The Yahoo Mail search bug: One year later

The Yahoo Mail search bug: One year later

Summary: A year ago today, I flagged a Yahoo Mail search bug. The bug apparently can't be fixed judging from my inbox of complaints from frustrated Yahoo users over the past year.


A year ago today, I flagged a search bug in Yahoo Mail that basically nukes efforts to find anything. Yahoo fixed my account after a few complaints and a blog post.

I later followed up to address all of those folks that were emailing me about the Yahoo Mail search bug.

Since then, I have received about five emails a week (with spikes in some periods) about the Yahoo Mail bug. I'll forward a few. Drop an email to see what the deal is. Apparently, Yahoo can't fix the bug.

It's a shame because some of these folks have had Yahoo Mail accounts forever and don't want to leave. They do because of shoddy service. We'll let one of our readers illustrate what happens. This history lesson landed in my inbox six days ago:


I just wrote you but figured I'd add this since I've gone back to verify how often I've contacted Yahoo with no assistance and no response. It's even worse than I remembered. These are MOST (not all) of my Live Chat tickets and Help Requests in the past month:

August 07, 2010 10:40 AM re: Yahoo! Customer Care (KMM169321962V2527L0KM)

August 07, 2010 11:07 AM Auto Confirmation - Your Yahoo! Mail support request was received (KMM169322821V4386L0KM)

August 09, 2010 3:55 AM Auto Confirmation - Your Yahoo! Mail support request was received (KMM169371998V51291L0KM)

August 09, 2010 12:41 PM Auto Confirmation - Your Yahoo! Mail support request was received (KMM169387900V82826L0KM)

Aug 11, 2010 aa;52:50 AM EST Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK42601616096X Support Case: 87324279, Mail

August 13, 2010 4:15 PM Re: Searching or Organizing Mail (KMM169406009V24568L0KM)

August 22, 2010 11:57:34 AM EST Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK42601638392X

August 23, 2010 3:24 PM Auto Confirmation - Your Yahoo! Mail support request was received (KMM169900650V2211L0KM)

August 24, 2010 1:22 PM Auto Confirmation - Your Yahoo! Mail support request was received (KMM169934026V81271L0KM)

The key is that I've been very patient, have not made threats or been demanding. I've been very courteous to every LIVE agent. And still I have no fix and, worse, NOTHING from engineering except their ridiculous auto responses that PROMISE a follow-up within 24 hours.

This guy has Yahoo Mail as a business account and is even pondering a lawsuit---he's a lawyer. Can't say I blame him. Then again he's probably better off just getting a new email account.

Our frustrated reader continues:

Sorry to take up more of your time, but I figured I'd let you know what's happening and why I feel this is not your normal complaining consumer making a mountain of a molehill.

There are a lot of mail search molehills out there that may add up to Yahoo defections.

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  • Set up an account on another provider and...

    Set your Yahoo account to auto-forward all mail to the new account. End of problem.
    • RE: The Yahoo Mail search bug: One year later

      i used to do that but somehow reading from the original email account is still more conformable
  • RE: The Yahoo Mail search bug: One year later

    Never had the problem with Yahoo Mail search. But, at least their inefficiency guarantees they can't spy on your every word like Google does. Yahoo is the lesser of the evils.
  • Search not the only bug

    Yahoo's spam filter is broken in so many ways, it's practically worthless.

    First, it decides something is spam when it isn't, and no matter how many times I correct it, nothing changes. Second, it does a pathetically poor job of filtering out spam, so much so that I suspect Yahoo! is in cahoots with the spammers themselves.
  • RE: The Yahoo Mail search bug: One year later

    Yahoo is simply an minor shadow of it's old self.. It's failing by the day to capture the imagination like all these new players on the web like FB, 4square, twitter and of course Google. Even Hotmail is doing a great job in it's new avatar..
    Rahul Mulchandani
  • RE: The Yahoo Mail search bug: One year later

    Hmm, I am wondering if it has anything to do with the "Plus" version of Yahoo Mail vs. the regular one, or the paid version.
  • RE: The Yahoo Mail search bug: One year later

    My Yahoo! mail search works fine. Of couse, I use the "classic" version, and not the new version, which I greatly dislike, even though I wanted to like it.

