat.
I haven't tried it yet.
I don't even understand it but apparently, it's taking off like a full blown storm and has been for quite a while now.

Just my opinion, but I do feel yahoo services in general have gone down the tubes. I don't feel that their chat services will be around for much longer. Yes, the company is big, but, big companies fall and new ones take their place.

I have a yahoo email account. What do I use it for? Spam only. I direct any site, including boards I have to sign up using an email address to that email.
Even that service has gone down hill now.
I can't remember the last time I used their service as opposed to google either.
Yahoo auctions? Gone, gone, gone.
So what is left of yahoo now?


Posted by: Tide | August 26, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

`Eh when you try to go into a chat room and you see on the log in page there are 9000 bots in each room i log out you so called tech guys get a grip if i had to pay for this service im sure some were down the line Yahoo would be in a court room with a long line of yahoo users sueing your company get with the program fix the promblem and i know i cant spell

Posted by: jack | August 26, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

It seems Ironic that Yahoo took away the ability to create rooms in the adult section because of pedophiles

Posted by: FishnCincy | August 26, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I have been chatting in yahoo messenger chat rooms since 1999.
Back then a lot of chat communities were flourishing, both in the public yahoo rooms and the user created rooms - but especially the latter. I know many people who met in chat rooms and later got married etc.
Back then there was also a lot of user communication with yahoo. And from yahoo to the users regarding updates and server issues etc. I have personally chatted with yahoo technical supporters through messenger.
But then suddently all this lawsuit crap happened. Someone found out that there were pedophile rooms and that yahoo automatically advertized their sponsors in these rooms. So instead of getting rid of the pedophile rooms they got rid of the ability to create user rooms at all. That killed off thousands of chat communities in one blow and lost yahoo a conservative estimate of 65% of all the chat users.
Then came the bots. There had been bots before, but they were easily recognizable and never entered the user rooms (due to the fact that user rooms changed names too often, which no bot-programmer could or would keep up with). And there came more bots and more and more and more. And now you have very few chatrooms left with real human beings in them. Most of the people I knew when I started chatting are long gone from yahoo chat. To other places. PalTalk etc. No one bothers using yahoo chat rooms under the current conditions.
So why isn´t yahoo doing anything? They give the same answer when you ask them: "We are aware of this issue and are working on solving the problem". That´s what they said in 2005 and that´s what they are still saying.
I doubt they are working on this problem. Yahoo is only concerned to keep their sponsors (chat room ads) and how do they do that? By telling the sponsors how many people use the chat rooms. It looks good on paper: tens of thousands of people use the yahoo chatrooms 24/7. Of course what they don´t know is that 99% of these people are bots.
In short: The sponsors are throwing money out the window and the true users of yahoo chat are being screwed. One could only hope that some sponsors would become aware of this and threaten with another law suit since that´s is ALL Yahoo ever listens to.

Posted by: Abbey | August 26, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for reporting on this! I have to echo Abbey (above)... "The sponsors are throwing money out the window and the true users of yahoo chat are being screwed. One could only hope that some sponsors would become aware of this and threaten with another law suit since that´s is ALL Yahoo ever listens to."

Posted by: Will | August 26, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

you know i have to agree with abby then ya'll send us messages that say if we don't email your things to everyone on our list . we will be charged for your services? What services? your down more than up, we can't get into rooms, can't make private chat rooms etc... do we look like we have sucker tattooed on our forheads. Why should we even consider paying for a service that we don't get right anyway

Posted by: kay | August 26, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see how yahoo survives this current mess they have created. I think we all would agree why Yahoo agreed to the ads in the chatroom's and messenger. But if Yahoo wants to end its current situation then someone needs to make the decision to elleminate the spammers, bots, boots and clones. Doing this my result in some lost revenue for Yahoo for a time period but overall will increase consumer confidence. Yahoo users have spoken out and they are being ignored by Yahoo.

Posted by: Dave | August 26, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I've used ahoo for almost ten years. Like clockwork, I've gone in for about an hour each day to meet new people, get a fresh take on current events, and to find obscure websites posted in the rooms. For the past four years, I've seen the amount of automated programs selling pornography, not to mention the other activites mentioned in the article, like investment suggestions (you buy, they sell short, you lose your savings), and those are basically the good things I have to say about the company at the moment.

