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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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So what?
By Master Kenobi on 10/21/2009 8:10:50 AM , Rating: 4
If they want to have lap dancers and scantily clad women what is the big deal? I remember the EEE being similar, just without the lap dances, some even more scantily clad.

This just smells of people getting on their high and mighty pedestal after the event. Clearly if they did it last year with no big deal then nobody was offended. Perhaps one of he attendants just couldn't get a dance this time around? :P

RE: So what?
By amanojaku on 10/21/2009 8:15:22 AM , Rating: 5
In the best of times bad spending is simply poor judgment that people may forget about in a few weeks or months. In the worst of times bad spending could be the end of a company. Public perception alone could be the death of Yahoo!, and this isn't helping.

RE: So what?
By theapparition on 10/21/2009 8:37:29 AM , Rating: 5
Stuff like this happens all the time. ALL THE TIME . This isn't about spending, it's about being caught.

Difference is that now there are cameras everywhere and people are posting those pics up on social networking sites and getting CAUGHT . This only came out, as the article states, by a Flickr posting.

Companies still routinely offer golf trips, luxury vacations/spas, pirks, etc. To be quite honest, I don't have an issue with it as long as the expense is being accounted for. These lap dancers probably were a drop in the bucket in terms of overall expenses. However, as you pointed out, it's now bad publicity.

Simple local stories that otherwise may be forgotten can now go viral in minutes.

Do you have any idea how many stories I could tell you about companies hiring hookers for wealthy clients.......20+years ago!!!! And it was not nearly as quiet as they keep it now......but they still do it.

RE: So what?
By acase on 10/21/2009 8:51:52 AM , Rating: 5
Companies still routinely offer golf trips, luxury vacations/spas, pirks , etc.

Woah, what good would offering an Apple loving comment troll do?

RE: So what?
By R3T4rd on 10/21/09, Rating: -1
RE: So what?
By MrPoletski on 10/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: So what?
By SavagePotato on 10/21/2009 8:24:10 PM , Rating: 3
I support offering him to Afghanistan in the sacrifice an infidel program myself.

RE: So what?
By grandpope on 10/22/09, Rating: 0
RE: So what?
By alphadog on 10/25/2009 12:11:07 PM , Rating: 3
There *is* such a thing as bad publicity. It's called "bad publicity". It's publicity that ruins your brand in a large proportion of the market. Just because IT is full of insecure Asperger's geeks with too much pent up semen from not getting laid enough doesn't mean the rest of the market operates that way. Projection is a dangerous thing.

If you still don't think there's such a thing as bad publicity, an unfortunately often-repeated tripe, think of something like Sinead O'Connor (if you are old enough) ripping the Pope's picture on SNL a few years back and her subsequent immediate slide into obscurity.

RE: So what?
By MrPoletski on 10/30/2009 10:32:14 AM , Rating: 2
Well, if yahoo has a conference near my town now... I'm going...

RE: So what?
By tmouse on 10/21/2009 8:29:19 AM , Rating: 1
It seems like those that went are not the ones complaining. It was the posting of the pictures on the net and the resulting distribution of the pictures that brought this to wide spread attention. Now others are probably being confronted by angry spouses even though they went to far less "stimulating" events at other locations.

RE: So what?
By Jacerie on 10/21/2009 8:48:20 AM , Rating: 3
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."

Awww... looks like someone is jealous he didn't get to go to the Taiwan event.

On a side note, just once I'd love to see one of these companies involved in such a "scandal" to just man up and say, "SO? Stop being a whiny bitch." It's their event and their money. They can spend it however they choose.

RE: So what?
By Master Kenobi on 10/21/2009 9:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
I second this. They need to stop pandering to the politically correct crowd and say hey, if you don't like it, your welcome to decline the invitation. Otherwise, sit down and be quiet.

RE: So what?
By MPE on 10/21/2009 10:02:59 AM , Rating: 5
The 'politically correct crowd' is part of the crowd that Yahoo wants to do business with along with every other crowd. I for one don't care but why bother offending someone when clearly this does not make better goods or services? Did it help Yahoo search or mail? No.
Why get bad press for something that is not even productive? When your stocks are sinking I think this did not this help.

