Yahoo forced to acknowledge Yahoo Mail problems in worst failure yet

Yahoo forced to acknowledge Yahoo Mail problems in worst failure yet

Summary: After a public UI and technical failure with its October redesign, Yahoo Mail miraculously gets worse as it goes. And then, Yahoo acknowledges delivery failures stretching back to November 25.

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Despite promising to restore Yahoo Mail service to its customers by 5pm EST, an unknown number of users are still unable to log in, and remain without email service.

An unknown number of users have been affected by Yahoo's as-yet-unnamed problem, spanning at least two and a half weeks - a problem that was not openly acknowledged by Yahoo until yesterday.

yahoo mail fail

Only today Yahoo Mail's head Jeff Bonforte finally addressed the massive outage that has kept Mail users from sending or receiving email since at least November 25, in a blog post on the Yahoo Mail Tumblr.

As of this writing, Bonforte - the man who told employees at a staff meeting last Friday that the only way Yahoo Mail customers would leave the service was if Yahoo kicked Mail users in the [testicles] - is on Twitter hurrying to politely placate Mail's outraged users.

No access since Monday; mail missing since November 25

Mr. Bonforte wrote on the Yahoo Mail Blog that the outage is related to a "hardware problem" at one of the company's mail data centers, and that users lost access around 10:30 p.m. PT Monday night.

Yahoo did not acknowledge the problem until Tuesday, doing so on Twitter.

Yahoo's Help page clarifies that an unknown number of users are missing and have been unable to send or receive mail since November 25.

This is only slightly better than the way Yahoo eventually responded to its users over the enormous public failure of its Mail redesign back in October (the second redesign within a year, Marissa Mayer's forced Gmail cloning experiment).

Silence the users

How did Yahoo fix the redesign problems for tens of thousands of users who submitted bugs and issues to the Tell us what you think about Yahoo Mail page?

Yahoo simply closed all the threads referred to in the press, and stamped "COMPLETED" on each one of them.

"Please bring back tabs" with 104,142 votes and 10,589 comments is one example of many.

yahoo mail completed

 

Further, Mail users emailed ZDNet reporting that when new threads about "COMPLETED" topics are opened, they either become marked as "COMPLETED" or disappear altogether.

Then right away, a new thread for that is opening anew, and then in a day or two, that one is in turn closed (they call it "Completed").

Meanwhile, this week's huge outage and its implications, as well as Yahoo Mail's Titanic of a redesign, were pondered on CNBC tonight - among fund managers on CNBC's "Closing The Bell".

System-wide failure: "COMPLETED"

Yahoo's blog acknowledges that users have been without email since Monday - but press outlets willing to look further should be reporting that Yahoo has acknowledged a serious Mail delivery failure since November 25.

At every instance, Yahoo is determined to describe the outage in minimizing terms, and appears intent to mark the issue as "COMPLETED" on its own blog post promising to restore mail service to its users - again, a promise in which it has not been successful in keeping.

As you may remember, a significant number of Mail users reported that they first began to lose the ability to send and receive Yahoo Mail upon completion of the redesign on October 8.

The "missing emails" support request beginning October 8 was marked as "COMPLETED".

It is one issue among a litany of serious problems users have been enduring since the redesign.

ZDNet has reached out to Yahoo for comment, and we remain hopeful that we will hear from Yahoo.

However, the last response we received from Yahoo regarding technical problems and user outrage was Yahoo sending us a link to its "help" page and copy/pasted text from its Uservoice page.

When Barron's asked Yahoo for comment about the outage and commentary on CNBC, it was sent a link to the Yahoo Tumblr, while All Things D was flat-out ignored.

yahoo missing email

 

Granted, the 100,000 votes on Yahoo's "COMPLETED" Uservoice thread pale in comparison to Google's 224,000+ signatures on a Change.org petition rejecting forced Google Plus integration on YouTube.

So we can be sure that Google has got to be relieved to see Yahoo eat so much crow, so publicly.

At least it distracts from making the downright disturbing connection between Google's Plus tracking and ad-cookie tracking, and the NSA's surveillance programs, reported late last night.

Of course, it doesn't really matter what Yahoo or Google think - as long as they don't seem to care what users think or experience, the only ones suffering by these companies' failed experiments are us, the users.

Topics: Data Centers, Tech Industry

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125 comments
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  • Thanks

    Thanks for reporting on this! Was trying to get more media coverage for it today, since it was being mostly ignored.

