Yahoo email now with sponsored spam

c: | f: Website / Design

People logging into Yahoo’s email accounts (like rocketmail) may have noticed a rather nasty-looking advert directly in their inbox. Oh dear, Yahoo, oh dear.

One of my throw-away email accounts is with Yahoo’s Rocketmail. They keep ‘tinkering’ with the layout and it’s getting more and more unusable by the week: hiding this, stopping you from doing that, etc.

The latest addition to help them try and make money is to inject sponsored advertisements directly into your inbox, as if it’s a real message.

Yahoo spam folder contentsYahoo inbox spam

This Yahoo-sponsored spam message is undeletable and takes up a slot in your inbox, which on mobile’s limited screen size is going to be a pain. What’s ironic is that they congratulate me on keeping my inbox spam-free and then add their own spam directly to the inbox and make it permanent. As if I’m going to click on a hair care or beauty product anyway.

Unlike Gmail’s ads, which are tucked away neatly above the main message bar and are relevant to the inbox content, Yahoo’s terrible, random monetization attempt is badly executed, completely obtrusive, and makes it look like your inbox has been hit with malware.

There’s a feature request to remove (or at least tone down) the intrusion but, predictably, Yahoo have said it’s necessary in order to keep the service free. Oh, and if you don’t like it, pay for their premium ad-free email service.

Well I have one word for you Yahoo:

No!

There’s already a massive animated sidebar ad which makes the screen real-estate even tighter. The whole experience is starting to feel like being in an AOL browser again, with a postage-stamp size content area in the middle of a sea of distracting advertisements and junk UI.

Google have proved that ads (and email) can be done sensibly, intelligently and without impacting the user experience… too much. Yahoo, however, don’t seem to understand their customers, which is hardly a surprise to anyone who has accidentally ended up on their “news” front page full of sensationalised celebrity headlines.

Regardless that the ads are easily removed with some ad-blocking software or a simple Firefox extension, a negative user experience combined with bullying people into paying to remove ads is a great way to drive away consumers.

How do I know? Because rather than pay, I suspect a lot of people will do what I’ve just done: export my emails, delete my Yahoo account and up-sticks to someone else like, oooh, GMX Mail which is just divine in comparison.

Up yours, Yahoo. Go the way of AOL.

10 cats could be bothered to write something

    Andy

    Amusingly, or more likely predictably, it also places some of the offending messages conveniently in the Spam folder.

    Well, looks like it’s time for me to “Lean Out”.

    Already had to change my p/w for it (and any others that might have been affected) a couple of months ago after a strange message from them which seemed to accuse me of being careless, and that I might be unsecured in some way. Unlikely.
    Ebay pulled the same stunt last month, 3 weeks after I’d changed p/w.
    Blame and shame the punters. It’s the way forward, obviously.

    The Yahoo “alert” mail traced back to an office building in Cali., whatever BT is called over there.

    Stef Dawson

    I didn’t hang around long enough to find out if it chucked them in the spam folder too. That’s pretty funny!

    I totally agree about the corporations not willing to accept responsibility for their bad decisions (Hotmail puts an upper limit on password length of 16 characters, which is just mental. It’s almost like they want to attract hackers). But any issues are more often than not “my fault” or “my problem” to mop up their mess or bad policies.

    A degree of transparency and culpability once in a while would go a long way to building trust between us and businesses.

    Andy

    Oopsie. Meant the attempted accessing traced back to (I presume the perp’s) ISP in that building after I went to the use log doobry.

    Apols. Braincrushed, after driving a shrieking drunken madwoman around Majorca in the blazing midday sun, with the lid down, for a week. On the wrong side of the road, in an automatic shift clapped-out rental clown car.
    None of which I’ve ever done before, and will never do again.
    Hey ho, musn’t grumble. Worse things happen at sea, etc.

    Andy

    I have just closed my yahoo account as I do not want spam from anybody, if they are going to spam us its simple, mas deletion of account they will soon end this bullsh!te.