Be pragmatic instead of getting on a soap box.

RE: So what?
By jonup on 10/21/2009 11:39:33 AM , Rating: 2
Bad publicity sometimes is better than no publicity. Look at Paris Hilton for example. :(
Meanwhile I just began a big fan of Yahoo and I am looking forward to attending their next gathering.

RE: So what?
By jimbojimbo on 10/21/2009 1:14:30 PM , Rating: 5
Don't forget your dollar bills.

RE: So what?
By deeznuts on 10/21/2009 6:27:49 PM , Rating: 1
I bet you everyone who Yahoo does business with has looked at porn on their computer.
Just saying.

RE: So what?
By FITCamaro on 10/21/09, Rating: -1
RE: So what?
By jonup on 10/21/2009 11:36:01 AM , Rating: 2
This just smells of people getting on their high and mighty pedestal after the event.

You mean jealous hypocrites, don't you? :P

RE: So what?
By Funksultan on 10/21/2009 1:32:50 PM , Rating: 1
If they want to have lap dancers and scantily clad women what is the big deal?

Ben, you're too smart to think this way. Is someone else using your login?

Um, the reasons this is completely inappropriate are pretty damn obvious. I'm SURE lots of the people here are still thinking, "Whoa, COOL!" but this isn't how a multi-billion dollar corporation should be spending money and/or advertising. It's wrong on a number of levels, all of them adult.

That having been said.... Whoa, cool.

RE: So what?
By jonup on 10/21/2009 3:26:31 PM , Rating: 3
but this isn't how a multi-billion dollar corporation should be spending money and/or advertising.

I am sure Larry Flynt does not think so. :))
On a side note, it is unfortunate that all his efforts went in vain and today every bold statement is followed by an appology. Yahoo's actions are just another example that in nowadays' corporate world the first amendment is de facto unexistant. :((

RE: So what?
By Chumscrubber on 10/21/2009 4:46:22 PM , Rating: 2
Holy shiat!!! I wanna go next year!!!But only if they make the same

RE: So what?
By B3an on 10/21/2009 10:35:48 PM , Rating: 5
Could have been worse, there could have been a nipple slip !!!
We all know how shocking and offensive a nipple is to you yanks (Janet Jackson), would have been the end of yahoo for sure.

They should have just had some violent and gore filled theme, thats perfectly acceptable to americans.

RE: So what?
By atlmann10 on 10/30/2009 2:49:51 AM , Rating: 2
They should just do it in Vegas like a very large amount of companies do their conventions. Prostitution is legal there let alone lap dances. You also know what they say about whatever you do in Vegas.

RE: So what?
By MrPoletski on 10/30/2009 10:29:36 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds more like sombodies wife went on the interweb and saw pictures of her CEO executive husband getting a lapdance and wants an expensive divorce right now...

The Developers..
By StraightCashHomey on 10/21/2009 9:45:42 AM , Rating: 5
"Ohhhh yeahhhhh this is better than my hentai videos!"

Yahoo knew this was the closest these guys would ever come to getting any, so why not help them out a little?

RE: The Developers..
By Fox5 on 10/21/2009 9:56:07 AM , Rating: 3
Knowing Taiwan, they did get a little afterward.

RE: The Developers..
By molgenit on 10/22/2009 7:32:15 AM , Rating: 2
a few shots of antibiotics will clear it right up

RE: The Developers..
By Richlet on 10/24/2009 9:54:51 AM , Rating: 2
Guys, this is Taiwan, not Thailand. Sheesh. Sure, they sound similar, but c'mon.

RE: The Developers..
By molgenit on 10/26/2009 9:04:17 AM , Rating: 2
Are you saying you believe Thailand is the ONLY place you can get "something extra"?

RE: The Developers..
By AntiM on 10/21/2009 9:58:38 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I think they wasted their money by hiring scantily clad women to impress software geeks. Now, if the women had been wearing Wookie costumes or Star Trek uniforms, then maybe it would have been money well spent and Yahoo could have avoided this little embarrassment.

