It has become the online equivalent of a riot. Tens of thousands of Yahoo users have taken to online Web forums to complain about the look and functionality of the new Yahoo Mail, one of several new product updates introduced over the last 15 months at the behest of its new chief executive and former Googler, Marissa Mayer.
By mid last week, more than 3,000 people had signed a petition on Change.org to bring back the old Yahoo mail. A Facebook group called “Yahoo’s New Mail Fail” had nearly 500 members. A number of blogs were blasting the changes. And tens of thousands of users had posted to a Yahoo Mail forum to complain about the second update to Yahoo Mail in less than a year.
“The new Yahoo is so bad it’s tragic,” wrote one frustrated user. “If it ain’t broken don’t fix it,” wrote another. “It just feels like Yahoo doesn’t care about users like me: Longtime, loyal, paying customers who were happily using the Yahoo service,” said another.
With an estimated 275 million users, Yahoo used to be the most popular e-mail service in the United States. But it has been surpassed in recent years by Google’s Gmail service and Microsoft’s Hotmail offering. Yahoo users suspect the new Yahoo mail was Yahoo’s unsuccessful attempt to mimic Gmail. “So Yahoo Mail just redesigned to look like Gmail, except with a towering ad on the right?” one user Tweeted.
Like Gmail, Yahoo’s new Mail service now organises e-mail threads by conversation, rather than sorting them through integrated tabs. It also offers users the option to include a background image. As in Gmail, users can search for e-mails by senders, but they can no longer sort their e-mail alphabetically by sender. That has not exactly gone over well.
“Currently the product feels like a alpha version of a Gmail,” one user posted to a Yahoo Mail forum. “I feel personally abused by Yahoo since, as a paying customer I didn’t subscribe to the new release of the product and was migrated without any warning. This is a tool for me, not a toy.”
Users were also angered by a number of features that were removed in the current update. There is no longer an option to print e-mails, for instance, and a “Save Draft” button was swapped out for a less intuitive “X” button, which left many users frustrated and confused. “What a great idea, remove