If you’ve been following our news page, you’ll be aware that Yahoo! recently began closing email accounts which have been inactive for more than twelve months. In turn, they have been offering the expired usernames to the public, so that they can be reused (and, hopefully, maintained) again.
As you would expect, Yahoo! have treated the project very seriously from a security standpoint. They’ve been sending thirty days of messages to the current occupiers of presumably expired addresses notifying them that the account will be closed and recycled. People sending to such addresses have also been receiving automated bounce backs informing them that the account is no longer active.
Yahoo! have recently gone a step further with their recycling program by adding a ‘Not My Email’ option to their web mail client. This allows users to flag emails which were intended for the original owner of the account.
From an email marketing perspective, Yahoo!’s spring clean has been both welcome and a little concerning; it has forced marketers to spring clean their own databases, but has thrown fresh light on the perils of not doing so. The new ‘Not My Email’ option will not present an immediate problem for emarketing, as emails will simply be bounced back once the user indicates they don’t want them, but it will again force us to start reviewing our subscriber lists and list hygiene strategy.
It’s possible very few of these recycled email addresses are still on your lists, but it really is important to scour your database for Yahoo! accounts and delete those which are presumed dead. Not My Email bounces should be easy to spot – remove them when you do. Continually sending to such addresses will likely lead to spam complaints, so it is time well spent.