Yahoo!’s Woes Have Oil Traders Chattering
Commodities ▶ Many rely on the Messenger service to stay in touch ▶ “Everybody uses it, and you keep your Yahoo wherever you go”
Oil traders take price slumps, sanctions, and natural disasters in stride. The decline of a vintage internet company has them scrambling.
Yahoo!’ s chat service, Messenger, has for almost 18 years been the default communication tool for the men and women who each day trade billions of dollars’ worth of crude and petroleum products around the planet. From Singapore to Rotterdam, deals are pitched, contracts are negotiated, and lunch dates are made on Messenger.
Now the company’s internet assets, including its chat service, are up for sale, and the future of Messenger is uncertain. Yahoo, meanwhile, is forcing new users to connect via an updated version that compliance officers at some trading houses have declared offlimits because chats can’t be recorded and logged internally—something the old version allows.
Socar Trading, a Geneva-based arm of Azerbaijan’s national oil company, has already set up a working group to find a solution for its employees. While it’s identified potential alternatives, the main issue is whether the people they want to talk to will join in. “There is not much sense in providing a product with great compliance functionality if none of the industry are using it,” says Azru Azimov, the trading group’s chief executive officer.