Originally posted by Salsa Labs

by Brett Schenker, Senior Deliverability Manager, Salsa

This week Yahoo announced that they’ll be releasing user names that haven’t been accessed in over 12 months and making those names available for someone else to register. This isn’t a onetime thing, but a new policy going forward. And this policy begins July 15.

So, how are we making these Yahoo! IDs available? We’re freeing up IDs that have been inactive for at least 12 months, by resetting them and giving them a fresh start. In mid-July, anyone can have a shot at scoring the Yahoo! ID they want. In mid-August, users who staked a claim on certain IDs can come to Yahoo! to discover which one they got.

A similar policy begins June 17 for any with a btinternet.com or btopenworld.com address. This though requires individuals to log in every 150 days. In that case the accounts will be closed and begin bouncing, which impacts your deliverability.

To quote Joe Biden, “this is a big f&%$ing deal!”

For a while now, I’ve stressed to Salsa clients the need to remove inactive email addresses from your email list. I define inactive as someone who has not opened or clicked (it is possible to click without opening) an email in 6-9 months depending on your list size and other habits.

This new policy by Yahoo makes this a must for anyone who manages an email list. This is not a “it’d be nice if,” this is a “must do now”.

Why is this important?

Here’s the first scenario, I sign up for your email list with my yahoo address (which I personally use as my junk account address). I then don’t check that address, instead I let it fill up, never logging into the account. A year goes by, I haven’t logged in. A new person grabs my old email address. Now, email I signed up for will be going to them. You think they won’t mark it as spam?

The second scenario sees some of these addresses turned into Spam Traps, which also impact deliverability. Spam Traps are email addresses- either never used (pristine traps) or retired email addresses (recycled traps) that are used to catch spammers and those with poor emailing/list management habits.

The third scenario is the individual who has the retired account doesn’t realize it is in fact no longer theirs and keeps using it to sign up. This emphasizes the need for a double-opt in sign up method (preferred) or at least a welcome series of emails in which you make sure folks are able to unsubscribe.

What should I do?

Here’s the steps you should now take for all email addresses (not just Yahoo) on your list and signing up:

  1. All new addresses should be double opted-in or at least sent a welcome series/transactional email after they sign up or take action. These emails should make it clear how and where they signed up as well as an easy to click and clear link to unsubscribe.
  2. Email activity is the key metric now. All addresses that do not take action (open or click an email) after 6-9 months should be removed from your list. Well before this time period you should have been engaging them in an attempt to get them active. After six months of not opening, do you really think someone finally will?

There is no fighting it. This is a mandatory thing now that all email senders to abide by. Not doing so will get your email program quickly shut down, not by us, but by the email providers themselves. Want to learn more about how we can help you ensure your emails maximize their reach? Let us know.

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