    I have two yahoo mail accounts, both couldn't access mail since Monday. One of them is now accessible again. The other is now. Mr. Bonforte just tweeted to me that "a couple of thousand users are still locked out" and that it's a "complex answer". Only a couple thousand? I guess I'm just lucky!

    https://twitter.com/bonforte/status/411008665777217536
    https://twitter.com/bonforte/status/411008731866877952
    JustJoshBlue
    • Why not check out Outlook.com?

      For anyone who wants to try a robust and reliable platform, check out http://outlook.com - you can even point your yahoo email address to your new outlook email.
      tanyalyerich
      • good idea

        That's exactly what I did. I mainly got sick of the ads, both mobile and desktop. I don't trust Yahoo, so I'm also changing my email address with each sender, which is a huge pain in the ass. But it'll be worth it to leave Yahoo behind.
        thobie01
      • I like Outlook.com

        Works great
        timventura
      • Setting it up with Outlook ...

        may not be a grand idea either. My ISP is AT&T who, a few years ago, made a deal with Yahoo to handle their email service. It is my opinion that, the only reason this looked attractive to Yahoo, is that it escaped their notice that many users use an email client rather than a browser to view emails and therefore, they dont see browser ads. Ever since it came to their attention, they have been trying everything they can to make using an email client (I only know about Outlook since that is all I use), a royal pain in the a55. They constantly reject valid login info, which triggers outlook to annoyingly display the login dialog. It had stopped for a little while but only to start again recently. Again, I am only assuming that this is being deliberately done and if it is, this should be illegal. Yahoo, NOTHING IS GOING TO GET ME TO READ YOUR ADS. ID RATHER GET A DIFFERENT ISP
        JonWayn
        • Yahoo failure

          Jon I wouldn't use Outlook if you stuck a gun in my back. More holes per sqaure centimetre than a swiss cheese. Not user freindly, deliberately designed to force users to use another yet Microsoft product. Regarding ADS just install Adblock, problem solved.
          bobmattfran
          • Outlook

            not Outlook.com, is what I use. I have never used Outlook.com and so I have no critique on it. I love Outlook better than any other email interface I have ever used. It comes down to a matter of perception. I dont force anybody else to like or use it
            JonWayn
        • Any email regardless of ISP

          As an early adopter of email and the internet, I soon realised that using an email address directly associated with an ISP was a bad idea and at that time, Hotmail (now Outlook) was the only webmail service I was aware of so I created a Hotmail account and have used it ever since as my main email account with no major problems. It's not perfect by any means but it has been reliable and I can access my email from anywhere on any device. You get used to its imperfections by the way.
          JohnOfStony
      • Outlook.com

        I have Outlook.com....and IT has no problem getting my Yahoo email.....daily since this shutdown started at Yahoo.com....and also by using my Windows Live Mail I receive all my
        emails from all my other different email accounts including Yahoo email.
        DagoBert98A1
  • Users will NOT return to yahoo!!!! EVER

    Well they said users won't leave unless kicked in the testicals? Yahoo you've achieved that and I've gone to iCloud. I lost access to my emails 3 days ago and now I can access a 'restored' version back to 29/11 so no emails since, all emails with the details of all my Christmas gifts bought online and delivery details gone, all my notes gone, all my stress at 200%! They have lost me for good and small businesses relying on their yahoo for orders and communication going broke with zero apology from yahoo zero efforts to fix and barely a word mentioned in the media. How had this been allowed to happen and people there in charge still have jobs??? How
    Over yahoo
    • Ever heard of LOCAL backups?

      Funny how you guys get so bent out of shape for something that could have been prevented. No email service, free or otherwise, can promise 100% stability/online time. Ever think about using mail forwarding to a secondary account? I have Outlook where I receive all "technical and other email" and gmail for personal email. I have all my emails forwarded from gmail to outlook as a backup. Any lists/notes that I need to keep? I call that using your hard drive, a memory stick and an email to mail it to yourself every once in a while. Everyone got lazy all of a sudden and want to criticize a service that is free to them. Good riddance to you. Leave and whine. But you may want to backup and have a backup plan. Stop whining and get smart!
      Charles_B
      • It's Not Whining, Charles_B!

        While local backup's a lovely idea for techies and highly adept users, the vast majority of Yahoo! users are not all that tech savvy. And sending email from one online account to another is not Local backup.

        Furthermore, it is not whining when a company that moved millions of people to the online email world, essentially making it a necessity rather than a nice-to-have, changes their UI, making it far more difficult for non-tech users, then cannot keep the new, kludged system from crashing. No sir, not whining. Valid complaint!

