Yesterday, Yahoo! announced important changes to the way they handle Yahoo! IDs. Yahoo will be freeing up inactive Yahoo! IDs and making them available again. This is an important change that should not be ignored by anyone who's involved in any capacity with email marketing.
On July 15, Yahoo! will make all IDs with no activity in the previous 12 months available to be claimed by someone new. This means that if you aren’t tracking and using engagement as a decision maker for mailings, it is time to start. The consequence of not getting a handle on this before the Yahoo! change will result in a negative outcome for your mailings.
If a new person claims an address and you continue mailing, you should expect the complaint rate to skyrocket since they will be receiving mail they didn’t sign up for.
There is also the possibility of mailing personal information (never a great idea, but it happens) to an unintended recipient.
We also need to do a bit more than just stop mailing to these unengaged addresses. The tough part of this equation is that someone new may now claim an address and sign-up to receive your email. It may make sense for you to purge these unengaged users from your database in the hopes that the addresses will come back.
We should also give Yahoo! some props for using their new toy Tumblr to make this announcement:
"So, how are we making these Yahoo! IDs available? We’re freeing up IDs, that have been inactive for at least 12 months, by resetting them and giving them a fresh start. In mid July, anyone can have a shot at scoring the Yahoo! ID they want. In mid August, users who staked a claim on certain IDs can come to Yahoo! to discover which one they got."