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Yahoo's gave developers some controversial perks at its Taiwan hack event.  (Source: All Things Digital)

Yahoo gave developers lap dances and the pictures hit the internet. Now it is left apologizing in a blog post entitled "Sorry".  (Source: All Things Digital/Flickr)
Yahoo's latest embarrassment seems like a sign that the company is just trying too hard to be cool

A big ad partnership from Microsoft may in time help Yahoo rediscover its magic, but over the last year the company has seemed very lost.  With its search engine powered by Bing and its team now focusing on APIs and the advertising partnership, Yahoo has yet to prove itself a legitimate competitor to Google.

Now an embarrassing debacle is earning the company some additional publicity.  After Yahoo hosted Taiwan Open Hack Day, a special event for engineers and developers that was held last weekend, a series of photos found there way onto the internet -- as ill-thought out decisions often do.

It turns out that Yahoo hired scantily clad women to spice up the event a little bit and give the guest lap dances.  They attended what Yahoo described as a "brainstorming" session, clad in bras and miniskirts.  The pictures made their way onto Flickr and soon lit up the blogosphere, prompting headlines like "Honest, honey, she was just showing me her social networking APIs."

Apparently Yahoo did the exact same thing the year before, according to All Things Digital's Kara Swisher.  Writes Swisher, "It is not clear why all the thumpa-thumpa music and dancing gals did not engender complaints last year."

Somehow it never crossed the mind of Yahoo's events coordinators that hiring lap dancers yet again might not be a wise decision.  Ultimately, it was the provocative pictures that truly launched the story.

Yahoo has issued an embarrassed response via a blog posted by Chris Yeh of Yahoo's Development Network.  Writes Yeh in the blog, entitled "Sorry":

I wanted to acknowledge the public reaction generated by the images of female dancers at our Taiwan Open Hack Day this past weekend. 

Our hack events are designed to give developers an opportunity to learn about our ... (programming) and technologies. As many folks have rightly pointed out, the 'Hack Girls' aspect of our Taiwan Hack Day is not reflective of that spirit or purpose. And it’s certainly not the message we want to send about our values here at Yahoo! Hack Days are about making everyone feel welcome, including women coders and technologists.

[It is] regrettable and we apologize to anyone that we have offended. Rest assured, it won’t happen again.

While you might think that developers would have enjoyed the antics, many went on record blasting Yahoo's poor judgment in marring what had been a series of respectable developer events.  States web developer Simon Willison, "I’ve also been to every one of Yahoo!’s Open Hack Day events in London.  They’re fantastic, and the team that organizes them should be applauded.  As such, I care a great deal about the image of hack day — and the videos that emerged from last weekend’s Taiwan Hack Day are hugely disappointing."

However, embarrassment is hardly a new development for Yahoo.





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