||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (December 2012)|
A screenshot of a Yahoo! Mail inbox
|Type of site||Webmail|
|Available language(s)||Multilingual (27)|
|Users||281 million (December 2012)|
|Launched||October 8, 1997|
Yahoo! Mail is a free email service offered by the American search engine company Yahoo! It was launched in 1997, and, according to comScore, Yahoo! Mail is the third-largest web-based email service with 281 million users as of December 2012.
Currently, Yahoo! offers three versions of Yahoo! Mail. The traditional "Yahoo! Mail Classic" continues the availability of the original interface introduced in 1997. A version introduced in 2005 included a new Ajax interface, drag-and-drop features, improved search functionality, keyboard shortcuts, address auto-complete, tabs, and other updated features. In October 2010, Yahoo! released a beta version of Yahoo! Mail, which included improvements to the design, performance, search functionality, and Facebook integration. In May 2011, beta testing for the new version stopped, and it became the default interface for Yahoo! Mail.
In early 2008, Yahoo! began offering unlimited mail storage to its users in response to heated competition in the free web-mail market segment.
The growth in the number of Internet users eventually boosted the email technology, but also created a very competitive environment where the winner was the first company to launch a successful email service and attract potential users. Email became one of the most important features of a Web company as it would mean regular visits from email users to the website.
When Hotmail and Mirabilis (the creator of the instant messenger ICQ) were looking to be bought, Yahoo! was the first company to which both made offers. Yahoo!, however, passed on both companies as they were too expensive for Yahoo! at that time. In the end, Microsoft ended up buying Hotmail for US$400 million and AOL bought Mirabilis for $288 million.
Yahoo! made a deal with the online communications company Four11 for co-branded white pages. Marvin Gavin, who worked at Four11 as director of international business development said, "We always had a bias about being acquired by Yahoo! They were more entrepreneurial than Microsoft. We had a great cultural fit – it made a lot of sense." The real point in acquiring Four11 was that in March 1997, the company had launched Rocketmail, a webmail system that could be offered to users. In the end, Yahoo! concluded a deal with Four11 for $96 million. Yahoo! announced the acquisition on October 8, 1997, very close to the time that Yahoo! Mail was launched. Yahoo! Mail resulted from an acquisition rather than internal platform development because, as Healy said, "Hotmail was growing at thousands and thousands users per week. We did an analysis. For us to build, it would have taken four to six months, and by then, so many users would have taken an email account. The speed of the market was critical."
The transition to Yahoo! Mail was not easy for many Rocketmail users at first. Yahoo! released various help pages to try to help these users. Soon after, on March 21, 2002, Yahoo! cut free software client access and introduced the $29.99 per year Mail Forwarding Service. Mary Osako, a Yahoo! Spokeswoman, told CNET, "For-pay services on Yahoo!, originally launched in February 1999, have experienced great acceptance from our base of active registered users, and we expect this adoption to continue to grow."
During the summer of 2002, the Yahoo! network was gradually redesigned. On July 2, Yahoo.com was redesigned and it was announced that other services like Yahoo! Mail would enter the same process. Along with this new design, new features were to be implemented, including new navigation tools, such as drop-down menus in DHTML and different category tabs, and a new user-customizable color scheme.
In November of the same year, Yahoo! launched another paid service: Yahoo! Mail Plus. Yahoo! Mail Plus offered a number of new features, including:
- 25 megabytes of email storage
- 10 megabyte message size limit
- Ability to send up to 10 attachments per email
- POP Access and Forwarding
- Archiving of email messages to a hard drive for offline access
- Ability to send messages from Yahoo! Mail using other email domains
- 200 blocked addresses and 50 filters to help screen unsolicited emails
- No promotional taglines in messages
- No account expiration.
The launch of Yahoo! Mail Plus is part of Yahoo!'s strategic initiative to offer premium services that deliver innovative, reliable and relevant services to consumers", said Geoff Ralston, senior vice president, Yahoo! Network Services, and creator of the original Yahoo! Mail technology in 1997. "In just five years, Yahoo! Mail has grown from one million to tens of millions of users, illustrating how consumers have made e-mail an essential part of their daily lives. Through Yahoo! Mail Plus, Yahoo! continues to demonstrate leadership and innovation by offering consumers the industry's most complete and powerful e-mail solution.—
On April 1, 2004, Google announced a free webmail with 1 gigabyte of storage. Though Gmail, Google's email service, offered a large amount of storage, its invitation-only accounts kept the other webmail services at the forefront. Most of the major webmail providers like Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and AOL followed Google's lead and increased their mailbox storage considerably. Yahoo! was the first provider to announce 100 MB of storage for basic accounts and 2 GB of storage for premium users. Determined not to lose customers, Yahoo! Mail then countered Hotmail and Google by increasing the storage quota of its free email accounts to 1 GB, and eventually removing a storage limit altogether and allowing unlimited storage.