If you advertise on their services, you should demand that there be some kind of verification that your ads are being seen by real people. Personally, I see an investigation by the FTC for bilking their advertising customers in the very near future!

Posted by: Carl | August 26, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand what the big deal with bots and security issues are. There are other pay and free chat services that have tackled and mostly won the bot issue. has a system that occationaly a bot will bounce into the room, and then leave before everyone can hit the "report abuse" control on it, just staying long enough to blast a bot ad out for what ever its selling.
Yahoo has claimed to be recording IP numbers of their users, and had the block spam built into its messenger, which is about useless by the way. Spammers constantly change their handle names. They could program it in so that if anyone had a Report Spam notation more than 10 times, the profile would be blocked. Since this function never seemed to work, people have quit trying. God knows how many times I hid that button, only to see the same spammers in the chat room days later.
If IP's were blocked, maybe someone else would be inconvienced until IP found the offender and discontinued service to the spammers. But in the long run, everyone would come out ahead.
Yahoo also doesn't realize, the spammers are using up their system resources or maybe they do and think throwing more money at the problem will fix it. In the rooms I check into, Romance/By Location/South Dakota, our people prior to the bot epidemic, would routinely use 5 rooms, the last 3 inhabited by few real people and a few spammers. These rooms are "full" at 50 people or spammers per room.
Right now, HUNDREDS of rooms are created and maintained by their server just to have the spammers fill them. No wonder some one down there at Yahoo figured they need bigger servers and upgrades.
I have given yahoo one more week to fix this since I know the technology, software, hardware all are available to fix this problem. After that, I, a paying advertiser will take my advertising dollar else where. Bots don't look at banner ads, which in theory is how yahoo chat rooms and profiles pay for themselves. I host a paid website on Yahoo, and will no longer if Yahoo continues to prove its incompetence and will not answer my emails.

Posted by: Johnny | August 26, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Many people have flooded to this mIRC type chat.
I haven't tried it yet.
I don't even understand it but apparently, it's taking off like a full blown storm and has been for quite a while now.

Well first off, mIRC is not a chat. mIRC is a chat client for IRC which is an acronym for internet relay chat. Secondly IRC is certainly not new (it may be new to more people fleeing yahoo though). IRC has been around since 1990 (long before a yahoo or the web as we know it now even existed). Clients existed primarily on unix platforms, later with linux becuase simply put, windows 95 didn't exist at the time and windows 3.x was crapola. Windows clients like mIRC for example, have been available since around 99/2000, so that client is actually not new either. IRC is great in that the original protocol even from way back in the beginning, specified channel (room) operators and voices (operators with limited ability), people can make their own channels (rooms), and chat with each other, PM's (private msgs), share files, etc. Voice chat is really the only big thing you lose and I suppose animated emoticons (actually that is doable though). Also IRC used to be a haven for hackers and warez activity with the big one being EFNET. Although now the pirate and warez activities are nothing like they were up until a few years ago, they are still there (here and there), and its still where the big boys (hackers), and geeks/nerds hang out.

Posted by: borg_bot | August 26, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

You'll never 100% eliminate bots or people making user names to try to advertise or just to gain noteriety, etc. There will always be a few that could slip through the cracks. The problem with yahoo is, they never took it seriously until very recently. Yahoo chat has other problems too. Like hackers loading 100's of bot names into their chat rooms and "booting" people out of rooms (or off their yahoo messenger, even if they are not in a room at all). And there a number of other exploits out there too like voice chat lagging which can cause people's systems to lock up for a period of time, voice dominance (programs that make multiple proxy server connections to yahoo's servers and allow the user to stay on the voice chat, overriding the supposed alloted time), room locking (not advertisers but normal users and/or hackers can "lock up" an entire room just because they disagree with someone for example), and there are various other exploits. Yahoo really never addressed any of these things seriously, although they apparently have tried a number of times to bar third party developers (programmers outside of yahoo) to develop programs like this and connect to yahoo's service. But any security measures yahoo has put in place in the past have been defeated fairly quickly, with the bot programmers, advertisers and "kiddie" booters winning out each time. Time will tell if they are actually serious finally about resolving any of these issues, some of which aren't necessarily even related to their chat services, but to yahoo messenger itself.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Ya know ... yahoo has other services that ask to fill in a e-generated password .. why not allow a ( real user ) to enter a generated password as a key to open up a chat room .. how can a bot type in a password .. that would stop the BOT's

