I have used Yahoo for almost a decade. It wasn’t long ago that I pointed to Yahoo and Google as great successes – sites based on the idea that a simple, functional interface is what users want rather than some fancy Flash application or graphics-heavy site.
But as of today I will avoid yahoo.com like the plague.
Late yesterday I logged into Yahoo Mail and almost dropped to the floor in shock. Instead of seeing my email, a message stared back at me stating that I had not logged in for at least 4 months. My account was disabled and all my mail was deleted! Unbelievable. I regularly log into other sections of Yahoo (the calendar, for example), and it never occurred to me that they would pull something like this on their customers.
Reading over the Terms of Service, all I could find was a vague statement that Yahoo “reserves the right to log off accounts that are inactive for an extended period of time.” First of all, my account was not inactive, since I regularly log in with my Yahoo ID and do other non-email things, and secondly, I hardly consider 4 months an “extended” period of time. I usually use Yahoo Mail when out of town, so it might be months between trips without my PowerBook.
So why do I care? While traveling in Europe a few years ago, I used Yahoo Mail frequently, at Internet cafes, hotels, and hostels. Much of my communication with people back home went through Yahoo’s servers. It’s all gone now.
(Yes, I should have gotten the important stuff off of Yahoo Mail before now, but they don’t make that easy.)
In the unlikely event that someone working at Yahoo is reading this, hook me up with someone in the data center that can pull backups for me. I need that email back!