Yahoo is in the news once again (is that a good thing or a bad thing) thanks to a mouthy mandate for all Yahoo Mail users: upgrade to the new version with personalized advertising or get out.
To be fair, everything Yahoo posts sounds more urgent and stringent because of all those exclamation points, but it’s hard to misinterpret this paragraph:
If you don’t want to use the new Yahoo! Mail, you may consider these other options:
Download your Yahoo! Mail using IMAP: (instructions omitted)
Close your account: Learn how to close your account.
What? No “we’re sorry to see you go” or plea to give them another chance? Maybe they’re just not all that worried because of this:
You cannot just delete a single Yahoo! product. You will lose access, data, and settings for all Yahoo! ID associated with the closed account – This includes all messages in Yahoo! Mail and any personalization made in Yahoo! Mobile, and any other area of Yahoo! which can only be accessed with your Yahoo! ID and password.
As you can see from the image on this post, I don’t use my Yahoo! Mail account so it’s filled with spam posts. I do use my Yahoo login for other sites. Originally it was for Yahoo Groups which, sadly, have fallen to the wayside. I also use it to log in to some other system I use regularly but I can’t remember what. I’m sure if I delete my account, the answer to that question will become clear and I’ll be out of luck.
Better to just do as I’m told:
Beginning the week of June 3, 2013, older versions of Yahoo! Mail (including Yahoo! Mail Classic) will no longer be available. After that, you can access your Yahoo! Mail only if you upgrade to the new version. You should have received an email from Yahoo! letting you know that your account required an upgrade.
Actually, I didn’t see an email, so maybe I’m already upgraded. It’s hard to tell. So what happens next?
If you prefer to opt out of interest-based and contextual-based advertising resulting from your scanned and analyzed communications content, you can change your settings at any time using our Ad Interest Manager.
This is what Gmail does, right? It scans my messages to find keywords then serves up relevant ads. I’m okay with that but I can see where others wouldn’t be. These kinds of systems are often misunderstood. My feeling is, if I have to see ads, I’d rather see ones that I’m interested in. And sometimes the choices are really amusing.
If you go through with the upgrade, you can still opt out or change your preferences. Here’s what that looks like:
In order to opt-out, you have to have cookies enabled. Does that mean, if I do one of those clean computer sweeps where I clear cookies, it switches back? I wonder how many people do that without realizing it?
In the big picture, this Yahoo! Mail shift is nothing major. It’s simply bringing the product in line with Gmail. Actually, Yahoo! Mail looks nicer and handles better than Gmail and yet I find myself reluctant to switch. I guess that’s a subject for my next therapy session.
How about you? Are you still using Yahoo! Mail for anything but as a junk mail collection point? And are you prepared to upgrade without a fight?