Posted by: Rick | August 26, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Yahoo has made many changes over the years and none of them have been very reasonable. The worst change they made in the chatrooms is allowing 20 second mic-times for all users. As if you can take 20 seconds to answer an elaborate question before some jerk takes the microphone from you and yells obscenities you have to explain to your children who are playing in the background. So Yahoo decided to go with 20 seconds... bad call. This just let to more frustration and anger and hatred and drama and fighting and... Now this. Now there's no fighting! YAY YAHOO! Now there's not ONE SINGLE SOUL in yahoo that really cares to fight now because you feel like you've been abandoned on Mars and you run when the phone rings (reference to The Martian Chronicles by Bradbury). So we don't know how to find each other and when we do we get so frustrated that all the once-tough guys are now as powerless as the rest and the fighting has stopped. I guess it's like releasing Ebola on the world and those few survivors now have to get along in the wake, attempting to get into the ruined buildings from the nuclear response, but they're filled with dead bodies and you can't get in anyway. Yahoo's NOC made a foul error, then another foul error, now yet another foul error. Batting 1000 you Yayhoos!!! Paltalk and other paid services thank you for the windfall you have given them. Congratulations! Maybe you'll get invited to the now-flourishing company's Labor Day picnic and you can get drunk with them.

Posted by: GLOW | August 26, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I started using Yahoo! Messenger back in 2005. The idea of making online friends was new to me and it really got me hooked onto the Chat rooms. Gradually, I made a lot of friends who would daily come to the base - Pokemon rooms. Eventually I came across the dark technologies namely, booters and stuff. The first time I got booted was for playing some music on voice chat. It was hillarious to see so many windows popup in succession. But, eventually it got annoying. There used to be a certain Chris Jerichoz in our rooms who used to welcome users. I understood from the ultra fast responses that it was some kind of Program. Thats when one of my buddies revealed that Chris Jerichoz belonged to him. I too started using a Bot program, just for the fun of it. Our bots were basically instructed to respond with intelligent and funny messages. All in all it was a lot of fun.

I was not satisfied with the bot softwares back then as most of them were buggy. So, I took to creating one of my own. In an year or so, I had managed to create the most powerful Yahoo! Messenger Bot. The main benefit this thingy had was the Conditions, Effects, Triggers & Variables mechanism which allowed it to hook onto many events in the Yahoo! Messenger Protocol and respond to them with an even richer set of actions.

It was all very good, until the Ad bots started showing up. I had seen them in other popular rooms, but till then the Pokemon and most of the Gaming rooms were free from them. As their count grew, people started dumping Yahoo! Messenger and finally none of us even entered the chat rooms. Now, my Bot is probably used for the very purpose of posting annoying ads. It has become such a sorry state that some money hungry people are using the bot against its intended purpose.

If Yahoo! were to change the log in encryption, most of the current bots and third party clients would go down, if not all of them. I don't think it would be that difficult for them to do something like this. Yet they haven't done much about this issue. Perhaps they don't care about the free service anymore. In that case, as many have already questioned, why are they wasting valuable resources on this crap of a system?

Posted by: Max Steel | August 26, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Correction! When I wrote the following:

"For the past four years, I've seen the amount of automated programs ..."

I neglected to add the word "increased". Exponentially it seems.

Posted by: Carl | August 26, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I find it so amusing that automated bots are so prevalent in yahoo chat rooms that their target audience (real humans) can't even get in any rooms to read the advertisments. It all seems a little pointless.

I think what yahoo needs are room moderators who can detect and remove automated bots permanently. Thats if a moderator could even get access to the room to check for automated bots.

Yahoo has become a joke. It's made me look for an alternative service.

Posted by: Identi | August 27, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Wow, the old days, when every single room wasn't flooded with bots. Seems like eons ago. And as many have noted, until the bots completely shut down the system, Yahoo failed to care.

For years, and in most rooms, it's been 80% bots. Any fix they make will be temporary until it happens again.

Posted by: Chat Once Worked | August 27, 2007 1:14 AM | Report abuse

"Yahoo Chat" is the grand-daddy of all the free chat room services. I hate to see it go like this.

