Age is not just a number

Reorganizing my online presence is one of the items on my agenda this month. It includes updating my profiles on the 100+ websites that I have become a member of in the last 10 years or so.

Today, I started with editing my Yahoo profile, and here’s what I had in the ‘age’ field:



Now I know that they have my birthday in their database somewhere, so I can’t seem to comprehend why my age is not automatically updated. It may look like a small thing, but if a few million Yahoo subscribers have to update their ages each year, and if each such update takes a few seconds, that translates into many man-months of wasted time, when it should have taken the developer a few hours to add and test this small feature! Isn’t saving the users from redundant tasks the whole point of software in the first place?

Next I went to the MSN live website to see what needs to be updated there, and here’s their version:



Atleast their programmers know the limits of a ‘short’, if not the human lifespan.

Microsoft also has my birthday recorded. Here’s how they get it:



So they are letting newborns create an account, but require them to grow up to the age of 18 before they can have a profile… hmm

Naturally, I went to google to see how those guys are handling things, and guess what … I couldn’t find any form field that required my age OR birthday (correct me if I am wrong please). Don’t they have to profile me for ad targeting?! The closest thing I could find was on Orkut:


Very nice! They are restricting the newborns from registering AND enforcing the 18-ish year limit all using the simple combobox. They are also using my birthday to figure out my age.

Since this post was supposed to test the image upload capabilities of BlogDesk (yes, it works!), so I will end it here.

I don’t know how many people get frustrated by these things, but I strongly believe that getting such small features just right plays a major role in creating a positive brand image.