I actually delayed posting this news yesterday because it was April Fools Day and I thought it must be a joke. Joke's on me.
Yesterday, on the same day that US and Canadian law officials announced they were about to get tough on spam, Yahoo decided to loosen up. No they are not relaxing their guard to let anymore spam into Yahoo mail users' mailboxes from the outside. However, they are going to be allowing a heck of a lot more bulk email from Yahoo advertisers in.
What they did was add a new opt-out "Marketing Preferences" section to every mail users account (enter your Yahoo email account, click on "Privacy" and then click again on the "Marketing Preferences" link in tiny letters in the left column.) This section lists no fewer than 17 different lists that you are now automatically placed on to get broadcast email, snail mail and even telemarketing calls from, UNLESS you make a point of going over to click the "no" button for each and every one of them. Yahoo is alerting mail users of this new system by sending them email about it over the next 60 days.
I understand that Yahoo needs to make money, just like any other business, and I support that. But forcibly putting my name on 17 different marketing lists unless I plead otherwise doesn't seem like a very permission-friendly tactic from the company that spawned the likes of Seth Godin. Is insisting on opt-in (vs. opt-out) permission marketing too-naive-to-bear these days? I dunno, but it's the end of an era, that's for sure.
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