As commonly happens, I’m called in to help with IT challenges at my dad’s house over the holidays. I’m happy to help and am always curious about what new issues have arisen. Yesterday, the goal was to help him configure email on his new iPhone 3GS. He had just purchased it the day before due to the battery dying on his first generation iPhone, and it being unusually expensive to replace.
With a clean slate on his iPhone, I recommended he go with Gmail instead of Yahoo due to the superior web-based interface, no text ads in the emails, and the better integration with other Google services like Google Calendar. Of course, he’d been using Yahoo! Mail for seven years, so he was reluctant to switch. Here’s the trouble with Yahoo! Mail we had to go through to make forwarding work:
- Sign into Yahoo! Mail to forward email to the new Gmail account only to find you can’t forward mail unless you pay $20/year for the Yahoo! Mail Plus (we’re now annoyed at Yahoo! and they have a message that the $20/year will auto-renew and there’s no way to not have that take place without canceling the email forwarding)
- Go to the Yahoo! Mail Plus forwarding interface and find that it is the static, non-ajax interface with a cheesy apology that they haven’t gotten around to updating the interface
- Pay $20 and wait for a confirmation email to the Gmail address required by Yahoo! to forward mail
- Click refresh several times in Gmail, looking for the confirmation email, only to eventually think to look in the spam folder — there’s the Yahoo! email
- The Yahoo! email doesn’t have a clickable link and there’s a code that has to be copied and pasted into the Yahoo! interface (yes, we’re just trying to get mail forwarded)
- The process is now complete after paying $20 and jumping through a bunch of hoops
This trouble with Yahoo! Mail, actively making it difficult and cumbersome to forward email, shows they are on the defensive, protecting with they have, and not doing the right things to grow. Companies make lots of little choices that all add up to a strategy — Yahoo!’s strategy is to play defense.