        As far as a "free" service, I pay for my Yahoo! account as do millions of others. And I am indeed complaining about poor service and a lack of concern for the user.

        Additionally the non-paying users are subject to having their emails "scanned" (much like GMail) so "appropriate" ads can be placed in them. Not with them, IN them. Often, these ads are inappropriate and at times downright offensive. This is just one of the reasons I pay to avoid ads and use Thunderbird as my email client.

        Unfortunately, that capability is beyond many who use Yahoo! as their only point of email contact.

        I suggest you, yourself get smart and think outside your narrow, techie world.
        sperry5322
        • Yes, it is whining

          You get what you pay for. I have had my own domain for close to three decades now and have always paid for it to be hosted. Either on my own gear or another with the features and SLA I need. But even if I could not do this myself, I could pay a consultant to set things up for me. If I need to install a ceiling fan, I can do the manual labor but I hire a licensed electrician to run the wiring. If I have a water leak, I can turn off the water but I hire a licensed plumber to fix it.

          Those are things "smart" people do. Not sit and whine that you don't like the way things are.
          His_Dudeness
          • Lots of Righteous Judgment and Condescension Here

            Those who call legitimate customer service complaints "whining" seem to suffer not only from self-righteousness, but also from the same arrogance that prompted Mr. Bonforte to insist that he could kick his customers in the testicles and they'd take it. A very large proportion of users are not technically knowledgeable... and they don't NEED to be to expect good customer service.

            They should not be required to set up a domain, pay a consultant to do it, (or install their own ceiling fans, for crying out loud). They should not shut up and be grateful for the "free" service. Yahoo is NOT free, I repeat... NOT FREE. Did you notice all those ADS on every page? Why do you suppose they want to have millions of people signed up for their email service? Because they're saintly and philanthropic? Hardly. They need those numbers of subscribers to justify prices for advertising. They need "click-throughs." They need loyal customers, who are likely more angry about the denials, covering up, outright lies than about a failure of technology. It's the failure to demonstrate humanity, humility, and to show you simply give a damn about people.
            revlauren
          • Wrong again.

            Customer service complaints are only valid if you had to give something in exchange for said service. Using Yahoo!'s free email service entitles you to exactly 0 complaints. Well, you can whine and complain all you want but they don't have to listen to you. If they want to screw it up, shut it down, lace it with ads to support it, that's their business. You have given absolutely nothing to use it so you are not entitled to a say in how or whether it works.

            And stop being naive, saying "It's the failure to demonstrate humanity, humility, and to show you simply give a damn about people." shows that you are nowhere near qualified to have an opinion about matters of business.
            His_Dudeness
          • What part of ......

            "I pay for my Yahoo".. did you not understand? Yahoo has paid options. Meaning, (GASP!) they aren't free! Imagine that shite!
            digital riverrat
          • Paid Yahoo mail (and add-supported YaHOO!GROUPS!)

            FYI: It's not just the "free" Yahoo! mail that's FUBAR. Some of us do pay for that service. Not only is our feedback marked "completed" for issues that are NOT resolved (but rather more broken than before they fixed it!) but the Yahoo! GROUPS are in even worse shape than their email!
            Decades of files, links, data tables, photos, archives, and features that had been fine-tuned, developed and individualized to each group's needs for more than a decade were virtually (no pun intended) wiped out overnight, with no prior warning. All feedback, complaints and requests by group owners and moderators to restore what has been destroyed are STILL being marked "completed" and closed.
            Many with huge memberships have already migrated to "other" services but others are simply left dead in the water.
            btw: Not all of the Yahoo! groups are created and existing for the "social" experience. Several are/were lifelines of support for veterans, disabled, health issues (human and *otherwise*) that provided emotional and educational services for hundreds of thousands of their members!
            BobbiMarie
          • Great points

            And the problems continue.......especially for the disabled. I'm a disabled veteran and all the "improvements" that NEO has brought has made monitoring my groups extremely difficult. And you're right..they tell you a problem has been fixed when it hasn't and their "fix" has created more problems. There's an old saying in the military that really does apply here...Don't piss on my head and tell me it's raining.
            COWPI
          • "Wrong again"

            "His_Dudeness"- Quite a bit of arrogance using that handle. Good for you if you can afford to own your own domains, but the vast majority of people can't. And just try closing your Yahoo email account- it's nearly impossible because that make it hard to do.
            Signed, Not "His_Dudeness" or anything else that smacks of such self-righteousness.
            xplorer1959
          • Reading Your Posts...

            ...brings an old saying to mind---"There's none so blind as those who will not see.'
            PreachJohn