On July 9, 2004, Yahoo! acquired Oddpost, a webmail service that simulated a desktop email client like Microsoft Outlook. Oddpost had new features such as drag-and-drop support, right-click menus, RSS feeds, a preview pane, and increased speed, using email caching to shorten response time, and many of these features were incorporated into an updated Yahoo! Mail service.
On August 30, 2007, Walter Mossberg wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Yahoo! would be releasing the new version over the next few weeks. On September 17, 2010 Yahoo showed off the new Mail program to reporters.
Yahoo! Mail Classic
Yahoo! Mail Classic was the original interface for Yahoo! Mail, and was discontinued in June 2013. In March 2009, Yahoo! Mail Classic integrated Yahoo! Messenger into its interface so people can chat and email at the same time. Yahoo! Messenger was removed from Yahoo! Mail Classic on 21 March 2013. In mid-2011, Yahoo began a new initiative to implement an unsolicited redirect of Classic Mail users to the new Yahoo! Mail. However, users could still revert to Classic Mail by explicitly launching Classic Mail at the following URL: http://us.mc1252.mail.yahoo.com/mc/welcome
On April 19, 2013, Yahoo! made a notice that starting in June, Mail Classic and other old versions of Yahoo! Mail will be shut down. All users of Mail Classic are expected to switch to the new Yahoo! Mail, use IMAP, or switch to another email service.
On June 3, 2013 Yahoo discontinued its version of Yahoo Mail Classic, requiring all users to upgrade to the latest version of Yahoo Mail. Upgrading will also require users to accept its new terms allowing them to scan emails and serve relevant advertising based on the content.
Yahoo! Mail (2007 release)
In September 2005, Yahoo! began beta testing a significantly enhanced version of their email service which was designed to mimic a heavy mail client like Outlook. It featured drag-and-drop capabilities, advanced search, advanced keyboard shortcuts, address auto-complete, tabbed emails, and more. The new Yahoo! Mail also came with an integrated version of Yahoo! Messenger; as a result, users were able to chat with Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger contacts while reading their email. On August 26, 2007, the new Yahoo! Mail came out of beta period, and became the default interface.
The public beta of the new Yahoo! Mail began in late 2006. In November 2006, Yahoo! announced plans for integrating Yahoo! Messenger functionality with the New Yahoo! Mail interface. This service was deployed in March, 2007. Public and critical reaction to the new product was positive, although a number of users encountered speed issues. Each update to the new Yahoo! Mail included significant speed improvements, and the new Yahoo! Mail team was still focused on improving speed issues. For example, earlier versions featured a loading screen every time you accessed mail. However, with various updates the new Yahoo! Mail appeared immediately, without any loading screen. On August 26, 2007, the new Yahoo! Mail left beta. The announcement was made on the Yahoo! Mail blog by John Kremer, Vice President, Yahoo! Mail and the major improvements related to intelligent shortcuts, SMS Messaging, and improved search. The final version was released on October 9, 2007.
Some of the new or improved features included in the new Yahoo! Mail were:
- Yahoo! Calendar integration
- Yahoo! Messenger integration
- Windows Live Messenger integration
- SMS Messaging in certain countries
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Unlimited storage
- Improved search facilities
- Applications (Piknic, Flickr, Wordpress and more)
In addition, an Easter egg was added called a Subject-O-Matique. This hidden feature displays a random message in the subject line when the subject button is clicked. The messages range from cultural references ("I AM the walrus") to sarcastic ("If you don't tell lies, at least you don't have to remember what you have said.") to unusual and outlandish ("the art of driving a giant, nuclear powered duck"). On December 15, 2008, Yahoo! Mail introduced features to make it more social.
Yahoo! Mail (2011 release)
The new version of Yahoo! Mail, codenamed "Minty", was first announced on September 16, 2010 on the Yahoo! Mail Blog. It included a new interface, enhanced performance, improved Facebook and Twitter integration, the ability to watch YouTube videos straight from your email, improved search, and more.
