Yahoo! Update: Account Deactivation and Your Call to Action

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Email Marketing

YahooYahoo! started spring cleaning some time ago, removing older products with few users and security problems. The company’s next mission is to retire inactive email accounts, starting July 15.

This means that Yahoo! subscribers who do not respond to a message will be unsubscribed, and their accounts will become available for use to new subscribers.

From mid-July through mid-August, all of these inactive accounts will be hard bounced. We’ve noticed an increase in hard bounces to Yahoo!, so they may have already begun to implement this. These inactive accounts have the potential to be converted into spam traps.

During this process, this change at Yahoo! is going to have an impact on your email delivery.

There are at least two ways this Yahoo! change could damage your email program:

  • If someone activates one of those retired emails and you send a marketing message to them, there is a genuine risk they’ll mark your message as spam.
  • If one of those retired emails is turned into a spam trap, and you send a marketing message to it, your message will be marked as spam.

We strongly recommend you implement this four-step program to ensure that your list stays clean, and that the person who receives your email is the one who signed up for it, not someone who recently activated an address that used to belong to your customer.

1. Examine all your email lists for Yahoo! subscribers who have not responded in the last 11 months.

  • Segment these addresses for a campaign to be sent during the last half of July and the early part of August. The intent is to ensure that you have appropriate bounces for these accounts.
  • A re-engagement campaign with a small incentive would serve the dual purpose of suppressing the accounts Yahoo! is re-activating and encouraging disengaged customers to come back.

2. Protect your customers. Transactional emails usually contain personal information, and it is vital to protect your customers’ identities during this transition.

  • If you send account updates, make sure that you send them during late July through early August to your Yahoo! subscribers.
  • Create a suppression list for any addresses at Yahoo! where there have been no responses in 11 months. Include any addresses which hard bounce from the above campaign in that suppression list.

3. Send from a monitored email address or use a profile center with a change-of-address form. This will allow subscribers to contact you to change their email address and notify you, if you happen to be sending email to the new owner of an email address.

4. Be willing to suppress any unengaged Yahoo! email addresses you do not include in your late July or early August sends. Protect your customers’ identities, and respect the inboxes of the new individuals who obtain those addresses.

Take advantage of the time period for which Yahoo! has confirmed these addresses will be hard bounced, and do the right things. You’ll find yourself with a cleaner list, and protect your customers.