Posted by: Joan | August 27, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Yahoo chat has always had it's quirks; however, as of late it has gotten so frustrating that I don't even attempt to go into chat now. The problem lies not only in it's programming and the bots; but yet in the hackers and booters. The idiots with codes to destroy or "temporary lock out" other machines miles away with a touch of a button. The cyber predators, god complex cyber idiots and the e-venge seekers that flood Yahoo programming with the added boot or virus codes. That, I believe is why the can't fix the problems. But I could always be wrong... ha ha~!

Posted by: lia | August 27, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

i think yahoo guards become much ....and i guess there are a war between yahoo kids wth inhirit . iam scare from this war...plz pple pray to god for safe chat and us from tht war

Posted by: sagoda | August 27, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

i think wt happen wth yahoo chat these days a result from that inside and hidden war between yahoo kids for inherit very sick these days

Posted by: sagoda | August 27, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

th most good persons on all chat just pple n religion room 7. can i say there names ?.
snow, laxa, hd , wennie, frater, rank , sigh , sky, shanoon ,music, liz,gives, bob,javad, farouk,annie,wheelz,chatpolice,saged, hash, saged , hash , saged , hash , saged , hash,saged , hash.........its me .....wide smile

Posted by: sagoda | August 27, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Why can't Yahoo come up with user rooms the way PalTalk did. Where the room is opened and monitored by the user who created it. I use to chat on Paltalk but ended up on Yahoo cause it was easier and more ppl from my area were on it. Now Yahoo is just a mess.

I did meet my husband thru my local chat room. It started out as a user room. Ppl from my area were on it and most became friends. We would do BBQ's and go out for dinner or lunch. Even to the local club on thursday nights for a few drinks.

The tight group that once was now has gone to the wind. How sad that Yahoo can't get it's head out of it's rearend.

Posted by: Gina | August 27, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I've been using yahoo since 1996 and it has and always will have it's pros and cons.

But if you've read the entire Yahoo blog, you'll see that yahoo has been trying to fix and test problems. Of course they should have had all this testing done before they uploaded it to the new servers, but they ran into unexpected problems.

Sure they can open up the Unlimited rooms again, but then we're back where we started.

I just can't beleive the idiots who are actually running the bots don't realize the problems, and that they are the ones causing it.

Yahoo is in the process of implementing a captcha chat room login system, which has worked great for yahoo games. They've tested it on their servers, and when I tried it I had absolutely no problem at all.

Another issue I've heard is the compatibility with Vista.

With all these things that everyone wants at the snap of a finger, from a program that is virtually FREE... well, you get what you pay for.

From what I hear, there's only 5 physical people to work on the problem. Of course you can say they should hire more, but why? Yahoo messenger is free, and we're asking them to spend tons of money on it???

I guarantee it will get sorted out, but people need to have a little patience.

Posted by: Netti | August 27, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I am glad that someone has finally posted something about yahoo on more of a "NEWS" side.
I have been chatting on yahoo since 1999 as well and have seen things come and go. Bots, users, booters, hackers, etc.
I have downloaded bot makers, yahoo toys (NOT booters), and played around with them to see what it takes to do these things that (and read carefully) these ADULTS use to lock chat rooms, boot people off, and try to hack someones computer.
It is not easy making bots now days, you have a program that you enter the name of the bots that you want, then you enter a password (for all 1000) for the bots, then you have to enter the e-code for each 1000 bots, this take time and took me an hour to make 50 bots. SO you can see what it takes.

Also.. yahoo meessenger shows ads at the bottom,top, or side when you are using it. Some people have figured out how to cut those ads out and would not be bothered with ads anymore. Well I say... all these bots could be the cause of that, people removing the ads and therefor yahoo not getting the clicks that they need or the companies that buy the spots are not getting the clicks they need. User err? could be, deal with the bots, or call / email EACH company that uses yahoo to sale ads on. Is what I say.
Something NEEDS to be done on this FREE service for people to stay in contact with their families scross seas and other places in the world.

Posted by: .Spike. | August 27, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Yahoo's bot problem actually started around 5 yrs + ago, and despite users reporting as spam, and making complaints, Yahoo have ignored its public.

Some of the biggest culprits appear to be AmateurMatch affiliates (amongst others) - click on most of those links, and they carry their banners, and webcams on private websites. Yahoo have been informed of this via their complaints, and it has been posted on the current blog.... only to be removed within 15 minutes of posting.