As the new Yahoo! Mail became mandatory for users, a number of previously satisfied users of Yahoo! Mail started to report slow typing speeds with the new Yahoo! Mail, running contradictory to Yahoo!'s claims that the new Yahoo! Mail would perform "2x" faster. Yahoo! offered no resolution to the problem as of September 12, 2011, and continued to advertise that Yahoo! Mail "provides performance that is 2x faster than the previous versions of Yahoo! Mail" and runs at "lightning speed." Further slowing down user productivity, users cannot copy and paste email addresses from the sender box but must navigate to the Contacts tab and search for a contact to be able to copy and paste an email address. This is because now recipient email addresses convert to the name of the recipient highlighted inside a box, without an immediate option for accessing the email address to copy and paste like in traditional email clients. Although it is not mentioned, upgrading to the new version disables the use of the secondary addresses provided in the previous version. Thus users will not receive emails sent to a secondary address any more. The new interface overrides the browser's right mouse button (e.g., making functions such as opening mails in new tab windows unavailable).
Yahoo! Mail (2012 release)
A redesigned interface, complete with new versions for Windows 8, Android and iPhone clients, was introduced in December 2012. Yahoo! announced that the update would make it faster and easier to navigate the service for users, and would create one style for all devices. According to a CNN  report Yahoo users need to switch to a new upgraded email service  that will be compatible with platforms like Android, iPhone/iPod touch, Windows 8.
Yahoo! Mail has the following features:
- Email storage capacity: unlimited
- Email attachment limit: 25 MB (up to 100 MB via the built-in 'Attach Large Files' app)
- Account expiry on inactivity: 6 months plus 2 months for each year the account held active.
- Supported protocols: POP3 in Asia or via YPOPs!, IMAP via IMAP proxy or via Zimbra, SMTP, Mail Forwarding in some countries (but not in the US). Current and new accounts can not order the free POP3 / forwarding service – attempts give a currently not for sale error.
- Ads: yes
- 100 filters to automatically sort incoming messages (200 filters for the Plus version)
- Protection against spam and viruses. (See: DomainKeys)
- Advertising is displayed on the screen while working with the email account. Text ads are not within the emails themselves, and they are now added to the footer of outgoing messages, as of February 2011.
- Accounts not logged into for four months get deactivated (the account can be retrieved but all stored data, such as emails, are lost).
- Early in 2006, Yahoo! Mail introduced aliases to its repertoire of features, allowing users to add a (single) alias username containing a dot character for a pre-existing account. The feature now appears to have been withdrawn, although aliases with dots created earlier still seem to be working.
- The Chinese version of Yahoo! Mail offers 3.5 GB quota and 20 MB attachments.
- Some users get features added if they are long time users.
- Latest beta of Yahoo! Zimbra desktop allows for all Yahoo! users to use the software
Users from countries where there is a web browser access restriction can get around it by using software that simulates a POP3 server to which the email application connects. YPOPs! and FreePOPs are examples of free software applications that allow email clients access to webmail (including Yahoo! Mail) services through POP3.
Another way of getting POP3 access without signing up for the paid mail plans is signing up for Yahoo! Delivers, a service which sends the user promotional email messages. According to the Yahoo! Mail help pages, "Yahoo! offers POP access to Yahoo! Mail as a free feature exclusively for Yahoo! Delivers members". However, this applies only to users of Canadian Yahoo Mail with "@yahoo.ca" extension of their mail.
Free IMAP and SMTPs access
It is possible to get direct IMAP access. Yahoo! operates IMAP and secure IMAP servers (imap.mail.yahoo.com in particular), which are globally accessible. According to the Yahoo! company, IMAP access is only allowed for smartphones on mobile networks, not desktop computers.
For regular internet users, an IMAP proxy like Yahoo IMAP Connector may be needed to connect to the Yahoo! IMAP servers. Alternatively, modifications are available for some email clients, such as Mozilla Thunderbird and Mutt. The proxy method is required to access Yahoo email through proprietary email clients like Microsoft Outlook.
It is also possible to send mail through mail clients as Yahoo! also operates an SMTP server (smtp.mail.yahoo.com). It is necessary to enable SSL through port 465. For IMAP and SMTPS access, the username is the user's Yahoo! Mail address, and the password is the same as for webmail access.
