Why Yahoo!'s Dormant-Address Revival is Probably Good News
By Ken Magill
Yahoo!'s planned revival of dormant addresses is looking like good news for marketers who even somewhat follow best practices and the result should be some cleaner files.
The webmail provider last week announced it would reset subscriber IDs that hadn’t been active for a year or more and free them up for others.
“If you’re like me, you want a Yahoo! ID that’s short, sweet, and memorable like email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org,” wrote Jay Rossiter, senior vice president, platforms, in a post on newly acquired Tumblr. “A Yahoo! ID is not only your email address, it also gives you access to content tailored to your interests – like sports scores for your favorite teams, weather in your hometown, and news that matters to you.
“So, how are we making these Yahoo! IDs available? We’re freeing up IDs, that have been inactive for at least 12 months, by resetting them and giving them a fresh start. In mid July, anyone can have a shot at scoring the Yahoo! ID they want. In mid August, users who staked a claim on certain IDs can come to Yahoo! to discover which one they got.”
The question for readers of this newsletter, of course, is how Yahoo! will treat the commercial email these dormant accounts are already receiving.
After all, they’re live addresses that presumably have not been bouncing. Most marketers aren’t overly fond of removing email addresses from their files simply because they haven’t been active in a year. As a result, it is likely some of these dormant addresses may be on some marketers’ email lists and receiving messages from them.
Yahoo! has considered this possibility and is apparently taking the appropriate steps.
“We're taking every action we can to ensure that users who sign up for recycled Yahoo! IDs receive as little commercial email or spam as possible,” wrote a Yahoo! spokesperson in an email exchange with the Magill Report.
[And, yes, we appreciate the fact that the Yahoo! spokesperson differentiated between commercial email and spam.]
“First, we'll be shutting down inactive accounts for 30 days before releasing them to new owners,” wrote the spokesperson. “During that time, we're going to unsubscribe the inactive accounts from as much commercial email as possible and all incoming emails will receive bounce back messages.”
So there you have it: All email marketers have to do is honor unsubscribes and remove addresses that bounce and Yahoo!’s recycling of old addresses shouldn’t cause any trouble.
Moreover, the action might help some marketers identify addresses that should have been scrubbed a long time ago.