Back in April, we blogged about Yahoo! and their recent efforts to purge their database of inactive email accounts. For senders, the knock-on effects have been potentially quite harmful with increased and indeterminable bounce rates. It also offers the unpalatable thought that our subscriber lists may be full of ‘dead’ email addresses.

Do not fear, though. Yahoo!’s sudden bout of spring cleaning could be good news for your own list hygiene regime.

To clarify, Yahoo! have confirmed that they are releasing user IDs which haven’t been accessed for over twelve months, thus allowing other people to register them. This is a policy they say they will uphold, moving forward.

So, if you’re in charge of email marketing at your company, what should you do? It goes without saying that Yahoo!’s purge isn’t something which is best ignored, but taking note of the following three tips will do your subscriber lists (and, consequently, your campaigns) the world of good.

1) Remove inactive Yahoo! addresses

Firstly, you need to identify addresses which may fall into Yahoo!’s 12 month inactive timeframe. This isn’t quite as difficult as it may sound. In fact, it’s really simple. If an email address hasn’t engaged with any of your campaigns (either by opening or clicking) in the last twelve months, remove them from your database. Yahoo! have probably already beat you to it.

2) Allow future subscriptions

Yahoo! are allowing people to sign up again for user IDs they have released and you should be similarly minded about your potential future subscribers. If you’ve removed inactive Yahoo! addresses from your lists, ensure they can be re-subscribed in future with the creation of a new customer record. The new owner could become one of your best customers!

3) Keep a closer eye on bounce reports

They’re easily left alone, bounce reports, but turning your back could be doing real harm to your campaigns. There’s nothing worse than burying your head in the sand, and Yahoo! might ¬†be providing just the nudge you need to take a closer look at those reports. Keep an eye out for high bounce rates from Yahoo addresses, paying particular attention to the types of failure report. ‘This user doesn’t have a Yahoo!.com account’ is easy to spot!

We will continue to monitor the situation and update you with anything we feel you should bear in mind for your email marketing strategy. Yahoo! are being pleasantly open about what they’re doing, which makes it easy to adjust your strategy accordingly. Start by bearing in mind the three tips above.


Mark is one of mailingmanager's email experts. His contributions to this blog openly share the tricks, tips and best practices he's learned while running multiple e-marketing campaigns.

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