Yahoo! Mail Fail: Redesign and Outages Have Consumers Running in Droves

Yahoo MailWhen I logged-in to Yahoo Mail one morning in October and realized that everything had changed, I told myself that there had to be a good reason, though I couldn’t think of one.

I’d been a Yahoo customer for longer than I care to admit and found the email service easy to use and reliable. I reminded myself of the tendency people have to resist change and went about my business, expecting the product updates to make the mail experience even better.

I was wrong.

The bundled-mail system (grouped by conversation) and scrolling interface are difficult to understand and navigate. I can no longer open several tabs at once, the font and format bar is a disaster, I had problems with error messages, trying to move mail into folders, attaching documents. And when I realized I was missing email and could no longer save a draft, I blurted out, “I’m switching to Gmail!”

I took my complaints to the web and found myself in good company. The web is flooded by protests from disgruntled Yahoo Mail users. More than 40,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org to bring back the old Yahoo Mail, which used to be the most popular e-mail service in the United States.

This week, the Yahoo Mail forum is flooded with complaints of various outages across the network wreaking havoc on individuals and small businesses. Yesterday was not just-a-little-bit harder for me because of the inability to access and write mail from Yahoo.

yahoo mail

This morning, All Things D reports of a public relations debacle involving Jeff Bonforte, who was put in charge of Yahoo Mail after Yahoo bought his startup, Xobni. In a weekly FYI employee meeting at the company, Bonforte apparently made light of the issue, saying that Yahoo would need to “kick the users hard” in a certain body part to get them to leave Yahoo Mail.

Indeed, lots of users are citing lack of customer support as what’s pushed them over the edge.

Yahoo mailTo be fair, product support has responded to at least some of the forum complaints. From an update today, “Most affected users should now be able to access their Yahoo Mail accounts on the web and our apps… We’re continuing to restore access for all affected users.”

They also acknowledge that recent messages may not be appearing in users’ inboxes and say they have started delivering emails that were sent during the outage. Access to Yahoo through non-Yahoo apps such as Outlook are also being restored. “Again, we are sorry for the inconvenience this is causing.”

The Twitter hashtag #yahoomailfail reveals a snapshot of user sentiment across the board:

yahoo mailfail

yahoo mail

Yahoo certainly has “kick(ed) users hard.” Fortunately for us, the body part we need to get the hell out of Dodge is still in tact. Yahoo that!

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