Mac OS X users can directly set up an IMAP account in Apple Mail 4.4. After entering a full name, email address, and password, hold down the Option key. The Create button will change to Continue, allowing one to manually configure the account settings.
Apple Mail 5.0 included with Mac OS X Lion supports easy and direct IMAP account setup.
Yahoo! Business Email is a combination of all of their email services with 10 distinct accounts each with the same features of the plus version and personalized domain name and email address. The cover page is tailor-made and changing from time to time, for example: "There's a new master of the digital universe. YOU". Accounts can be managed by an administrator. There is $25 set-up fee and $9.99 monthly fee to use this service. Yahoo! is still working out how to allow their business mail clients to access their email accounts from certain mobile smartphones and PDAs. According to Yahoo!'s website, customers can currently access business email only via BlackBerry. Yahoo! says it plans to make its service compatible with more devices in the future. Yahoo!'s Business mail is also not compatible with the latest releases of Leopard/Safari. It is compatible with the latest releases of Safari – but only when running on OS X Tiger.
- Unlimited mail storage
- 10 email quota.
- Additionally, a user can pay $35 per year to have up to five custom email addresses and a domain name.
- Classic Yahoo! Mail underlines addresses and phone numbers in emails and allows the user to add them to the address book.
Ymail and Rocketmail
Yahoo! Mail Vice President John Kremer on June 19, 2008 announced the tripling of the size of its free online email service with the launching of 2 domains as options for its 266 million users of "@yahoo.com" addresses: the new, simpler email addresses ending in ymail.com and rocketmail.com. Rocketmail has a "hip retro feel" since it is a resurrected email address of a 1997 Yahoo service. Email under the ymail and rocketmail domains will offer all the same features as the Yahoo domain, with an unlimited amount of storage capacity, with ability to instant message from within their email inbox and spam and virus protection.
Like most free Webmail providers, Yahoo! Mail is often used by spammers to provide a "remove me" email address. More often than not, these addresses are used for the express purpose of verifying the recipient's address—thus opening the door for more spam. However, Yahoo! does not tolerate this practice. It terminates accounts connected with spam-related activities without warning, and spammers lose access to any other Yahoo! services connected with their ID under the Terms of Service.
In February 2006, Yahoo! also announced its decision (along with AOL) to give some organizations the option to "certify" mail, by paying up to one cent for each outgoing message, allowing the mail in question to bypass Yahoo!'s and AOL's inbound spam filters.
In April 2011, Yahoo! Mail began rejecting spam reports that involve sending a copy of the spam with full headers to Yahoo!'s abuse department via the email address abuse (at) yahoo.com, and the response email for those that did was to use a form instead. However, the requirement to use a form is prohibited by several Internet RFCs, and the availability of abuse (at) example.com (in this case abuse (at) yahoo.com) is required by the Invariants clause of RFC 2142 because the domain has a mail server and MX record. Yahoo!'s claim was that its "standard" was "better" than the Internet standards referred to.
When asked about these changes, Yahoo! explained that the changed words were common terms used in Web scripting, and were blacklisted to prevent hackers from sending damaging commands via the program's HTML function.
Starting before February 7, 2006, the Yahoo! Mail filters no longer substitute certain words for others. Although the change may have occurred prior to this date, Yahoo! Mail now prefixes an "_" (underscore) to certain suspicious words and word fragments.
There is also offered a spam filter called SpamGuard and an ability to set up custom filters. One problem that can be encountered is that the spam filter is applied before any custom filters the user creates. This results in some emails that should have been directed to the Inbox or some other folder to be sent to the Bulk folder instead.
Incoming mail to Yahoo! addresses can be subjected to deferred delivery as part of Yahoo!'s incoming spam controls. This can delay delivery of mail sent to Yahoo! addresses without the sender or recipients being aware of it. The deferral is typically of short duration, but may extend to several hours. Yahoo! does not specifically document this policy in detail, although some information is available.
Shi Tao arrest
In 2004, Yahoo!'s Hong Kong office provided technical information to the Chinese authorities about the account of journalist Shi Tao. Shi Tao was subsequently sentenced to ten years' imprisonment for "leaking state secrets". Yahoo! was criticized by Reporters Without Borders for acting as a "police informant" to increase its profits. In August 2007, the United States Congress began an investigation into Yahoo!'s handling of the case, with Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang testifying in a hearing before Congress. On November 6, 2007, the congressional panel criticized Yahoo! for not giving full details to the House Foreign Affairs Committee the previous year, stating it had been "at best inexcusably negligent" and at worst "deceptive"; Representative Tom Lantos described its executives as moral "pygmies". Yang responded that Yahoo! no longer controlled its Chinese operations and was collaborating with human rights groups to formulate ethical code for technology companies.
