March 30, 2002 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Yahoo has quietly changed its privacy policy. Accountholders are now subscribed to lots of newsletters plus junk mail and telemarketing. You can change your preferences and send Yahoo some feedback. You can't prevent them from subscribing you to new products without closing your account. Will going to an opt-out system help or hurt their bottom line? Will there be a backlash?
posted by neuroshred (27 comments total)
The 'marketing' options disappear from your profile if you fill in another country of origin.
posted by prolific at 9:28 AM on March 30, 2002

Sorry, I mean if you change 'USA' to another country.
posted by prolific at 9:29 AM on March 30, 2002

This *might* happen if you start out as US and change to another country, but I originally created my profile showing Canada as my country and found that the marketing option link and page were there this morning when I went in to change my preferences.

(And isn't the whole profile/account informtion section a complete bloody maze? Do they eat their information architects for breakfast at Yahoo or what?)
posted by maudlin at 9:33 AM on March 30, 2002

you have to opt out of us mail and telephone crap too... not that they have that info, i like yahoo's services, i just set all the crap to go to yahoo email which i never check.
posted by rhyax at 9:47 AM on March 30, 2002

Perhaps this is an excellent time to ask what email services everyone uses, and why?
posted by aschulak at 9:52 AM on March 30, 2002

As of this morning, I have received 5 e-mail messages from Yahoo!, all of which were advertisements.

I have made the appropriate changes to my account preferences. While I do understand their need to further detail their marketing preference screen, resetting preferences is neither desirable or acceptable.
posted by benjh at 9:57 AM on March 30, 2002

Whoa - at the bottom of my account information page they have my home and business address as well as my home phone number, checked "yes" for me to receive special offers and marketing communications. The only reason I ever type my business address into a browser is for shipping... guess it serves me right for buying something from one of their partners.

If you can't remember every site where you've ordered something over the internet you should check your account information.
posted by ChuqD at 10:39 AM on March 30, 2002

I was thinking of posting this to MeFi when Yahoo sent me the announcement. I'm glad somebody did.

For me, this seals the deal, I'm going to have to switch email addresses. As God is my witness, I have not signed up for any newsletters or spam related crap in at least a year, and in the last week (while on vacation) I got over 100 spam emails, 30 of which bypassed the Bulk Mail folder.

The advice on changing your country won't work for me, because I use Yahoo!Shopping(provides a Passport like system with Yahoo!Wallet, but more secure) fairly frequently, and need a valid mailing address. Hell, I even have a Yahoo! Credit card (you get Yahoo points on every dollar, and it's not a great deal, as I have found). I probably will continue to use the email simply for purchases, but in the last three years that I have bought anything on the web, I have never, ever bought a single product as a result of email advertisements. I have no idea how this marketing system generates any revenue, whatsoever.

Any reccomendations on a good free email service, and how about a student credit card with no fees and benefits?
posted by insomnyuk at 10:48 AM on March 30, 2002

I have no idea how this marketing system generates any revenue, whatsoever.

Yahoo gets revenue from advertisers. Advertisers sometimes get their moneys worth and sometimes not. There's some sick percentage ratio that is apparently great with some advertisers which is why spam continues on and on unabated.
posted by amanda at 11:32 AM on March 30, 2002

I don't know about Yahoo, but other sites don't just 'share' your info, they install spyware on your computer. When the subject of spyware last came up I downloaded adaware and found 28 different instances; removing them has cut the spam and sped up my machine.
posted by Mack Twain at 12:01 PM on March 30, 2002

I am fuming mad. When I signed up for the Yahoo bill paying service, I provided them some of my most guarded private and financial information. I instructed them how that information is to be used. Now, they are planning to use that personal information in violation of my explicit instructions.

That's not simply wrong. That's fraud.

I hope everybody who is upset by this policy change will file a TrustE complaint. At best, maybe we can get this changed. At worst, we can demonstrate what a farce TrustE is. (A recent article said: Yahoo worked closely with Truste, which vouches for sound Internet privacy practices, to craft its changes.)
posted by chipr at 12:14 PM on March 30, 2002

Any reccomendations on a good free email service

Hotmail. They've never given me a problem, they do a pretty good job of filtering out spam email. As far as the credit card goes, I can't help you, except to tell you to bank with Washington Mutual.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 12:42 PM on March 30, 2002


Yahoo! (the exclamation point is part of their official name) went way out of line to add my contact info to ALL the "opt-in" services without my consent, especially after I already opted-out of those same services.

Between this and the charging for the once-free POP mail, Yahoo! is getting on my nerves. I'm waiting for strike 3 before I cancel my account, however. My Yahoo! is still a decent free service, despite its flaws.
posted by Down10 at 12:47 PM on March 30, 2002

Obviously, TrustE policies aren't worth the electrons they're printed on.

