Yahoo strikes again

So I had a hissy fit sometime ago because Yahoo deactivated my email, which I think is a dumb thing to do to a prodigal customer who comes back and wants to try to use your service again. But I created a new identity for one purpose only: to try out the new Yahoo email. I waited patiently. I was told that finally, I could try out the new mail and when I had some spare time, I sat down prepared to enjoy what I’d heard such good things about. And what happens? Deactivated. I don’t care how groovy it is, I am not using Yahoo email or RSS if I cannot trust that it will be there. Old girlfriends and stray dogs are more loyal than Yahoo.

Compare and contrast that with Seth Godin’s Squidoo. A lens-creator (aka page-creator) there got an email saying that if he didn’t update his lens, it would killed. He blogged it. And Seth threw himself on his sword with abject apology and Squidoo sent email to all the affected users telling them to nevermind. [via Bubblegeneration]

I certainly hope Yahoo doesn’t start thinking they can kill my and Flickr accounts because I don’t use them as often as they think I should. They did kill my beloved Oddpost, which I used for email — even paid for — as they took it behind the walls at Yahoo and cooked up the new email I am constantly thwarted from using.

This is why I say Yahoo is the last of the old media companies — because Yahoo thinks they’re in control. No, I’m in control. I’m using Gmail — which, it so happens, is good enough to use every day.

UPDATE AND APOLOGY: I do have a Yahoo account. I’ve had three recently. The first two were killed. But the third and latest is alive. My mistake. I am still antsy, having had prior identities zapped. But this one does exist. So my wrong. Oh, and I’m still not in the new mail.

  • Peter

    I don’t know — I can see a difference here. Squidoo and Technorati incur essentially no cost if you never return to log in. Yahoo Mail will still have to process huge volumes of spam aimed at your dormant account.

    There should be a compromise. When you register, you give a primary email address. If you haven’t been by in X months, AND a certain amount of spam has come in, then they ping you and say you’ve got 30 days to click a link in the email to keep the account active. Oh, and if they do shut it down, they should keep your old email around, just stop accepting new incoming email.

    In the end, I guess this is a classic case of “you get what you pay for.” ;)

  • Jimmy

    Yahoo is pretty upfront with its policies: you don’t use them, they don’t keep you. I’m a former Hotmail user, but Microsoft screwed it up, so I stopped. When I decided to go back and check it out, it had been deactivated, but all I had to do was go through a few steps and I was back in business. I’m a current Yahoo Mail user, and I think their latest version is great, better even than gmail; although, the RSS reader sucks as compared to something like Bloglines or Wizz RSS Reader for Firefox (Google Reader is no better). I see nothing wrong with Yahoo deactivating unused email accounts, but they need a simple system in place to easily reactivate. They are, after all, trying to create loyalty, not fly-by-night tramps who want to nibble here and there and ignore them for months at a time. And yes, I will agree that loyalty can be created by letting the customer do whatever the hell they want — for example, sign up for accounts you use once or twice a year that are never deactivated — but they are a business after all. They’re here to serve the multitudes, not a few overly pampered people. By the way, read the gmail terms of service. They have a very similar deactivation policy; the only difference is they don’t explicitly say you will be deactivated after 4 months of inactivity. Four months! If you haven’t used the account in that length of time, why should Yahoo ever consider you a loyal customer? Granted, keeping an account active has very little cost (at least as far as I know), but why should Yahoo make an effort if you don’t? Customer service is a two-way street – something that has been lost in the “customer is always right” world.

  • Andy Freeman

    I opened a yahoo account about seven years ago and never used it. A couple of months ago, I decided that I’d like to try some Yahoo services. I filled out the account reactivation form and it worked, e-mail and all. Yes, they’d thrown away all the mail that had accumulated in it, but how long should it have remained active?

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  • Funny, Gmail gives me well over two gigabytes of indefinite storage. I thought it had been well established that the incremental cost of storage was so low as to be unmeasurable.

    What is the percentage of Yahoo users with dormant accounts? What percentage of spam does that represent? What is the marginal cost of each of those users?

    I expect the answer to all the above is “trivial.” I don’t see why anybody is defending Yahoo in this context. It doesn’t cost them to keep your account alive. High-volume regular users cost more than occasional users just on the basis of server calls. And if you piss off enough high-profile early adopters, what you end up with is bad press that is permanently archived, like this entry.

    After spending $36 million on Flickr and God knows how many more millions on Delicious, this is no time for Yahoo to be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

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  • htom

    I’ve given up on Yahoo. I tried for months to join groups but couldn’t manage to do so. Created more than a handful of accounts which I was never able to access … but which were used to spam me.

    I’ve finally quit. I’d like to join a dozen groups, but not it is not worth the trouble.

  • I used Yahoo email for years and I’m using Gmail now. The Yahoo’s close-email policy worried me and I’m now happy with Gmail. And Gmail has more benefits for me: it has less ads then Yahoo and its spam filter is much more smart then Yahoo’s (at least now I have not spam in my Gmail mailbox when in Yahoo’s I had thousands of them).

  • James Bond

    Yahoo is a piece of trash service. The only good thing about yahoo is the yahoo MSN. Hotmail is 100 times better than yahoo since it got a better spam filter. I use yahoo only to chat. I would never use yahoo as my primary email provider since it really sucks big time. Gmail is the best option, definitely. 2 GBs of memory, virtually no spam, and tons of little details such as gmail notifier and email search. Yeah, yahoo is going down big time. Also, the chatting rooms provided by yahoo are full of girls with webcam. Wha’s up with that? I hate those goldiggers just trying to get your hard-worked money. Another reason to hate yahoo.

  • Edgar

    I cannot belive this crap…out of nowhere yahoo cancelled my email account. No reasons, I used this pretty much everyday. Did not received one warning or explanation.

  • Pradeep

    I just realised today that my account [email protected] has been deactivated two days after I last used it. I don’t know why, but if i broke some of Yahoo’s rules, I am sorry about it and will appreciate your help to get it reactivated.

  • debra

    Well here it is christmas eve morning and after spending $186.00 on the post office to send 3 boxes to Hawaii for my grandaughter for christmas they have not arrived. I was told they would be there in plenty of time being sent priority mail if I were to get the boxes there on or before the 18th of December so I trudge there to the send them on the 16th. I highly doubt these gifts will show up any time soon because like alot of americans I have lost faith in the mail service. The money is not the point but how do you explain to a 5 year old about her christmas gifts. Merry Christmas to me huh!!!