Back in October, our own Jeff Weisbein asked a question about whether or not Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer might be slipping in her attention to detail—specifically because of the big, big problems regarding the revamped Yahoo Mail service. While I think Mayer’s moves as CEO have been pretty revolutionary for the company on the whole, the Yahoo Mail debacle is a gnarly blemish that is straight-up impossible to ignore.

Now, an update on Yahoo’s help blog indicates that the most recent outage of the service is coming to an end, and that users should have access to their accounts once more—but that for some, “emails between 11/25 and 12/9 may not be showing up” due to a backlog of undelivered messages.

That is ridiculous. And that’s proof enough that you should probably just kill your Yahoo Mail account already.

For years and years, I used Yahoo as my primary email account, but as time went on its creaky UI and lousy revisions made me move away from using it as my main means of correspondence. The fact that my Yahoo address seemed to earn more spam than any other service I’d used didn’t fill me with confidence either. Finally, earlier this year I tried shutting my Yahoo account down for good—but that didn’t seem to take, considering unscrupulous denizens of the Internet had hacked my account and started spamming all the people in my contacts list (people I hadn’t spoken with in years, not to mention an ex-girlfriend or two). Needless to say, I was pretty fed up and went about scrubbing any trace of my former Yahoo account from the web.

What can the Big Four tech companies tell us about the future?

This was my experience before the revamp—and since then reports peg the new Yahoo Mail as an unmitigated disaster. Sure, for a long time, when Yahoo was one of the few free email games in town, having a Yahoo address made a certain amount of sense. But when Google came on the scene and rolled out Gmail back in 2004, the service quickly and easily outperformed Yahoo’s equivalent mail client. The fact that Google’s Android operating system functions in concert with a user’s Google account, and offers a great Gmail experience makes it seem like the best choice for free email services today.

So why, I ask, does anyone even still bother with Yahoo Mail? It sucked before the revamp, and apparently sucks even more since its relaunch. Gmail works pretty amazingly well considering it costs zero dollars. There are occasional outages, but I haven’t heard of anyone complaining about losing two weeks’ worth of messages as a result of one.

The choice is clear: if you want a free email service that easily works with your mobile devices, there’s really no reason not to go with Gmail. I can’t think of any.

If you disagree, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear why folks are sticking with Yahoo after this most recent debacle.

  • I used Yahoo mail for a long time, and when they added the tabs, i absolutely loved it. I have a small business, and it handled the graphic files I send and receive better than other e-mail providers. I opened a gmail account in 2008, and it sucked, so I never used it. This October, however, when I opened my Yahoo account and was faced with a freaking nightmare geared toward your average 13-year-old girl, I frantically tried to discover how to default back to the old model; there was a trick that worked for about 3 weeks, but then that was taken away and it was Marissa’s way or the highway. I logged back in to the gmail account and remembered why I never used it — it’s basically the prototype for the horror that Yahoo has become.

    I have spent many hours researching alternatives, and for now am taking the advice of a fellow business owner and going with outlook. I had to accelerate the changeover this week because of the outage (taking valuable time during one of our busiest periods of the year); but changing is not that easy if you have a business. I’m having to send out e-mails individually from my new account (so I don’t trigger a spam alert at the companies I’m sending to), and request that they white-list the address if it ends up in spam and notify me that they received the notification. I also have to go to all my vendors and change my e-mail address, and have to work on my website as well. Yahoo offers no way to mass download the years of saved business correspondence I have there, unless I pay them money, which feels a lot like extortion. I guess this February, when things are slowed down, I’ll go in and clean it out and forward myself what I feel needs to be kept on file. By the way, when I first started forwarding some of my recent correspondence to my outlook account, I was locked out of Yahoo for “suspicious activity” on my account. Marissa Mayer has proven herself to be completely unprepared for the job she is doing — although with the outrageous salary she is receiving, I’m sure she doesn’t care. Apparently, neither do her stockholders.
    Upshot — I agree with you, and am in the process of abandoning ship.

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