RE: The Developers..
By R3T4rd on 10/21/2009 10:06:33 AM , Rating: 2
No no no...

Its "Wookie costumes and Star Wars uniform".

RE: The Developers..
By theslug on 10/21/2009 10:53:31 AM , Rating: 2
It can be both!

RE: The Developers..
By Klinky1984 on 10/22/2009 4:57:20 PM , Rating: 2
I am always up for a little Wookie on Stormtrooper action...

By SlipDizzy on 10/21/2009 10:18:32 AM , Rating: 5
The only thing I see wrong with this is that I wasn't invited.

Carry on....

RE: Problem?
By FITCamaro on 10/21/2009 3:51:01 PM , Rating: 2
In other news those who complained also announced that they're gay. I'll go in their place next year if they were that upset.

And yes Yahoo hiring insanely hot asian chicks to give guys lap dances, in a public forum no less, DOES make them them coolest company on the face of the f*cking planet. They were not merely trying.

RE: Problem?
By thurston on 10/21/2009 4:55:57 PM , Rating: 5
I bet they were not gay, I bet they where fundamentalist right wing conservatives.

Better Quality Pictures Please
By aguilpa1 on 10/21/2009 9:15:25 AM , Rating: 5
I would need to see better quality more up close pictures of these alleged shenanigans to be able form a more educated and informed opinion on the pros or cons of this activity.

Anyone have any of those??? Please feel free to share. The quality of those fuzzy pics are just awful.

RE: Better Quality Pictures Please
By jonup on 10/21/2009 11:48:52 AM , Rating: 2
You would think geeks would have high quality camaras on their phones. I think these were taped by the dancer! ;)

More PC bull@*@*
By an0dize on 10/21/2009 8:47:33 AM , Rating: 3
Who was hurt by this?

RE: More PC bull@*@*
By Taft12 on 10/21/2009 11:09:39 AM , Rating: 3
Yahoo's reputation, clearly

Ridiculously prude
By wvh on 10/21/2009 3:11:18 PM , Rating: 4
This so-called moral outrage is ridiculous. Granted I'm quite averse to prudes and not a fan of political correctness, but just how sour does one have to be to deny people from enjoying a gimmicky lapdance. If they would have hired a male dancer for the women, would anybody have cried foul that this is denigrating and disrespectful towards men?

We all enjoy a nice body dancing in front of us, and getting a clearly tongue-in-cheek lapdance at such an event (or even at work once in a while) might make a boring job a lot more fun.

I bet a handful insecure women (or insecure men) just want to make everybody's life as joyless as theirs.

We're living in an age where if you don't cater to every single gender or minority (male/female, gay/lesbian, black/white, ...) somebody's going to be butt-hurt and make a large pseudo-high-moral scene about it, destroying the fun for everybody else.

Lemme have my lapdance, damn it...

RE: Ridiculously prude
By jonup on 10/21/2009 3:32:34 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree with the gender/race aspect of you comment to some extend, but...
I bet a handful insecure women (or insecure men) just want to make everybody's life as joyless as theirs.

is spot on!
somebody's going to be butt-hurt and make a large pseudo-high-moral scene about it, destroying the fun for everybody else.

This too!

yes, better pic please
By Rebargod on 10/21/2009 9:33:21 AM , Rating: 2
ugly chick complained......

RE: yes, better pic please
By R3T4rd on 10/21/2009 9:42:38 AM , Rating: 2
No it was thier wives.

Is something "Wrong" with Lap dancing?
By holymaniac on 10/21/2009 3:32:06 PM , Rating: 2
Our Christian based media has sure brainwashed America into thinking sex is bad. It is mostly the sinning christians who think sex is bad as they are so immature they are like children and truly too immature to have responsible adult sex. Probably other religions are right behind them.

By KCjoker on 10/21/2009 7:11:24 PM , Rating: 2
Christian based media? I hope that was sarcasm. Only christian based media I can think of is the 700 club it even still on? And not to speak for christians but they don't think sex is bad. They think sex is bad outside of marriage.

