Here at Mambo Media, we have had occasion to use a free app developed by Yahoo called Pipes (pipes.yahoo.com). Pipes is a clever system for aggregating, sorting and filtering content from the web using an easy-to-learn interface that allows wide-ranging customization.
This week, Yahoo is “upgrading” Pipes to run on a more efficient platform, but at the same time is limiting various aspects of the system (such as timing out certain collection activities, limiting the number of filter terms, and much more) to conserve resources. Based on the comments posted in the user group forum, many Pipes users are not happy with the changes and limitations being imposed by Yahoo. I’m one of them.
I can understand that Yahoo needs to manage their resources in a business-like fashion, but given that this unique and important mechanism has apparently been adopted by many users, (I don’t know how many exactly) it seems like they are missing an opportunity to do something great.
If Pipes usage has reached some critical point where resource availability is an issue, perhaps it has also reached a point where Yahoo could make a business out of Pipes? Perhaps it has reached this point because of the unique and important nature of what the system can do? Limiting Pipes performance and ability is the wrong direction to go. Yahoo should start allocating all the resources needed to improve performance.
Now that we are all hooked, Yahoo could charge a (modest) fee for use–isn’t that the classic sales model?