What Should You Do About Yahoo!?

Letters marked return to sender

Expect a rise in hard bounces from Yahoo email addresses

As you may have heard, Yahoo! has begun a program to recycle dormant user names. On the 15th of July they will start reissuing Yahoo! IDs that have been inactive for more than twelve months. I recently published a blog post on the DMA Email Marketing Council blog discussing some of the wider issues of this program. I won’t rehash all of the details here but instead focus on the practical implications for our clients.

Starting on Monday of this week, Yahoo! started hard bouncing the email addresses that will be reallocated. It is imperative that you ensure that all Yahoo! addresses in your database have been mailed before the 15th of July deadline. If this happens naturally through the course of your normal email program than you have little to worry about in the short term.

If you will not send an email to every Yahoo! account before 15 August, then these are the 6 key steps you should take to reach at least the customers who have a forwarding rule set up (and will therefore see these emails):

    1. Develop a special email communication to reach out to your Yahoo! base. Ideally the email will generate an open or a click so you know that the Yahoo! account is still active. I would suggest this email takes a very matter of fact approach detailing the changes at Yahoo! and encourages the recipient to log into their Yahoo! account to keep it current.
    2. This might also be a good time to capture a better email address from the recipient. For the recipients who have not opened and clicked in more than twelve months, you will want to use a very strong subject line to get them to open this email. Don’t forget to include the Yahoo! email address in the body copy of your email in case the recipient automatically forwards your messages to another account.
    3. Prioritise those Yahoo! addresses that have not opened or clicked in over twelve months.
    4. Identify those users who both log-in using a Yahoo! address and have not opened or clicked on an email in over twelve months. If these accounts get reassigned, the new owner will be able to access your customer’s account which poses a security risk for them and a nightmare for you.
    5. If you have a log-in on your site that uses email address, then you might also want to include a pop-up warning whenever a person logs in using a Yahoo! account encouraging to keep that account current.

What about unsubscribers?
One of the questions, I have been asked quite a bit when discussing this with clients is whether this email can be treated as a service message and therefore be sent to addresses that have unsubscribed. If your site has a log-in and personal or credit card data is stored behind that log-in then I would say yes with the usual caveat that you cannot use this as a chance to do guerrilla marketing. If on the other hand, you have the recipients email address for marketing purposes only then this message cannot be considered a service message and should only go to your opt-in list.

  1. Lastly, don’t just focus on .co.uk and .com addresses but remember all the various forms of Yahoo! address such as:
  • Yahoo.fr
  • Rocketmail.com
  • etc.

Given the global proliferation of email and the addresses that go with that, I suspect that this will become a regular part of the email marketing landscape. Better to get a strategy in place and tested now, so you are ready whenever this issue comes along.

Got more questions or your own tips? Do share them below, we’ll be happy to help out.