Time To Kick Yahoo To The Kerb Before It Ruins Email Marketing For All

There's no getting around it -- Yahoo Mail has been a thorn in my side for several years now, and I know it has been the same for many friends and colleagues. So today I've taken the bold move to switch the Yahoo account I have used for twenty years to Gmail. The process appears simple enough and while I wait for the end result to bed down and get used to receiving email via Google rather than Yahoo, all I'm left wondering is why i left it so long?

As any other UK resident who lives in an uncontested broadband area, BT is the only game in town for me. You can buy a service from someone else, but it's simply a rebadging of BT's service, so there is little point. That means I've had a BT email address for around twenty years now, which means I have had an up and down relationship with Yahoo Mail for the same amount of time. For those who were not aware, the country's biggest broadband provider uses Yahoo for its millions of users. 

The network is legendary for going down for a day or so at a time, always with the same response from bemused BT help-line people. After they deny there is anything wrong, your social feeds show other people are having the usual problems with Yahoo and you bide your time. That evening or the next day, Yahoo is again apologising in the news for their systems going down, leaving millions without email. A friend of mine actually lost several years worth of emails in one of these outages. All she got from BT and Yahoo was a shrug and an assurance that it wasn't just her -- these things are not uncommon. Many years of email were gone forever.

Then we have the hacking scandals that just won't leave Yahoo alone. Who knows if it is one, two or multiple attacks, but the past few months have led the giant to publicly admit that it's had a hacking problem over the past couple of years. Today it turns out that hackers were able to forge Yahoo session cookies -- meaning that they didn't even need to get a password to get into an account. They simply had to fool a computer into thinking that a previous session was being picked up again.

I can't tell you how much it makes my blood boil to be on the receiving end of Yahoo lectures on changing passwords to remain secure when the problem has been at their end. I could change my email details many times and I would still not be protected. Yet there they are again, telling users to change passwords and protect themselves properly. What's the point when we're not the problem?

You can see a common theme here, can't you? It's always the customer's fault. BT never admits there's a problem with the network and Yahoo blames users for not changing their passwords.

But here's the thing. I've had to change my Yahoo password at least once a week over the past couple of months because the system is detecting too many failed log-in attempts. And before we start -- no, it's not me running old devices using old passwords. The problem is clearly at Yahoo's end. Either the hackers who have got into their systems are still there stealing data, or their success has encouraged chancers to have a pop at a clearly insecure system. Possibly both.

The upshot is that I'm moving on. I suggest you do the same. Yahoo's problems are not isolated. They've been going on for years, but the recent requirement to change my password every few days because someone is trying to guess it is just a stage way too far.

If we all allow Yahoo to keep ruining email, then we can hardly complain when consumers eventually have enough and move on to messaging systems on which marketers would no longer have a direct relationship.

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