Yahoo do not seem to like being told that they cannot do their job, and block participation in their blog by anyone who seems to make such a suggestion.

Yahoo can poke their products and services where the sun doesnt shine if they do not change the way they treat their users.


Posted by: Ian | August 27, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I've used Yahoo chat for years and quit for a while between 2006 and 2007 until recently. The last 2 weeks have gotten so bad that Yahoo chat has been almost useless.

All these problems are due to severe design flaws. Here's a list of some.

* Logout doesn't appear to be authenticated, which means someone else can send a forged logout request that logs you out and denies you service.

* There are no limits on # of room changes or change frequency.

* There are no IP based limits, whatsoever. 200 clients from the same IP want to join room XYZ? Go right ahead.

* There are no thresholds to trigger automated server warnings or temporary quarantines of users sending suspicious messages.

* Ignores do not take in account of source IP, so if 100 cloned accounts coming from IP x.y.z.123 ignore you, the ignores count against you as 100 ignores (instead of the 1) and thus rob you of voice privilege.

* There are no server side bayesian filters.

* There are no server side limits or flood controls on number of messages within a time frame.

* The voice chat can be locked down indefinitely by a single user rotating voice servers on the fly.

* Some users are invincible to voice chat ignore.

* Yahoo separates voice and text streams which is fine, however it does not validate you are in the room you are voice chatting in. You can be in room ABC and yet voice chat in XYZ, so that users in room XYZ have no means to ignore you because they cannot view your real screen name.

* After 20 seconds, you get overridden on voice whenever anyone presses the Talk button (mutual exclusion on chat). Other chat programs deal with this by merging the audio streams, which is closer to how real conversations work, so mediation comes naturally. On Yahoo, stepping on one's voice is a constant source of irritation and fueds.

* Ignore and Report as Spam appears to be useless and non-functioning.

* It's possible users can see your online status even though you're invisible and not on your friend's list.

* There's no ability to moderate a room.

* User created rooms were eliminated, which was often used to escape bots navigating throughout the room listings.

* The Yahoo email signup CAPTCHA has been defeated or is abused by paid human CAPTCHA workers. Those accounts are usable in the chatrooms.

* There's no CAPTCHA required for chat login, room joins, or opening a PM session to another. Even if CAPTCHAs were broken with paid workers, it would not be feasible to use them with chatroom CAPTCHAs.

Then there are the flaws in the Messenger chat program which make it a dream for script kiddies.

* The client doesn't fully validate incoming message data. Certain truncated or malformed messages crash or lag Messenger.

* Ignores are not permanent. They often get cleared after logout and restart.

* There's a limit to the # of ignores.

* Automatic ignore uses a very weak filter.

* There's no way to select multiple users to ignore at once (useful for ignoring spambot_001, spambot_002, spambot_003, etc).

* It blindly decodes encoded symbols and strings (special features) in the chat stream without validation, which can be exploited because they consume heavyweight resources on your desktop (such as window handles or threads). A high-speed connection only makes it worse.

* Messenger does not defend itself against message flooding. Your desktop will lockup if someone PM bombs you. Messenger has very few defense mechanisms.

* Incoming PMs always cause your chat window to lose focus, even when set to display in a minimized window, which means you get bounced off voice chat every time someone PMs you. You also lose focus when typing into your PM window so the wrong PM window often gets your keyboard strokes.

* Chat doesn't give you the option to turn off all special features (invites/PMs/etc) and still receive messages in the chatroom. You either ignore everything and everyone or you turn off a few useless features.

* The voice chat display shows a user's account name, but the chat list displays the nick name, making it difficult to ignore voice chatters.

* The voice chat display name can be spoofed making it difficult to ignore someone.

Posted by: BUGGY CHAT | August 27, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

umm yeah if your just posting about this then it's been old news for years. to be exact about 7 years

Posted by: kitche | August 27, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Give us our chat back :(

Posted by: gigahertz_to_be_you | August 27, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

The 'bot' problem has been going on for years. Bots and real users are one and the same when it comes down to numbers using the free chat service and for Yahoo!'s perspective advertisers that haven't done their homework these tens of thousands of users seem like advertising nirvana. Of course the reality is the Yahoo! Chat Network is one heavilty polluted by automated users... and not the type that click on advertising. I believe the answer is a 'Captcha' to validate that the user is human. Yahoo! has already tested this system in 'Alpha' Servers and hopefully will rolle it out soon.

