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Yahoo promotes its own stock plunge on messenger

The company finds itself the subject of a little-known personalization feature, automatically notifying its own customers of a precipitous 21 percent drop in its stock price.

Yahoo found itself the subject of a little-known personalization feature Wednesday, automatically notifying its own customers of a precipitous 21 percent drop in its stock price.

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Yahoo sounded the alarm over its Yahoo Messenger service, pinging countless people with news of the decline in an automated stock alert. The alert consisted of a terse box of data showing Yahoo's ticker symbol, the stock price close and the percentage drop.

Unfortunately for investors, the message arrived after market close and left some recipients more puzzled than enlightened.

"Did I sign up for this?" one recipient asked.

Shares in Yahoo dropped $17.31 to $65.38 Wednesday, a day after the company reported earnings that beat Wall Street expectations but raised concerns over the company's long-term growth outlook.

Yahoo has long offered consumers personalization features aimed at giving people more control over their Web experience. Its Yahoo Messenger service has an online stock alert feature with a preset portfolio that includes Yahoo. The default settings trigger an automatic notification when any stock in the group moves more than 20 percent.

Wednesday's notification came around 1 p.m. PT--nearly 24 hours after news agencies were reporting the slide in Yahoo's shares, which began Tuesday in after-hours trading, and far too late for investors to minimize their losses by dumping the stock.

Yahoo said it doesn't comment on its stock price.