By oldscotch on 10/21/2009 9:27:50 AM , Rating: 3
Oh right, like it's a coincidence that so many conferences are held in Vegas.

how else. . .
By Crazyeyeskillah on 10/21/2009 10:36:31 AM , Rating: 3
are these developers going to get more accurate physics without being exposed to this sort of activity?

Only Ugly !##!!es will complain about it.
By chick0n on 10/21/2009 4:41:41 PM , Rating: 1
Whats wrong with getting a lap dance? Yahoo paid for it. and they enjoyed it.

if you want to whine, go whine at ur dumb husband. if you even have one.

By Zingam on 10/25/2009 5:45:04 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe they wanted a little bit more of what the developers never get...

Lap dancing and similar
By femmum on 10/23/2009 12:25:52 AM , Rating: 3
If a women-run IT company wanted to reward their staff by holding a part where they hired males and stuck dildos up their bums, I wonder how tolerant the majority would be?

Just look at the furore about banks rewarding employees.

This seems much worse 'corporate' behavior to me.

Who cares?
By StraightCashHomey on 10/21/2009 9:02:11 AM , Rating: 2
Who is actually offended by this? Whoever was offended must have the most boring personality ever.

I don't see how this piles on to the idea that Yahoo sucks.

Whats the big deal?
By blueaurora on 10/21/2009 10:54:24 AM , Rating: 2
Yahoo is helping "stimulate" the economy even if it is in Taiwan. If you want to obtain "growth" as a company and in the work place you need to provide stimulus. From the poor quality phone pics show it looks like some nerds may have "got some" of that which was intended.

Tip your waitress and have a good night :)

Well that's it...
By Helbore on 10/21/2009 1:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
No point in going next year. How else are us geeks supposed to get our rocks off, if its not paid for by big business.

Don't tell me I've got to go back to regular dating, I don't think I could take it!

Who was hurt? The stockholder....
By rdhood on 10/21/2009 4:35:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yahoo is a publicly traded company. The stockholder was hurt by these in two ways:

1) company image and brand
2) Yahoo spent company dollars for this.

If I own stock (and I probably do through some mutual fund somewhere), I don't want them spending MY money on lap dances and I don't want them further damaging the brand. I am already POed that they did not take M$'s offer.... it was better than they were ever going to get.

Reminds me of...
By SavagePotato on 10/21/2009 8:26:38 PM , Rating: 2
By MamiyaOtaru on 10/21/2009 9:42:10 PM , Rating: 2
This thread is useless without pix

By Kyanzes on 10/24/2009 6:48:23 AM , Rating: 2
Invite pls.

Yahoo! Isn't a Church!
By iFX on 10/26/2009 3:13:13 AM , Rating: 2

Lap Dances for everyone
By trisct on 10/26/2009 1:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
And what's wrong with lap dances?

They're not illegal. Nobody was forced to watch or participate against their will. Who cares what people who weren't invited think about it?

People spend too much time trying to force their idea of morality on everyone else. If nobody was damaged who bloody cares?

I support single moms
By overlandpark4me on 10/29/2009 2:01:25 AM , Rating: 2
Like the t-shirt says:

Yahoo Lost Face
By mindless1 on 10/29/2009 8:26:15 PM , Rating: 2
If people don't like the environment at Yahoo's event, just don't go (same as any other situation in life!).

Yahoo should have released a statement that read "we wanted lapdancers, we had lapdancers, if you can't lapdance it's not our problem".

I am just so sick of people trying to play moral high ground. If you don't like something VOTE AGAINST IT. If it isn't illegal, STFU. If you don't like your husband going to a far off land where activity xyz isn't illegal, tell him so and then the two of you work out whether he goes or not, but do not pretend you had some kind of *trust* betrayed because Yahoo never claimed they wouldn't have lapdances and guess what, sexuality is a part of life. I highly doubt that if anyone chose to push away the lapdancer that she'd continue to force herself on a patron of the event.

I can't help myself :-)
By amanojaku on 10/21/09, Rating: -1
RE: I can't help myself :-)
By ChristopherO on 10/21/09, Rating: -1
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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