Blog Post

Let Me Count the Ways I Loathe Yahoo Mail

A little over a year ago, I made a big mistake. I moved from Gmail to Yahoo Mail.

As a web worker, a large part of my day is spent in my inbox, so it wasn’t a decision I made willy-nilly. When the new version of Yahoo Mail was launched, I gave it a try and was won over by its resemblance to a desktop email client. Drag and drop actions, support for right-click context menus and a well-designed and attractive interface are all features that had me thinking the grass was greener on the Yahoo side.

I was also attracted by the promise of unlimited email storage and support for up to 20MB of attachments with the Yahoo Mail Plus subscription. And little things, like the prompt that appears after you email someone that isn’t in your addressbook that asks if you want to add them, and the ability to organize email into folders. So I made the jump to Yahoo Mail, and I’ve been ruing it ever since.

The biggest issue I have with Yahoo Mail is the poorly-implemented search feature. I’m one of those people that uses their inbox as the main repository of work-related information. Things like article commissions, meeting details and a never-ending stream of press releases are all stored in my email, and rather than tag them or put them into folders (the latter of which I do maybe once a month just to move everything out of my inbox), I rely heavily on the search function to find information that I’m looking for.

The search function in Gmail is excellent. The one in Yahoo Mail – terrible. I’d enter search terms for messages that I knew were in my inbox ‘somewhere’, and Yahoo Mail would find what I was looking for maybe 50% of the time. Even doing a search on a sender’s name wouldn’t produce a complete list of all the email from that person.

Originally I thought it was an indexing issue for new email, and that it would eventually catch up after a day or so. But no – even email that had been in my inbox for months weren’t being found by the search feature, which means that I’ve had to manually hunt down a lot of my email by date. When you get as much email as I do (around 200 a day), that’s a lot of wasted time!

Close behind the search issue on the irritation scale is the incredibly un-intelligent spam blocker. It’s gotten to the point that I have to check the spam folder every time I check my inbox. Perfectly legitimate email with none of the tell-tale spam keywords have landed in that folder, as have email that I’ve actually replied to previously. I’m subscribed to a few mailing lists, and around half of those messages end up in the spam folder, with seemingly no predictable pattern as to which messages are junked or not. To top it off, I’m still getting actual spam in my main inbox.

I miss Gmail. I’ve still got my old Google Apps account under a secondary email address, but now I’m looking at my options for migrating all of my Yahoo Mail to Gmail, plus transfer the domain name, which I bought through Yahoo. The enormity of the task makes me want to hang onto Yahoo Mail for a bit longer. Anyone know if there’s a quick way to do this? All of a sudden getting a virtual assistant to do it all for me looks very appealing.

15 Responses to “Let Me Count the Ways I Loathe Yahoo Mail”

  1. Wow. I’ve had the exact opposite experience with the 2 searches. Gmail is horrid, yahoo incredible. Gmail only does exact match. I recently asked some folks for restaurant recommendations. I searched for ‘restaurant.’ No luck finding the message in Gmail. Turns out that the messages only had ‘restaurants’ in them. Yahoo not only does partial match, but also lets you filter results by sender, folder, date, attachments, and other message attributes.

  2. One email address isn’t sufficient for me. I use multiple Google and multiple Yahoo addresses, for different reasons:

    But unless you work from multiple devices and don’t have IMAP as an option, why not use a good desktop client instead of sucky web interfaces? I agree Yahoo’s new web interface is bad, I login and select the old when when I have to access via the web.

  3. I deal with Yahoo mail from the sending side. Mailing lists, emails to customers, etc. They are horrible consistently ‘delaying’ emails to yahoo for long periods of time. I’ve tried to talk to Yahoo and get this fixed, but it seems impossible to get real help so far. We are at the point where we have to tell people that we cannot guarantee delivery of emails to Yahoo and that the problem is on their end.

    If you monitor NANOG the topic has come up for discussion a few times and it seems like it is a common problem. Very large sites can see 10s of thousands of emails waiting for delivery to yahoo at times. I’ve seen similar discussions on a list concerning email administration in higher education.

    We’ve not encountered problems with hotmail or gmail. We see problems with AOL maybe once a year, but they are very responsive. We participate in anti-spam measures as requested (feedback loops, domainkeys, etc.)

    Get rid of your Yahoo mail.

  4. Close behind the search issue on the irritation scale is the incredibly un-intelligent spam blocker.

    Ah, so it’s not just my imagination, then?

    I swear, that alone is going to be what causes me to dump Yahoo. I actually pay for this entertainment, via the SBC ISP that I’m using, and despite using up my allotted 50 filters (and what’s up with the lame filtering, anyway? Even Outlook Express has better filtering than Yahoo) I still can’t keep the v14gra and c1ali5 spam out of my inbox, or keep my customers from being spammed.

  5. I made the change from yahoo to gmail about the same time. definitely don’t regret it. I still check yahoo mail occasionally because some people refuse to update their contact list; it always has spam in the inbox. (which is why I switched)

  6. For the last 3 years in a row, searching for emails in Yahoo starts having trouble finding/indexing all results around April 1. I swear, a disgruntled engineer must have built this glitch into the system to cause havoc each April Fools Day.

  7. headless

    Mitch @ 7:44am. No – you’re not the only one who doesn’t like the Gmail interface, but perhaps you ARE the only one to be brave enough to say so!

    I think it “sucks” as I believe my american cousins might put it.

  8. How come you don’t use a Mail program (Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, etc.)?

    Me – I recently ditched Yahoo! mail (after using it for 10+ years). Yahoo’s POP servers were having such trouble – and I was paying $20/year for the privilege.

    I have my own domain/email (1&1 – highly recommended) for work and Gmail for everything else.

    I use a Mail client (Apple Mail) so the webmail interface isn’t a consideration. I really don’t like Gmail interface (I think I may be the only one).

  9. You can add pop/imap accounts to Gmail and fetch mail from those accounts. I recently migrated ~1.5GB of mail from an Exchange account that way. It took the better part of a week because it would only grab about 200 messages at a time and then wait forever before checking again (I would generally check every so often and give it a kick if it was idle).

    What was even more useful is that I wanted to keep the “old” mail out of my Gmail inbox until I could properly tag everything. For incoming mail from other accounts you can auto-tag and archive messages.

    Is your domain email hosted on Yahoo? That’ll be an interesting puzzle getting email from a domain-hosted Yahoo account to a domain-hosted Gmail account.

  10. Hello Jenneth!

    1. (GMAIL) Setup your email and DNS domain settings by following Google’s advice under Manage Domain > Service Settings > Email > Instructions on how to activate Email

    2. (YAHOO) Simply forward all your incomming mail from Yahoo to Gmail.

    3. (GMAIL) Download all your email from Yahoo to Gmail through IMAP, POP3 (through Gmail) or using this tool

    That’s a bit short description but it shouldn’t be difficult to complete these steps.

  11. Why not auto forward all your yahoo mail to gmail, and then gradually start changing things over?

    I love gmail, and despite Yahoo, and the more i use gmail, the more I realize that what they lack in the folder category, they make up in the powerful search functions, and the anti-spam blocking. Very rarely, if ever, do I get any spam through Gmail, and I used to get over 300 pieces of spam a day.