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Who Started The "Dear Yahoo, I've Never Heard Anyone Say 'Let's Yahoo It' Sincerely Google" Twitter Joke?

As you might expect, I monitor a number of search-related topics being discussed on Twitter. Over the past few days, there’s been spike in funny bit of advice that Google is giving Yahoo — that no one says, “Let’s Yahoo It.” But how did that get started?

Let’s start with the joke first:

Dear Yahoo,

I’ve never heard anyone say, “I don’t know, let’s Yahoo! it…” just saying…

Sincerely, Google

Was It eLDee?

When I first noticed this taking off this week, I traced it back to musician eLDee, who tweeted it out there and got a number of retweets from his 35,000 followers:

Did FunnyFacts Steal The Joke?

Today, I saw a flood of new tweets saying the same thing. This time, they were coming off FunnyFacts_ (yes, with an underscore), which tweets one liner jokes out to its 76,000 followers. It put out this:

I felt a little bad for eLDee. Funny Facts appeared to have taken his joke without credit. But then I wondered — was it even his joke in the first place?


Twitter Rewards A Dubious Account

My first stop was to do a simple search on Twitter for “Yahoo” to see what might be turning up. That gave me Lord___Stewie as a top tweet, saying this back from May 1:

No, that’s not an official Family Guy account. It’s not even the @LordStewie parody account with 54,000 followers. In fact, it’s an account that Twitter apparently suspended and then blocked from having new followers. But it still made it into search results as a top tweet.

Google Realtime Search Fails

Next stop: Google Realtime Search, which lets you search far further back in time than Twitter Search does.

I could see that this joke has been going on since the beginning of the year, with a particularly large spike in January, as the timeline to the right shows.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t pin down exactly what made the spike in January. Google Realtime Search doesn’t let you drill in precisely enough with that timeline (it’s so small, that it’s hard to navigate).

Checking back further, Google listed the first tweet happening on November 1, 2010. But as this came from a relatively small account, and wasn’t retweeted much according to Twitter, I doubted that Google was accurate.

Topsy To The Rescue

That took me over to Topsy. Here, I searched for the tweet, and Topsy found the oldest from August 19, 2010, from an account called @DearBlankPlease. Here’s the tweet:

Origin: The Dear Blank Please Site

That, in turn, links to the Dear Blank Please site, where the tweet seems to have come off a post there:

But Author Remains Unknown

Since the posts at Dear Blank Please come from submissions, and those accepted don’t credit the actual author, we still don’t know the person actually started this. But I’m pretty sure we now know the origin, for what it’s worth.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

And what’s it really worth? I suppose a reminder that it’s kind of sad how quickly credit can get lost for anything being tweeted. If this concerns you, be sure to use Twitter’s official retweet feature. Or if you’re going to quote someone, name them.

From a search perspective, it highlights that Google Realtime Search can be bested by Topsy. Google Realtime Search should have that tweet in its database. It does, officially, stretch back that far. But I couldn’t find it there. Topsy, in contrast, came through.

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