Yahoo! Recycling Email IDs - What This Means for Marketers


This blog post is a follow-up on ‘Yahoo! Releasing Inactive Email Addresses.’

If you’ve been staying up-to-date on Yahoo’s recycled ID plans, you’re likely aware that we are in the midst of an important time period. Yahoo announced, earlier in June, that they are going to be freeing up a variety of generic email IDs through the process of recycling accounts that have previously been inactive. Between July 15th and August 15th, Yahoo is providing a variety of opportunities for marketers to cleanse their lists of potentially recycled accounts. As a quick reminder: 

  • Before each inactive ID at Yahoo! is made available, they are expected to bounce back between July 15th and August 15th. This will give email marketers the opportunity to receive a bounce-back code and proactively remove that address from their list.
  • Yahoo! stated that they will unsubscribe inactive accounts from commercial email before releasing them for usage. This process is also expected to occur between July 15th and August 15th.

Yahoo! Supports Require-Recipient-Valid-Since Header:

A few days ago on July 15th, Yahoo! announced a new method that they are supporting called ‘Require-Recipient-Valid-Since’ headers. Supporting this type of header is another way that Yahoo is protecting user privacy as they go through the recycled email process.

How does it work? The sender is required to add a line to their existing mail header in the following format:

Require-Recipient-Valid-Since: emailaddress; full timestamp and timezone

The timestamp and timezone should reflect the date at which the email address was last confirmed by the sender. In the case that the sender attempts to send an email to the recipient with the header in place, Yahoo will first verify that the sender is attempting to contact the correct recipient before delivering the mail. In the case that someone else has taken over the Yahoo email address since the sender’s last confirmed timestamp, Yahoo will return a bounce code back to the sender indicating that the address is closed down. Here’s an example scenario:

  1. Yahoo recipient subscribes to receive marketing updates from Marketer on April 4th, 2012 at 6:00AM EST.
  2. Marketer sends recipient regular email communication about ongoing promotions and product updates using a header of Require-Recipient-Valid-Since:; Mon 4 Apr 2012  06:00 -5:00
  3. In July 2013, Yahoo recipient abandons his/her email account and allows Yahoo to recycle the address over to a new Yahoo sign up. As of July 15th 2013, a new user is now operating the Yahoo email address.
  4. Marketer attempts to send Recipient another email about an upcoming product promotion. Yahoo confirms that the receiving email address has a new user sign up date that is AFTER the Marketer’s timestamp indicated within the mail header.
  5. Yahoo returns a bounce code back to Marketer indicating that the email address they are attempting to reach is no longer valid.
  6. Marketer removes Yahoo recipient from their mailing list.

What all marketers need to keep in mind about Yahoo’s changes:

  • If you’ve been mailing your Yahoo audience on a regular basis, and are removing hard bounces properly, there’s still no major cause for concern. You’ve already been cleansing your list of inactive Yahoo email addresses, and you shouldn’t expect to run into any issues as a result of Yahoo’s recycled ID program.
  • If you have a list, containing Yahoo addresses, that has NOT been mailed on a regular basis (ex: has not been mailed in 6 months+) and that you plan on mailing in the future, then you need to take action between July 15th and August 15th.
    • Mail Your Inactive Base: It’s recommended that you mail through your Yahoo inactive base (anyone who has not engaged in the past 12 months) to allow for hard bounce removals and unsubscribe processing. Sending an email to your Yahoo base before August 15th allows Yahoo to send back an appropriate bounce code indicating if an address is closed down, and also allows them to unsubscribe any inactive addresses from your program.
    • Perform Data Hygiene: Evaluate which Yahoo subscribers are actively engaged versus no longer engaged, and consider removing inactive/nonactive addresses from your subscriber base. We can help you facilitate this with our Data Hygiene services.
  • If your mailing program would benefit from a ‘Require-Recipient-Valid-Since’ header, work with your Email Service Provider to understand what it takes to implement this capability. Yesmail Deliverability is currently reviewing this new header capability and working towards being able to support it for all marketers.

Author Bio

Brad Van Der Woerd

Brad provides global email deliverability leadership and management for Yes Lifecycle Marketing’s Intelligence Products team. His expertise includes providing digital marketing strategies, email deliverability consulting and best practices to a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies including eBay, Visa, Gap, US Bank and many more. Brad holds 10 years of experience within digital marketing and is passionate about team engagement, people development and driving results for clients.