Posted by: Ian Kenefick | August 28, 2007 7:15 AM | Report abuse

i use Yahelite a free program that does a
decent job of filtering bots

Posted by: number7 | August 28, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

even yahoomessenger is not siging in now frequent dc of ym

Posted by: jisskerala | August 28, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I think you need to do a follow-up piece on how "well" Yahoo has progressed in making the chat rooms people friendly again. I have a feeling you won't notice much of a difference. The rooms are still crawling with bots. One other thing, its bad enough to get booted by another user, so why does Yahoo boot (sign) you out without warning?

Posted by: Gary | August 28, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I began using Yahoo Messenger/Chat the very fisrt year it came to be. The, in 1999 I suffered a terrible neck and head injury due to an MVA. Yahoo became my place to go and talk to others. It's a tool for those who live in places where human contact is rare and for those who do not have the ability to run the streets, bars, etc... It has almost become a public service.

Being in chat since the beginning, I have seen many issues and stories being tossed about regarding Yahoo Messenger. My own judgement from years of chat is that Yahoo could charge a fee of say $20 annually and many would pay the cost. With a million or more users that would be quite a windfall for Yahoo.

Get rid of the bots, stop the "booters", let people make rooms for friends, and charge for the service. With these monies you could surely hire a few techs to maintain chat, maybe not in the way MSN does, but maintain the service.

Posted by: Robert | August 28, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Robert's idea is a good one, they could even charge half of that ($10) and still have more income than they have now. That probably makes too much sense though, so it's doubtful they will implement that plan lol. But of course as noted already with that they would have to fix their current security issues and improve QOS issues regarding these exploits, for both the chat service and messenger itself. All of the later is a pretty agressive laundry list of issues to resolve first though be it free or a small subscription service. I think it should only apply to the chat services though (similar to their music or personal service). If they try to charge for their messenger service, that won't go over well. Yet there are some security issues and exploits to address for that as well regardless. So yes, a pretty agressive list of items yahoo has to contend with.

Posted by: Chatter | August 28, 2007 11:45 PM | Report abuse

as of tonight there is a catchpa to get in the bots! but many people commented that they feel the bots will be back soon...let's see...

Posted by: michael | August 29, 2007 3:56 AM | Report abuse

it seems that yahoo fixed the bot situation as of today ! you need a verication code before you chat, after you enter it it puts you in a botless room.

Posted by: jim | August 29, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Yahoo may have fixed the problem for Windows users, but they royally screwed thousands of Linux users who only can get a 999 error message when they try to verify and get in a chat room.

The main problem is that yahoos Unix messenger is a joke of an application that doesn't even support yahoos chat room functions (voice, cams, etc). So Linux users are forced to use 3rd party applications because the yahoo team cant seem muster a decent Linux programmer. No matter what application a Linux user employs you get the same 999 error.

I find it amazing that Yahoo chat has been going down the crapper for over two years and when the folks at Yahoo finally wake up and get around to fixing the bot problem they effectively kick and ban thousands of users. If anyone can make folks believe that FREE just isn't worth a plug nickel it would be Yahoo!

Posted by: D. Billings | August 31, 2007 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Yahoo Chat is shot'
Solution is to use IRC. IRC Chat has been around for years before yahoo chat existed and continues to survive. IRC has many more users, less restrictions and seems to be kept under control. On IRC you can basically find ANY chat topic (legal or illegal)you can think of.

It may require learning how to use a new chat client but once you get used to it your all set.

List of IRC chat rooms:

Mozilla Firefox web browser has an IRC chat client add on that works well. Go to (you'll also have a more advanced browser then Internet Explorer!)

As far as Yahoo! goes.. there business is poorly run. They were once the number one search engine. They lost first place position to Google. They once had great chat room where they generated revenue selling ad space. Thats now a joke. It seems in every area there failing. Maybe it time for them to sell out to an investor company thats interested in getting it right and pushing profits/service up to where it should be.

Again the link for IRC Chat rooms is:

Good luck to everyone!!!

