Yahoo stops some users accessing emails

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Use An Ad Blocker? Yahoo May Block Your Email.

INTERNET PORTAL Yahoo has begun live testing on a tool that will see customers’ emails blocked if the interface detects they are also using an ad blocker. I’ve spoken with a number of people in the digital advertising business who say the solution is to just deny users with ad blockers access to the content they want.Yahoo Mail users who have installed ad-blocking software might find an unwelcome surprise: In the U.S., at least, Yahoo is blocking their access to email. On Friday, dozens of people took to web forums and social media to complain that they were blocked from their Yahoo email accounts unless they switched off their ad blockers. With the usual ad blocking suspects having signed up to an ‘Acceptable Ads’ policy that will allow adverts that meet certain standards whilst blocking others, this rather draconian move from Yahoo – which is in no position to start making demands of its dwindling user base for emails – seems something of an overreaction.

The issue seems to have first appeared early on Thursday when “portnoyd,” a user on the AdBlock Plus online support forum, was served a pop-up with an ultimatum: Turn off your ad blocker, or forget about getting to your email. “At Yahoo, we are continually developing and testing new product experiences,” Anne Yeh, a Yahoo spokeswoman, said in a statement. “This is a test we’re running for a small number of Yahoo Mail users in the U.S.” The developments with Yahoo Mail add another facet to the debate over ad blocking. At the moment, those affected can re-route their emails via IMAP or POP3 to another client, which means if the policy is eventually implemented full-time, all it will have achieved is to drive even more people away from Yahoo’s wider portal altogether, leaving it as a sitting (purple, rubber) duck. µ While ad blockers have been available for desktop web browsers for some time, Apple in September enabled ad blocking to happen on the mobile web through its iOS9 mobile operating system. The ADBLK_TRAP in the URL (see above) doesn’t help sell your tale, as anyone can add it and get this “error.” Yahoo Mail’s new trick was first spotted by DigiDay, which discovered an Adblock Plus forum post by a user who goes by the name portnoyd. Ads underlie much of the web and enable the creation of free content, and limiting ads violates that implicit understanding, some advertisers and publishers said at the time.

Free email providers such as Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft, are encountering a problem with users in 2015: Their monetization model is centered around advertising, but obtrusive, bandwidth-hogging, and simply ugly and annoying ads ruin the user experience. Google has largely avoided this problem by keeping in-app advertising discreet, while Microsoft has pivoted free email into a loss leader for its other products. But while the report indicated a rising number of users were downloading ad blocking software on desktop computers, it remains to be seen how many people will use blockers on their mobile devices.

Still, many in the industry say that the increased focus on ad blocking has spurred some publishers to reconsider their advertising models, particularly for their mobile sites. It’s the season of giving, so we’re loading up Yahoo Gemini — our proprietary marketplace for search and native advertising across devices — with new features and enhancements to give advertisers even more functionality for ringing in sales.

Besides Yahoo, some publishers are considering ways to strip out or reduce traditional web display ads on both desktop and mobile sites, and instead generate revenue through sponsorships or so-called native advertising. Our new conversion optimization feature allows advertisers to improve campaign performance by optimizing conversions toward a target cost per acquisition (CPA), while an enhancement to our custom audience capability enables advertisers to target users with native ads based on their in-app actions. It’s like hearing your Mom tell you: “Eat your green beans or no dessert.” To that, grown up people might react like this: I think most web users would be sympathetic to publishers’ need for ads if the ads were not disruptive, distracting, and out of control. Yahoo is facing mounting pressure to turn around the company after years of waning search and advertising revenue and a decrease in traffic to its homepage, once a major destination in the world of digital media.

If a publisher or service provider wants to ask users to ditch ad blockers, they have to start communicating that message long before the user arrives at the page and is surprised by a roadblock. Founded in 1994 by Stanford PhD candidates David Filo and Jerry Yang as a way for them to keep track of their personal interests on the Internet, Yahoo! has grown into a company that helps p… read more » There has to be a good reason for the user to turn off the ad blocker, and it has to be about the longevity of the relationship between the user and the site or service.

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