We have always talked about the need to remove inactive email addresses from your email list. It has now just become more important than ever. Yahoo has announced that they’ll be releasing user names that haven’t been accessed in over 12 months and making those names available for someone else to register. This isn’t a one time thing, but a new policy going forward which is in place from 15 July 2013.
Why is this important?
Scenario 1: You have a Yahoo user who has subscribed to your list with a Yahoo email… it becomes their email that all their mail subscriptions get sent to, it gets filled up with emails, and after a while they don’t check the address, and they never log into the account. Say a year goes by, and they haven’t logged in. So Yahoo releases that email account and a new person signs up for that old email address. Now a different person who never signed up to your list will potentially be getting your emails. You think they will just hit junk/spam or delete? You bet they will.
Scenario 2: Yahoo turns some of these old addresses turned into Spam Traps. Spam Traps are email addresses which are either never used or retired email addresses that are used to catch spammers and those with poor emailing/list management habits. If you continue email those spam traps…… can you see how this could impact on your deliverability?
What should I do?
Here’s the steps you should take for all email addresses (not just Yahoo) on your list and signing up:
- All new sign up’s should ideally be double opted-in. This helps to ensure it’s a live email address manned by a human
- All new sign up’s should be sent a welcome email or transactional email after they sign up. These emails should make it clear how and where they signed up as well as an easy to click and clear link to unsubscribe.
- All addresses that do not take an action (open/clickthrough/share/forward etc.) after about 6-9 months time should be removed from your list. Email activity is the key metric and you should be engaging inactive subscribers at the 3-6 month mark in an attempt to get them active again. If after six months of not opening, it’s highly likely they never will.
What should I be aware of as a marketer?
A Yahoo! spokeswoman said that between mid-July and mid-August when the old email addresses become available, Yahoo! would attempt to unsubscribe the old emails from as many commercial lists as possible and all email to those addresses would result in bounce messages. So one solution is to make sure you send a campaign out between mid-July and mid-August so that if it hits any inactive emails you will get a bounce message so you can then you can remove any old emails.
This new policy by Yahoo makes list cleaning a must for anyone who manages an email list.