    That being said, Yahoo! pretty much defines Custome NO Service.
  • Selling Contact numbers

    I got new mobile number and registered in Yahoo! Messenger for offline/mobile chat.
    In the next two minutes I got ad - sms....I'm still wondering I haven't give my number to anyone else...!
  • RE: The Yahoo Mail search bug: One year later

    Seems I am only the latest Yahoo victim: My usually reliable Yahoo Classic email account search function stopped working a few days ago; it stopped pulling up items that it should have found. I then started testing with known search strings -- text copied/pasted directly from email subjects or bodies -- to no avail. The system was unable to find any of these known strings/items.

    Then something curious happened: The search function started working on a strictly limited basis -- only for items delivered within the last 24 hours or so (as of last night... I'll have to see if the search continues to work only for items from a certain date onward, or just for the last 24 hrs on any given day). This makes me think that something like the causes listed by Larry Dignan in his Aug 2010 blog are at fault:

    -My email is being housed on a new server, perhaps with old email on another one;
    -My inbox was rebuilt

    I have sent a comment message/request for help to Yahoo, but in the meantime -- as Larry suggests in his Aug 2010 blog post -- everyday users are up a creek without a paddle with Yahoo when we are hit by a technical failure like this. I'll give this a few more days, as Yahoo has worked very well for me for years. But am I definitely thinking of forwarding to gmail and starting over.
  • Still a problem in 2010: Solution use Zimbra Desktop!!

    I've spent the last 5 months wiating for Yahoo to fix my mailbox. I haven't been able to search for any messages before June 1 of 2010. They are there, but the Search Function Can't find them. They kept saying they were "escalating the issue to their engineering team" and "We are still working on resolving your issue. We intend to have it corrected as soon as possible." But nothing has changed.

    I finally figured out a solution for me. Download and use the Zimbra Desktop. It can connect to my plain/free Yahoo mailbox via imap. Then I was able to search my Yahoo messages within Zimbra.

    Moreover I was able to connect the Zimbra to my Gmail account. I created folders/tags in Gmail that corresponded to my Yahoo folders and moved all my Yahoo mail to Gmail. I'm officially done with Yahoo, Yahoo Search, and Yahoo Mail. Now I'm off to switch my home page from to igoogle. Bye bye and good riddance Yahoo.
  • RE: The Yahoo Mail search bug: One year later

    I chatted with Yahoo customer service ( The agent looked at my account, did something, and then told me to wait 24 hourse before logging on again. I did, and it worked! He said that if it happens again, I should chat with their customer support again.
  • RE: The Yahoo Mail search bug: One year later

    Somehow, I've been "untouched" by this particular problem for over ten years... ...until about ten days ago!

    For years, I was absolutely convinced that YahooMail was the very best app out there; I've been a paid Yahoo Plus subscriber for for much of those ten years...

    I have well over 37,000 saved and flagged emails in my inbox, not counting another several thousand in folders and sub-folders. I've used and depended on the search function on a daily basis. I've come to depend on it to compensate for my lethargy in moving things to their appropriate folders (which can be very time-consuming due to huge volume of mail that I receive (sometimes exceeding 150/day not counting spam and "junk" (I do actually delete nearly half of the useless garbage that shows up).

    "Suddenly", my search function completely stopped, with the exception of "fresh" items less than a few days old.

    At this point, I don't know if its comforting or frightening to learn that thousands of others are having this problem...

    I'll try a couple of the solutions posted in this thread; I appreciate the tips.

    I'm devastated!
  • Yahoo is circling the drain

    Last September (2010) was hit with the search bug. I cannot find anyting past 1 month old and have well over 16,000 Emails that I now can't search through. I've contacted "Customer Support" multiple times to no avail. Each time thay say they have notificed the "Engineers" but there is no way to track the progress on your "Trouble Number". The fact that this has been going on for others for more than a year indicates they are doing nothing. I wonder if Carol Bartz knows what a lousy company she is running? Probably not. She would probably think I'm either lying or just not appreciative of everything else Yahoo does. I will most likely have to abandon Yahoo in the next few months becaue of this. Too bad. I've been with them from the start. How long can a company last when they feel their most loyal customers are an irritant?