Posted by: Richie | August 31, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

The bots ARE back. They are getting around the CAPCHA squirly character login.

I am suprised a 'white-knight' techno geek hasn't written a bot-killer bot by now.

Posted by: ringoes_man | September 4, 2007 2:06 AM | Report abuse

the bots are comming back slowly. In another month or so, the rooms will be filled with bots. We will still have to captcha verify every room just to see the bots.

Posted by: calidude | September 5, 2007 1:58 AM | Report abuse

the bots are back being caught in the verification room, still clogging up entry.
Real users can't get into the room they want because the bots are filling the slots to the real users rooms.

I give up on this chat system. I've been a member for 7 years. It's just not worth the "hours" it takes to get to people I aleady have a diologue with.

Thanks for the years I did have though

Posted by: tide | September 5, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

For all the big noise about captcha, it seems that a very large number of people, after following the instructions and typing in the code, then getting the "congrats, close this window so you can chat" notification - cannot access the rooms. They see no user list, see no text, hear no voice YET they are seen by those i the room and are bombarded with the typical hiiiiiiiiiiii's and BUZZZZZZZ's. And again, this problem is not answered/acknowledged/addressed in any of their blogs. Once again, they frustrate those they wish to attract and retain.

Posted by: caity | September 5, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

My Yahoo messenger will not open at all now?????

Posted by: Ted Martin | September 9, 2007 7:26 AM | Report abuse

my wife is sending me a message on yahoo messenger but i cant view it what might be the problem?

Posted by: job | September 10, 2007 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Well for many years we have tried to get someone to build a live cd with yahoo voice chat now they say years later its not worth it,it looks like no one knows how to do it and so they are just saying yahoo is not worth it now.
Prove me wrong!!!

Posted by: DanH | September 11, 2007 12:43 AM | Report abuse

my YAZAk Client iz not connected so what can id o ??? can u help me

Posted by: sammi | September 12, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

contact the advertiser let them know what is going on

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The large influx of chat bots didn't occur solely in regards to the automated ones that advertise. Certain areas of Yahoo chat seem to have people angry enough to toss out the booters and bring in the botters. These chatters can set up a bot program to spew out 1000 ID's at a time to be used with their program. Once created, they utilize their botting program to overtake a room with the ID's that they created allowing them to have microphone control and also giving them control of how many people they choose to let in a room. At one point, some rooms even showed over 50 people, simply due to the enormous amount of bots that one person brought into the room. It's a new toy, and enough people have this toy simply to disturb others' chat experience and to take control of a room. This trend has forced yahoo to take notice of the bot problem, however rarely do I see it talked about on any blogs, forums, or by Yahoo themself. I'm not even sure if Yahoo pays enough attention to complaints to see and understand the difference. What do these botters do now since the release of the Messenger with Captcha? They bring them in manually (which means one at a time, more than likely entering each individual Captcha code as it appears). The few who are responsible for it don't seem to be going anywhere-nor do they seem to be a concern for Yahoo. What's a chatter to do?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2007 2:11 AM | Report abuse

I was on yahoo for 4 hours saw 4 nice people rest where all bots or not typeing.
total waste of time my friend said it used to be cool he seemed sad how bad it went down hill.

Posted by: jeremiahh2008 | September 24, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Wow... the chat rooms on Yahoo! Japan don't have that problem... :/

Posted by: f00fbug | September 25, 2007 3:50 AM | Report abuse

the only feature in yahoo that worked, and no one uses it.

yahoo has alway been about self promotion since I joined up in the late 90's, give the spammers a rotating banner in the chat room windows or im/pm windows for $X.XX a month.

heck sell some links on the homepage, many people know if your looking for something odds are you can find it in chat, even if the id is real or not.

the bigger picture is what the bots are promoting, thats where yahoo's money is being lost.

Yahoo user are signing up for other sites for various services and products. look into some of the sites these bots are promoting the very least ive seen is a buck per email, at most $100.00 per sign up!

But yet people wonder why there are so many. I would even bet some chat spammers make a good living at doing this, or atleast dont work.

my guess would be any spammers caught now could be in a legal bind after they started using captcha, would make since to me anyway.

