Can you trust your chat service?

If you are like millions of Internet users you probably use a chat service daily. Whether you use your provider’s client or a third party client, you need to be able to trust that your chat provider is going transmit your messages reliably and accuratly. Nevermind concerns that one or more agencies of our Republican Overlords have set up a secret closet at our provider to capture and catalog our conversations, since that is a given; but we still expect them to transfer them intact.

Personally, I use Adium for OS X because it has an awesome interface and allows me to consolidate all my chat accounts under one application. My only complaint with Adium is that it only writes out the chat logs when the application is closed. I tend to leave Adium running for days, or weeks, at a time on my laptop because I only reboot for OS updates; so when Adium does crash I lose a fairly large chunk of my chat history. Enough of that though, I just wanted to disclose the chat client I was using when I noticed that a particular chat service was not working as expected.

I hate spelling out URLs, so when I saw a blog posting that I thought would interest my World of Warcraft addicted girlfriend I tried to IM her the URL. I sent it, and then after a couple of moments when she wasn’t smirking I asked she had received it yet. She hadn’t, so I resent. Then I logged out and back in, no go. She did the same. Still no URL over IM. So, I started munging the URL to see what happend, and it became obvious that it was the domain in the URL that was causing my message to be filtered out.

Time I sent this on Yahoo! IM My GF received
I disconnected  
I connected  
  she disconnected
  she connected
6:30 . .
6:30 son of a bitch…  
6:30 son of a bitch son of a bitch
6:31 ntproject blogspot com/ ntproject blogspot com/
6:31 ntproject blogspot com ntproject blogspot com

Needless to say, things look odd. Is the issue Adium, or is it Yahoo? My GF and I both have AIM accounts set up with our Adium clients, so I send her the same URL via AIM. Entirely different results:

Time I sent this on AOL IM My GF received

I have tested this by sending a URL to another friend on Yahoo, and it failed to arrive as well. Give it a try. Send the above URL to someone you know, and feel free to post a comment here with your results.

At this point, it seems fairly obvious that Yahoo! IM is filtering out messages that contain in the message. So far I have only found this one thing that they are filtering, but that is enough to destroy my confidence in them. How many times in the past was a dropped message actually filtered and not a network issue or a failure of Yahoo to adequately handshake the transaction and confirm delivery. I guess I’ll have to find a more trustworthy chat service, but I can’t help feeling like I’ve been through an earthquake: You don’t expect the earth to shake under you, and I didn’t expect Yahoo! to filter chat messages.


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