In a February 2006 hearing, Yahoo! executives swore that they had no information about the nature of the investigation. Some months later, it was discovered that the document provided to Yahoo! China on April 22, 2004 by the Beijing State Security Bureau stated, "Your office is in possession of the following items relating to a case of suspected illegal provision of state secrets to foreign entities."
On February 20, 2006, it was revealed that Yahoo! Mail was banning the word "Allah" in email usernames, both separate and as part of a user name such as linda.callahan. Shortly after the news of the "Allah" ban became widespread in media, it was lifted on February 23, 2006. Along with this action, Yahoo! also made the following statement:
We continuously evaluate abuse patterns in registration usernames to help prevent spam, fraud and other inappropriate behavior. A small number of people registered for IDs using specific terms with the sole purpose of promoting hate, and then used those IDs to post content that was harmful or threatening to others, thus violating Yahoo!'s Terms of Service. 'Allah' was one word being used for these purposes, with instances tied to defamatory language. We took steps to help protect our users by prohibiting use of the term in Yahoo! usernames. We recently re-evaluated the term 'Allah' and users can now register for IDs with this word because it is no longer a significant target for abuse. We regularly evaluate this type of activity and will continue to make adjustments to our registration process to help foster a positive customer experience.
Search function failure
Since the beginning of 2008, many users have experienced a failure of the search function whereby it either fails to retrieve any messages, or (occasionally) just a small subset. In most cases, it is due to a corrupt index associated with the specific account. A request to the Yahoo! Mail support team asking for a "rebuilt index" usually suffices to fix that error.
In some cases, it appears that the search function will stop indexing new emails. Old emails can be searched, but any new ones added to the inbox will not be added to the search index.
Yahoo! support said that more than 2,000 messages can create a problem. Users who retain the old mail format can still have access to the full mail search function.
Failure to control spam
As of 2011, Yahoo! Mail has failed to provide a platform through which people can complain about spam received from rogue users of the free email service. Emails to the abuse reporting email address are rejected and Yahoo! fails to maintain any web form or ticket tracking system in which complaints about illegal activity by users can be lodged.
During November 2012 an exploit of Yahoo! Mail was sold at $700 by an Egyptian hacker which allows hijackers to hack Yahoo! Mail user accounts and redirects the users to a malicious website. This devastation mainly focused on cross-site scripting that lets hackers steal cookies. Later Yahoo! deployed a team to investigate about the vulnerability and officially announced that the loopholes has been fixed. Later on January 2013, Shahin Ramezany a hacker and security researcher pointed out another DOM-based XSS loophole in Yahoo! Mail which dropped 400 million of its users under risk.
From 2007, Yahoo! provided major New Zealand telecommunications provider Telecom's email service, which came under heavy criticism in early 2013 following a spam and phishing attack described as the biggest to have ever hit the country. Telecom and Yahoo! automatically reset "about 60,000" users' passwords. In April, Telecom announced that despite the issue, it would keep Yahoo! on as an email provider.
China Yahoo! Mail closedown
On 18 April 2013, It is officially announced that China Yahoo! Mail will be shut down on Aug 19, 2013 at 23:59 China Standard Time, after that, all mails, contacts and account settings will be deleted and unavailable unless one of the migration options is taken.
Users have the option of migrating to Yahoo! Mail offered by Yahoo! Inc. in the United States. However, customers whose account was originally registered in Yahoo! Mail but migrated to China Yahoo! Mail after the China Yahoo! takeover by Alibaba will not be able to register Yahoo! Mail account with the same username, since those original IDs are still possessed by them, bundled with the closing China Yahoo! Mail accounts, and as long as migration back to Yahoo! Mail is unavailable, those users will have to register a different Yahoo! Mail account or sign up for a new Alibaba E-Mail account, agreeing to the Alibaba E-Mail terms of service, leading to security and privacy concerns.
NNFMP is an internal protocol not recognized by IANA or the RFCs. Yahoo uses this protocol to internally route email traffic across their network. The initialism stands for "Newman No-Frills Mail Protocol". It is a simple, high-performance protocol comparable to QMTP. However, Yahoo will not officially recognize its use.
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