Yahoo forced to acknowledge Yahoo Mail problems in worst failure yet

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.
Written by Violet Blue, Contributor

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.

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