But am I incorrect in reading this as marketing preferences just for ads for Yahoo's own products, or potential products, as oppposed to preferences for general spam from anyone under the sun that pays Yahoo off? (I thought that's what the "Yahoo Delivers" category was for.)
posted by aaron at 12:48 PM on March 30, 2002

scummiest. dirty trick. this week.
posted by tsarfan at 1:39 PM on March 30, 2002

I think this falls under the jursidiction of the FTC. I've filed a complaint at this page. Don't know if it'll do much good, but it's worth a shot.
posted by dejah420 at 2:29 PM on March 30, 2002

For my personal FREE email account I recently changed over from HOTMAIL, which despite filtering some spam also let a horrendous amount through. However, since that time Yahoo! has decided I need to pay $30 a year just to receive my email in Outlook vis POP3. This sucks, as does this underhanded move to begin marketing more crap to my inbox. I'll see how things go using the web client after they kill free pop3 access at the end of April and then move on if it's too much of a pain. Any suggestions?
posted by tdstone at 2:40 PM on March 30, 2002

Yahoo! Mail has served me well for a few years now. When spam first started hitting my account, they came up with spam defenses and then the bulkmail folder that rerouted anything that still slipped through. I even paid for extra storage space because I did want to support a service that has been good to me.

But in recent months the spam's been increasing - beyond even the bulkmail folder's capacity for stopping it, as spammers get smarter and learn to outmaneuver any attempts to stop them. Then this morning, before reading this very thread, I saw a half dozen or so emails that looked as if they were somehow actually okayed by Yahoo itself. I feel mildly betrayed somehow.

So I'll start making effort to switch my email address, and work with my present webspace provider. See if she can finnagle a mail proxy for me. It's a shame. Yahoo was a good mail service for me. I'm just tired of the junkmail.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:02 PM on March 30, 2002

I admin a small but intensely active email list. A year or more ago a few of the participants were on Yahoo accounts and for months and months Yahoo would randomly eat maybe 5-10% of their incoming mail. It would just never arrive in their inboxes while also never giving any error to the sender. Eventually every Yahoo mail user gave up on it and switched to Hotmail. Hotmail is not perfect, but I've never seen it just sit on mail without giving an error.

I don't know if Yahoo has addressed this problem or not, but I would never depend on Yahoo mail for anything important or timely (especially anything business/financial).
posted by NortonDC at 4:01 PM on March 30, 2002

I think Rocketmail was quite decent prior to being purchased by Yahoo. It definitely was better than Hotmail for me back in '98.
posted by riffola at 5:36 PM on March 30, 2002

dejah420 - I'm glad you filed an FTC complaint. I agree they should be concerned about this. Unfortunately, I'm discouraged by their timidity in on-line enforcement.

Remember, this isn't the first time Yahoo has tried to screw the pooch with a terrible user agreement. They've been forced to rollback before, and maybe it will happen again.

Jeesh ... I guess this means Yahoo really has burned through all their good karma from the early years, huh?
posted by chipr at 6:04 PM on March 30, 2002

By the way neuroshred, thanks for the link to the preferences page, I wouldn't have been able to make changes otherwise (I deleted Yahoo's email announcement).
posted by insomnyuk at 8:38 PM on March 30, 2002

I'm already shutting down my Yahoo account because there's to be no free POP3. I don't know of any free POP3-enabled email service. I have an ISP and I now use to make sure that no-one ever needs to see my real address.
posted by krisjohn at 8:55 PM on March 30, 2002

:0: H
* ^From.*
posted by RavinDave at 9:20 PM on March 30, 2002

Fastmail offers free IMAP and Web access to e-mail, and merely requires you to mention their Web site in your sig. Looks like a pretty good deal.

Apple's iTools service offers free POP and IMAP e-mail (no Web access), plus 20MB of Web space with no advertising or bandwidth cap. You need access to a Mac to sign up, but you can use it with Windows. (In fact, Windows' access to the 20MB space is much faster than the Mac's.)

Two fine alternatives to Yahoo! Mail.
posted by kindall at 10:04 PM on March 30, 2002

Kind of on topic - here's an opt out list lnk page that I'm pretty sure I grabbed on MeFi a few months ago. Links directly to the opt out pages for several marketers.
posted by skechada at 7:57 PM on March 31, 2002

Thanks Kindall. I'm a longtime yahoo user who *used* to love all they did for me, this is really too bad.

So, does anyone know what exactly "new services" reffers to?
posted by Hackworth at 9:03 AM on April 1, 2002

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