Yahoo! Plans to Reuse Inactive Email Addresses


Just a quick update for the email marketing folks: Yahoo! is planning to release some email addresses that have been inactive for a year or more. Users will have until July 15th to log in if they want to keep their accounts. If you’ve logged in within the last year, there’s no need to do anything.

Some say that this raises security concerns, especially since users can sign up for a waiting list (also by July 15th) to claim one of these addresses. That means your ex girlfriend can try to get your old Yahoo! account, which was connected to your old Hotmail account, which was what you used for online banking… you get the idea. Yahoo! responded to these concerns with the statement below.


Our goal with reclaiming inactive Yahoo! IDs is to free-up desirable namespace for our users. We’re committed and confident in our ability to do this in a way that’s safe, secure and protects our users’ data. It’s important to note that the vast majority of these inactive Yahoo! IDs don’t have a mailbox associated with them. Any personal data and private content associated with these accounts will be deleted and will not be accessible to the new account holder.

To ensure that these accounts are recycled safely and securely, we’re doing several things. We will have a 30-day period between deactivation and before we recycle these IDs for new users. During this time, we’ll send bounce back emails alerting senders that the deactivated account no longer exists. We will also unsubscribe these accounts from commercial emails such as newsletters and email alerts, among others. Upon deactivation, we will send notification for these potentially recycled accounts to merchants, e-commerce sites, financial institutions, social networks, email providers and other online properties.


So what does this mean for deliverability?

Smiley faces on bouncy balls

Yahoo! Is About to Get Bouncy!

You may want to segment your subscriber list and pay close attention to the bounce rates for Yahoo! users over the next month as Yahoo! begins bouncing emails. A “bounced” email is one that was refused, for one reason or another, by the recieving domain. Bounced emails make your ESP look bad and imply that your list is not healthy. Because spammers often get their lists through disreputable sources, their lists are typically old and riddled with inactive addresses that cause bounces.

When emails bounce, ISP’s begin to think that you’re a spammer, or at least that you’re not using good opt-in and list cleansing practices. You should probably remove bounced Yahoo! email addresses from your list, as they will soon be totally inactive, be given to a new user (who didn’t sign up for your service), or worse, become a spam trap.

Do you have security concerns about Yahoo!’s plan? Let us know in the comments below.

Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

12 thoughts on “Yahoo! Plans to Reuse Inactive Email Addresses”

  1. Hello!

    Do you have any suggestions on how we can prepare for the tidal wave of bounces from Yahoo! pre 7/15/13?

    Or, would it be a good idea to create a Yahoo! based reengagement campaign post 7/15/13?

    I want to make sure that my deliverability and reputation don’t change because of this.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Veronica,
    I think a Yahoo based reengagement campaign is a good idea, but you should probably do it pre-7/15/13 to avoid the bounces that will come after. You might have to say goodbye to a decent chunk of your Yahoo! users, though, if you only keep users who actively reengage on your list.

    You could also monitor your next (post 7/15/13) send carefully and remove all bounces from Yahoo! from your list before sending again. Your reputation might be affected by this, but hopefully it wouldn’t have too much impact. Hard to say at this point.

    Good luck!

  3. This is not a good news. Our list consists 70% of Yahoo accounts and they have been there for at least 5 years. Although open rate is average but bounce rate was always low.

    We have not sent any campaign post 7/15 but this could be a potential issue. Hope ESPs not automatically blocked the account if the bounce is suddenly get high in our next campaign.

    However, the positive of this is that it will help cleans the list.


  4. Your Yahoo! account has been inactive for an extended period of time and is being recycled.(and i dont know what i do ineed open my yahoo plzz help me if u can i had 7 day cannot open and i have some work in this yahoo eamil

  5. What in the world are you doing. I don’t have any of my contacts listed and no e-mail without any warning. Is this possible, not even a notice or what to do. How can I get my e-mail back? and my contacts?

  6. I need to get my yahoo email, which is so old that I have it still under How do I get the inactive removed?I’m sure I used my account in the past month or so.

  7. how can I retrieve my old email account in yahoo? but I forgot my email address, is there’s a method or process to retrieve my old email account? pls. help me…
    thank you!!!!!!!!!

  8. I have a big problem I seriously need account was inactive for an extended period due being in a coma in the hospital.I then later regained my health.I need to recover my account my daughter needs me please we lost contact please.I no longer remember the password but mayb the secret qtion.d alternative address was asanda@platinumplanet but nolonger work there due to my recent health issues.that address was

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