Yahoo! Messenger Invisible / Stealth Quirks ~ How they know
Stealth Settings aren't perfect and your invisibility isn't invincible. These days it's easy enough to work out if a user is actually Online yet "invisible" either to many, or just to one person, so please be very aware that if you set your status to "invisible" chances are that if your "friend" is persistent enough they will be able to track down your true online status in minutes if they really want to, here's how your friends are finding out your status is set to "invisible"....
is a Yahoo! feature that allows your online status (be that online or offline) to be available on Yahoo! services like your Yahoo! 360 page, Yahoo! Profiles, Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! Games etc.
If your status becomes "available" on Yahoo! Messenger and you then, or have already, enabled Stealth Settings to Appear Offline / Permanently Offline to one or more friends, or a group of your friends, then please be aware that the Stealth settings ONLY apply to people on your friends list within Yahoo! Messenger itself. Stealth settings have no impact whatsoever on your online status reflected on Yahoo! service pages like your profile page (or Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! 360 etc) and as such, those will reflect your "true status" not the status applied by your Stealth settings.
e.g I'm twitchy with one of my friends Peanut, so I apply "Appear Offline" to her ID on my friends list, I now come online (available) and start chatting to other friends, they can all see that I am "available" but Peanut will just see my "offline" status. Peanut will continue to assume I am in fact "offline"... right up until she browses to any of the Yahoo! service pages, like my profile http://profiles.yahoo.com/bourbon_bee which will reflect my "Online" status. My Stealth settings are only applicable to Yahoo! Messenger, not Yahoo! services, so Peanut puts two and two together and comes up with the fact that I am online, just "invisible" to her... one highly ticked off friend.... teach her to go snooping around though ;)
If you want to prevent your status being reflected on Yahoo! pages then you can disable the online presence feature, from within Yahoo! Messenger click on Messenger > Preferences > Privacy (left hand column) then uncheck the box beside Allow Yahoo! web sites to show when I am online, click Apply, Click OK.
Now head to your profile ( http://edit.yahoo.com/config/eval_profile) login, click on Create/Edit Profiles (right hand column) and make sure that you select the box to hide your online status, make sure you click Finished Editing (button top and bottom right of the page), then just log out of your profile page.
Once complete, regardless of whether you are logged onto Yahoo! Messenger as available or "invisible" (to all or just select users), your online presence status will always show as "unavailable" on any Yahoo! services page.
Quirk: if you find your online status indicator is a bit wonky e.g it wont reflect your true status, there is a "quirk" re the system, that being, if you log in to yahoo messenger as "invisible" your online status indicator may always show you as "offline" even if you later switch to "available" so if you experience any problems trying disabling invisible login and use "available" :)
There is a unofficial / unsupported Yahoo! Messenger Invisible "test plugin" doing the rounds at the moment, it's claim to fame is that it allows you to check the invisibility status of your friends.... but all it's actually doing is checking your friends Profile page.... you can do that yourself without running an unsupported Plugin. If you want to read more about it you can check out the posting in our forum about it.
"Buddy Spy is the premier program for Yahoo! Messenger status checking. With Buddy Spy you can now bypass Yahoo! Messenger's Invisible Settings with ease. With its quick and intuitive interface Buddy Spy offers you the ability to see if your friend is truly online or if they are invisible. Not only does Buddy Spy offer you online checking, but it will also tell you whether your friend is in a Chat Room or even if their Web Cam is online!"
Buddy-Spy is an incredibly popular program, basically it allows users to check the "true" status of their friends... strange but true... and it works pretty much 99% of the time but there are exceptions....
beesitoy was set to "invisible" as was bourbon_bee and stickercam, yet it only managed to detect the first two IDs as actually being "online", beesitoy on the 3rd scan, and both had webcam sessions running. I'm yet to get buddy-spy to actually detect webcams but that's perhaps a configuration issue on my part. Either way, Buddy-spy is an extremely well presented, professional program (and website), I'm not quite sure why someone would wish to "spy" on their friends...
Personally it doesn't really bother me if someone does know I am "invisible" or not... more fool them if they think they know what I'm "really" up to as more often than not I set my status to "invisible" when I'm not actually at my computer so their IM's just get ignored anyways ;) speaking of ignore.. if you're being bothered by a persistent friend who seems to lack respect for your status... don't forget that Yahoo! Messenger also comes with a nifty "ignore" feature ;)
our article Yahoo! Messenger Invisible / Stealth Settings
our forum thread Yahoo Messenger (beta) V6,0,0,1555
our article Yahoo! Messenger v6 Beta Stealth Settings
Yahoo! Messenger Stealth Feature
Yahoo! Messenger Help What Are Stealth Settings