    Paul

    AOL indeed. Well said Stef. It is nice to have my anger articulated by your rant ;) The last year has seen a string of insults to users from Yahoo Mail. The arrogant, f*** you attitude is growing daily and will no doubt sink that once great ship. It is the last straw for any reasonable person. It seems that any time they f*** up and have to backstep on something, e.g. tabs/folders, they introduce more insults, as if to assert power. Its as if Yahoo is saying: ‘Good enough for you, I am not your b*tch, user.’ That’s not very friendly or professional in my opinion. Usability seems to reflect their condescending to users.

    Ant

    Well, today I go to my Yahoo7mail and see that stupid banner ad for the first time in my inbox. What the f*** is this??? I knew it was an ad straight away. Not happy Yahoo is starting this rubbish. Ads are bad enough surrounding my inbox – I don’t need it IN my inbox too masquerading as real email. I hate that! Yahoo7s services in Oz are just pathetic. I stopped using their Calendar ages ago – no Queensland timezone. WTF! This is the Aussie branch of Yahoo and they don’t have a timezone for the state of Queensland!!! Come on Yahoo7 there’s only 6 states and a mainland territory for gods sake. How hard can it be! Their TV Guide doesn’t work either and it’s getting worse. Now every single time I go to their stupid site I have to set up by region and my channels – every single time??!! WTF! And when I find a TV show I like I hit the “Like” button – and nothing – it doesn’t add any shows to “My Shows” list anymore. It used to, but not now. Can’t add anything new. So tried what passes as customer support – hopeless. Couldn’t solve the problem. In the end they say to download a different browser. Yeah right. They either support IE11 or they don’t. I’m not downloading a new browser just for this one website. Pay me and I might think about debugging what passes for software at Yahoo7. Now with inbox ads – that it. Yahoo and Yahoo7 should just close up shop now and stop pretending that they give damn.

    Sorry for the long message/rant but this is really starting to p*** me off and I needed to let off steam.

    Ben

    YAHOO

    PLEASE RID US OF THIS GARBAGE – WE DON’T NEED IT – BE SANE

    Paul

    Sadly, Yahoo does seem to have joined the ranks, and mentality, of the spamming community with its latest ads disguised as e-mails. I’m somewhat surprised that Yahoo attracts any sponsors because I feel sure the sponsors must realise that any clicks on those ads are likely to be purely accidental due to the way they are disguised. I must admit, the effect the ads have on me is to ensure I never do business with the spamming organisations as they are presenting themselves as rather ‘unprofessional’ in their tactics and I would rather do business with honourable companies whose ethics would deter them from resorting to a nuisance spamming style approach.

    Casey

    I just sent a scathing USPS letter to the CEO of J.C. Penney Corporation about the most recent “sponsored” email I received. I never did any search of that store, nor have I been in one since the late 1970’s. Rather, I did a Google and one particular store chain search on chairs. I told him these things, and his corp’s participation is an invasion of privacy and I wanted an explanation. As if I will get it from a corporation with a board that changes CEO’s more often than some people sweep their garages! These “sponsored” and undeletable emails is an outrage and ought to be illegal!

    Stef Dawson

    @Casey: Good luck with getting a reply! The fact the ad was related to a Google search might indicate you were targeted by an ad tracker, or that Yahoo use them to deliver “interest-based” adverts to your inbox, the same way Gmail does. See another of my posts for more on that.

    Although it’s a very manual slog, I’ve kind of got round that by opting out of interest-based ads. You can do it in your Google account (ironically, I had to Google for the link because it was well hidden in the Settings).

    While searching for opting out of interest-based ads, you can usually find a few organisations that run sites where you can turn off tracking of media servers, depending on your location. There’s an EU site, a US site and a Canadian site I know of – I usually just turn the lot off.

    The downside is that you have to do it on every computer and every browser you use regularly, and some companies just ignore your wishes anyway. Plus, every so often, ad servers change hands or use different addresses or you clear your cookies, so you have to go through the rigmarole again.

    But at the end of it, at least you’ll be served random ads. It’s still crap, but it doesn’t feel as invasive.

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