Yahoo! to recycle inactive email addresses

Yahoo! announced that on July 15, it will be "freeing up" inactive email addresses, making them available to claim by someone new. Any Yahoo! email address that has been inactive for 12 months will be deactivated on July 15th and will remain dormant for 30 days before becoming a new, claimable email address for someone else.

According to Wired magazine, during this time, Yahoo! promises to "send notification for these potentially recycled accounts to merchants, e-commerce sites, financial institutions, social networks, email providers and other online properties," so that we email marketers can clean up our list and remove these inactive contacts. Here's the important part: it's very likely email marketers will only be notified of the closed account by way of a bounce message, if/when we send to that email address.

What does this mean for you? It means that in order to clean these inactive and potentially recycled email addresses off your list, you'll have to send at least one email to them during the period of deactivation — July 15-August 15 — so that you can log any bounces during that period from Yahoo!.

Why is it important to clear these email addresses out? If the recycled email address goes to someone new and you don't find that out during this period where they'll be alerting senders, you're likely to leave that email address — and a new unsuspecting inbox owner — on your list. If they are surprised to receive email from you, they're likely to mark your message as spam (since they never signed up for it), and harm your sender reputation.

Yahoo! isn't the only email client that recycles old email addresses, so it's actually a great idea to keep your list clean across all domains. There are 2 main ways to maintain a clean list and be sure you don't end up with unsuspecting recycled email address owners on your email subscribers list:

  1. Send email at least once every 30 days. By sending email regularly, the emfluence Marketing Platform and, in fact, most email service providers, will log any hard bounces, like the ones Yahoo! will be sending regarding their deactivated inactive email addresses. In order to receive that message, you have to send something to that email address, so sending regularly ensures you'll capture any expiring email addresses.
  2. Conduct a re-permission campaign to any email address that has been dormant/inactive for 12 months or more. In Sara's blog post earlier this month, she outlines the 6 quick steps to performing a re-permission campaign. This is an email or a series of emails sent to any inactives on your list, inviting them to confirm their interest in subscribing to your emails. Those that click the link to confirm are considered reactivated. Those that still take no action (no proof that they opened/clicked) or those that unsubscribe are removed from your list. With email addresses that haven't logged into Yahoo! for 12 months being potentially recycled, you can ensure you don't keep 12-month inactives on your list across any domain, keeping your list clean and your volume (and volume fees!) down.

The good news is, if you send regularly, you're likely to clean out any of these addresses naturally. The challenge of that is that you'll likely see your bounce rates at Yahoo! go up between July 15 and August 15th. Be sure you check your domain-level reports on any messages sent during that window:

We'll be watching, too, to be sure that all of our senders' inbox placement (deliverability) stays strong. More good news from Yahoo!'s statement to Wired is that the vast majority of the Yahoo! IDs that are available for recycling actually don't have email addresses associated with them and so wouldn't have legacy email subscriptions to worry about.

We're here to help and to answer questions! Reach out to support at emfluence dot com or call your emfluence Account Representative if you need help: 877-81-EMAIL (877-813-6245)


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