The Yahoo Mail Woes Only Continue

    December 15, 2013
    Chris Crum

People are becoming increasingly frustrated with Yahoo Mail, and it’s no longer simply about the recent redesigns it has forced on users. Now, it’s experiencing actual service disruptions, and lengthy ones at that.

Have you experienced any issues with Yahoo Mail? Let us know in the comments.

The latest round of problems have been going on since at least Monday, and only on Wednesday did the company address them in a blog post. Jeffrey Bonforte, SVP of Communication Products, writes:

We are very sorry for recent difficulties with Yahoo Mail.

Some of our users have not been able to access their mail since 10:27 PM PT on Monday night, due to a hardware problem in one of our mail data centers. The issue has been harder to fix than we originally expected.

We have dozens of people working around the clock to bring it to a resolution. We believe our current efforts will restore our users’ access to their inboxes by 3 pm PT today. We’ll post again then on our @YahooMail Twitter handle.

That Twitter account has indeed been busy:

By 8PM Eastern on Wednesday, Yahoo said that “most” affected users would be abel to access their Yahoo Mail accounts, login to them and send and receive messages as it continued to restore access for the rest of affected users. The company warned, however, that users’ most recent messages may not appear in the inbox, but they were starting to deliver emails that were sent during the outage. While saying it would work as fast as possible, the company acknowledged that it could take a while.

The company issued another update at 2:15AM Eastern saying they restored POP mail access, but were still working on restoring IMAP.

“The affected servers have been up and running for over six hours and we’ve already delivered over 30% of messages sent during the outage,” the company said.”We expect all emails to be delivered by tomorrow afternoon.”

It went on to say that some users may still have trouble accessing their accounts. That was the last updated as of the time of this writing.

Downtimes happen to even the best of services from time to time, but Monday night to late Thursday morning is a long time, especially for a service that is so critical to so many people and businesses.

All Things D’s Kara Swisher, who is a frequent reporter of Yahoo news and memo leaks, seems appalled by the lack of communication from Yahoo and its PR team surrounding issues with Yahoo Mail.

Noting that some reports indicate that outages have been occurring for “many days,” and that complaints have been mounting for weeks, she writes, “What is consistent are two things: Outages have been occurring regularly and Yahoo has been woefully negligent in informing its users about the problems. They have also declined to return emails inquiring about the issue and others related to Yahoo Mail from this site for weeks, in perhaps the most astonishing display of PR incompetence I have experienced in a very long time. Heretofore excellent communications staffers I have worked with in the past have seemingly been rendered mute.”

It’s pretty incredible given the beating Yahoo Mail has taken in the media, and more so in comments sections where users frequently voice their outrage.

Swisher also shares an additional interesting nugget that users are sure to love. Jeff Bonforte, who is running Yahoo Mail had some interesting words in a recent company meeting. Swisher reports that he “made a joke that many in attendance did not find funny at all”:

While acknowledging customer complaints and dissatisfaction, he added that Yahoo would need to “kick the users hard” in a certain body part to get them to leave Yahoo Mail, according to numerous people there.

It doesn’t sound like he’s too worried about losing users, but that was before this week’s mass downtime that has drawn so much attention. For people, and especially those with businesses to run, not having access to email is a pretty big kick in the something.

This also comes after Swisher exposed an email from Bonforte and Yahoo CIO Randy Roumillat, which revealed that even Yahoo employees have been reluctant to use Yahoo Mail.

Regardless of how long it takes Yahoo to clean up the current outage mess, one can only wonder how much damage it has caused in terms of product loyalty.

Update: From the Yahoo Mail Status page:

Update 12/12/13 – 12:00 pm PST
Here’s our latest update: We can confirm that 97% of affected users have access to their Mail accounts on web, POP and the Yahoo Mail iOS, Android and Windows 8 apps. For these users, we have delivered 80% of their queued messages that were sent from 10:27 PM PT on 12/9 until now.

We’re aware that some users are still having trouble accessing their accounts. We’re working tirelessly to restore access to their accounts.

We would like to clarify that for users impacted by this outage, their Yahoo Mail was working normally from 11/25-12/9. We’re still working on restoring messages that were delivered during this time.

We’re slowly ramping up IMAP access to ensure stability and maintain current users’ access.

Is this going to cost Yahoo some users? Share your thoughts in the comments.