Posted by: IGNORE | September 26, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

My favourite yahoo rooms are now filled with 30+ variations of the same id. Thats 9 rooms in total, making 270+ id's courtesy of our resident booter. Numerous abuse complaints to yahoo have come to no avail, except for receiving the standard reply to IGNORE the user. OK so I can ignore those ID's but what about the hundreds of other ID's he is using to send game invites and plugin packets to me. Ytunnel does its job, but we are again struggling to find real people who arent trying to own the yahoo rooms. Poor show yahoo!

Posted by: Ian | September 29, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Atleast yahoo tried with the captcha thing. Unfortunately, now the bots just log in and stay in a room. Then spam users when they go to the rooms. So it is worse than before. Now we have to do the step verification thing just to enter a room full of bots!!

Posted by: chatter | October 2, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we should as users try and boot the BOTS, with booters.
Another way to deal with the problem is for chat users to file complaints with the advetisers as many of the bots are being used by 3rd party affiliates who get paid per click or per purchase. Copy and save that link that the bots have and email it to the compant thats being advertised, as many use affliate links and by that link can identify the affiliate and cancel that persons account. This will greatly reduce the bots over time as the bots will actually cause LOSS of revenue.

Or we could develope bot booters and everyone in chat just boot those bots....

Posted by: Jesse James | October 2, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Heres the problem, China has trained over one million hackers, crackers and even admits this. Problem is many of these hackers are bot developers who sign up for a companys affiliate program then sends bots to advertise with that affiliate link. The company whos products are being promoted often has no idea where the new customers are coming from and doesn't care more often. Quit clicking the bots links because when you do that Bot programmer just got paid for each click.

Posted by: One million hackers | October 2, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

It's painfully obvious that Yahoo! is completely inept when it comes to preventing bots from logging into the chat rooms. Their latest attempt to cure this plague failed miserably. As previously mentioned, now users are inconvenienced further by having to type in a code, after clicking a link and waiting for their browser to open, more often than not finding the room is full (of bots) and they can't get in anyway!! As with other automated attempts to save money, I think this is likely costing more than it's saving. Perhaps paid, human chat moderators would not only get lots of people off the unemployment lines, but allow users to actually enjoy the chat experience and possibly allow Yahoo! to zero in on the bot issues and rid these demons from their service once and for all.

Posted by: Vishnu | October 4, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I get the feeling Yahoo know about the bots and are coining it in. Making us believe they are doing something about it. The introduced the Captcha Image and yep the bots are still there. Ive used a Nuke site for years and NO bots have ever got past the Captcha login so how comes they get past yahoos...Dont yahoo realise that the majority of users that enter chats are not always adults and filth like what the bots put in the room should make yahoo stop and think before someone takes this matter to a higher source...

Posted by: Harold | October 13, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

It wont be long before Yahoo come up with the Idea.. Hey weve got rid of the bots and all the adverts Signup here for $20 a month!!. thats what its leading to they are not stupid. Put us all in agony with the free chat then introduce a paying system to get their lost earning back due to the court battle they lost..

Posted by: JImmy | October 13, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Theeeeeeeeere back, the BOTS have returned with a vengance to Yahoo chat. Even with the CAPTCHA log in, the porn guys have figured out a way to pay people to log in for them. OK Yahoo the CAPTCHA only slowed them down for a month or so, now slowly, surely all the chat rooms are dying one by one. I'm wondering what Yahoo is going to do next?

Posted by: Eric Y. | October 18, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

I sure miss current events

Posted by: mrs spur | November 27, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

agree that Messenger is loaded with bots and directives to websites. I no longer use it for anything and advise others to do the same, as that is the only way that Yahoo will get the message. best option is to do an uninstall of messenger. maybe in a year check back, but avoid using if you can!

Posted by: bill arthur | December 5, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

to find out if keeping the bots out of yahoo chat rooms is working just go try to get into romance 40's love 50...full of bots made just to lock the room up. informed yahoo abuse of this many times in last week or so with no's a joke. as long as yahoo allows thousands of id's made on one pc..then bots will continue

Posted by: roaddancr | January 1, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: yahoo sucks | January 11, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

when i am online with my yahoo messenger friend list up and go to click on a friend to chat with them they can get my words but i dont recieve any thing that they type to me it doesnt show anything on the page and when i go to my mail box i cant delete any of my mail that i go to check please help my e-mail address is thank you bertha

Posted by: bertha zweifel | August 17, 2008 3:52 AM | Report abuse

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