Not Even Yahoo Employees Want To Use Yahoo Mail

    November 30, 2013
    Chris Crum

You know how everybody has been complaining about Yahoo Mail since they redesigned it (and then complaining more since they redesigned it again)? It would seem that it’s not just Yahoo Mail users that aren’t big on the product. Even Yahoo employees have been refusing to use it.

Are you a Yahoo Mail user? Have you taken issue with recent changes? Do you think the whole thing has been blown out of proportion? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Anytime a widely used product gets a redesign there are going to be some people complaining, but in the case of Yahoo Mail, it has been relentless. People have been slamming it all year with no real signs of letting up.

If the backlash has been this big from users in general, what does resistance to the product from Yahoo’s own employees say about Yahoo Mail as a business tool?

Kara Swisher at All Things D, who frequently obtains leaked internal memos from Yahoo, shares one in which the company is urging employes to switch to Yahoo Mail from Microsoft Outlook, after only a quarter of them made the switch since being asked to do so before.

Here are a couple excerpts from the memo from SVP Communications Products Jeff Bonforte and CIO Randy Roumillat:

Earlier this year we asked you to move to Yahoo Mail for your corporate email account. 25% of you made the switch (thank you). But even if we used the most generous of grading curves (say, the one from organic chemistry), we have clearly failed in our goal to move our co-workers to Yahoo Mail.

It’s time for the remaining 75% to make the switch. Beyond the practical benefits of giving feedback to your colleagues on the Mail team, as a company it’s a matter of principle to use the products we make. (BTW, same for Search.)

Using corp mail from the Y Mail web interface is remarkably feature rich. It supports booking conference rooms, folders, calendar, filters and global address book. Plus, you get built-in Messenger, smart conversation threading, powerful keyboard shortcuts, the new quick actions, attachment preview and our beautiful new rich themes. In the rare case you do need Outlook, like adding a delegate for your calendar, you can still fire up Outlook for 30 seconds.

But wait there’s more. By using corporate Mail, you’ll automatically get to dogfood our new features first. I’m especially excited about a new feature premiering in just a few more days: smart auto-suggest, powered by a platform from the still-have-that-new-acquisition-smell Xobni team. We have been testing this feature with select users in and out of the company and the response has been fantastic: “Whoa!”, “Amazing”, “Already in love with it. Woot!” and, my favorite, “So nicely integrated that it appears as if it’s always been there. I already can’t imagine it not being there again.”

It doesn’t look good – Yahoo is having to urge a whopping 75% to move to Yahoo Mail. It’s unclear exactly when they were first told to do so, but “earlier this year” makes it sound like it’s been quite a while. A long time to have that many people ignore the corporate wishes.

I mean wow. How bad is it?

The memo closes by noting that corporate mail is not yet supported on mobile. That’s probably not going to go too far in convincing those reluctant to make the switch.

If Yahoo is having that much trouble convincing its own people to use the product, what does that say about the prospect of gaining new users – especially business users?

If Yahoo employees don’t want to use it, and old Yahoo Mail users hate it, who else is left besides new users?

We haven’t seen any hard data about Yahoo Mail usage, but it’s hard to imagine that it hasn’t lost a lot of the old users, based on the hundreds of comments we’ve gotten from readers ourselves. Here are nearly five hundred on the last article we wrote on the subject alone (there are hundreds more on other articles). And we’re just one place users can vent.

People dislike it for a pretty broad range of reasons, which complicates things even more for Yahoo. It’s not as though there’s just one feature that is frustrating users. There’s no one feature they could add that would make everybody start responding better.

Although, one thing is clear from all the comments. If they just switched back to the old Yahoo Mail, they’d make a lot of users happy. I’m afraid I don’t see that happening, however.

Are you happy with the current state of Yahoo Mail? Let us know in the comments.

Image: Yahoo


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.