Last Friday I was finally invited to participate in the Yahoo! Mail Beta and I was immediately disappointed in the experience. From what I had read all over the internet since the Beta program was introduced, I thought the new Yahoo! Mail Beta was going to finally allow me to jump online and run all my 15 email accounts — I would settle for four — from one centralized location instead of having to use Outlook 2003 as my meter of reading, delivering and managing email.

Yahoo Mail Beta


You can see the new Yahoo! Mail Beta sure is pretty looking, though,
and an Outlook 2003 wannabee. Yes, you can drag-and-drop messages into
folders and yes, you have a tabbed interface, but the guts of the
Yahoo! Mail Beta experience are still bloodless and deadly.
Yahoo! Mail still does not support IMAP so if you want to move any
other email accounts online with Yahoo! as your mail processor you will
have to do it via POP3 access. That means Yahoo! will download all your
messages into Yahoo! only and keep them there and the only way you can
access them again is by logging into Yahoo! to see them.

I have an ongoing problem with Yahoo! Mail Plus in that it will not
allow me to verify an outside email address I want to use on their
system. If you cannot verify the email address, Yahoo! does not believe
you own the address and will not allow you to send mail from that
address — though you can download all the email you want for that
address. The problems is on their end — the verification code they’re
sending me isn’t being recognized by their confirmation system — but
trying to get them to fix it is like trying to get our soldiers out of
Iraq: It ain’t happenin’ anytime soon!

Another problem directly related with the Yahoo! Mail Beta is if you
want to add, modify or delete your third party email accounts you have
to do it all via the old Yahoo! Mail interface and when I make those
changes, Yahoo! Mail Plus/Beta crashes FireFox 1.5 really hard when
going back into Yahoo! Mail Beta view — so hard, in fact, that the
entire browser instantly dies no matter how many tabs were open and
there’s no way to get back what you were working on after Yahoo! Mail
Beta chows your browser, so beware!
Also, if you change the password for your third party email address you
will no longer be able to pull your mail or send mail from that account
because the old mail system does not appear to actively communicate
those changes to the new Yahoo! Mail Beta interface — so now the few
accounts I had set up and verified no longer work.

A good password scheme
requires frequent changes, but you cannot follow good password
protection with the new Yahoo! Mail Beta. There is something screwy
going on with how Yahoo! stores non-Yahoo! email account information on
their servers and it is severely broken.
You can get quick information on new mail messages with the mail
preview window. You can turn off the more detailed lower view if you
wish.

Yahoo Mail Beta

You
can create folders on-the-fly and drag messages into them and out of
them at will. You can also filter email messages and have them dumped
in the folder of your choice:

Yahoo Mail Beta

RSS feeds are a new feature found in Yahoo! Mail Beta and I didn’t have to set them up because Yahoo! Mail Beta grabbed all my My Yahoo!
RSS news feeds — without asking me first — and put them here in my
mail interface.

That means I now have duplicate RSS feeds on both My
Yahoo! and in my Yahoo! Mail Beta and that is a waste of my time and
Yahoo!’s space. I don’t mind reading my RSS feeds in Yahoo! Mail Beta
but then I want Yahoo! Mail Beta to delete the feeds in my My Yahoo!
view, too. Duplicating tasks makes no task easier or more enjoyable.

Yahoo Mail Beta

The
RSS feeds look good, but viewing the messages is painful because every
message in every feed gets made into one “long” message that you keep
scrolling to read and read in both full feed view or in individual feed
view:

Yahoo Mail Beta

You
can also email RSS posts — right click on the message you want to
check and choose “Forward” and you’re set — and that is a nice
feature.

Yahoo Mail Beta

If
it ever gets fixed, you can also check mail accounts other than those
on Yahoo! and filter them and manage the messages and send mail from
those accounts.

Yahoo Mail Beta

The
Calendar is still using the old technology. Contacts management is
powerful, but adding new contacts is an ugly black, grey and white
interface process. You can easily set up Distribution Lists.

Yahoo Mail Beta

Searching
mail is fast and robust. Searching all my email messages for “Mail Plus
Customer” returned the following and the search terms are highlighted
in green:

Yahoo Mail Beta

Yahoo!
Mail Beta has the potential to be an excellent online email system.
IMAP support must immediately be added to set it apart from Gmail and
MSN and other competitors. Yahoo! must also get the underlying broken
core fixed for third party accounts before finalizing the Yahoo! Mail
Beta.

Then Yahoo! Mail Beta can begin to take up the challenge of
dethroning Outlook as the multiple email account management champ.

83 Comments

  1. Okay —
    I posted my review an hour an 20 minutes ago and an hour and 10 minutes later I have an email from Yahoo! Mail Plus trying, once again, to figure out what is going wrong with their mail subsystem. There’s no such thing as a coincidence!
    Now they want me to re-prove my identity by providing my credit card number, my date of birth, my Zip Code, my Yahoo! ID (you think they’d have that since I used that account to email them) and the email address I am having trouble getting setup.
    Talk about hoop jumping!
    Every time I contact Yahoo! support they have some new triathlon of things they need me to perform before they can begin to fix the problem and, in the end, they never fix it.
    You can never speak directly to a support person, and they hot-potato you around the tech support room so no one there has any responsibility for dragging you down the wrong path — then, as happened again today — you get to start allllllll over again with re-stating your problem and re-proving you are who you are… it’s tiring.

  2. Okay —
    I posted my review an hour an 20 minutes ago and an hour and 10 minutes later I have an email from Yahoo! Mail Plus trying, once again, to figure out what is going wrong with their mail subsystem. There’s no such thing as a coincidence!
    Now they want me to re-prove my identity by providing my credit card number, my date of birth, my Zip Code, my Yahoo! ID (you think they’d have that since I used that account to email them) and the email address I am having trouble getting setup.
    Talk about hoop jumping!
    Every time I contact Yahoo! support they have some new triathlon of things they need me to perform before they can begin to fix the problem and, in the end, they never fix it.
    You can never speak directly to a support person, and they hot-potato you around the tech support room so no one there has any responsibility for dragging you down the wrong path — then, as happened again today — you get to start allllllll over again with re-stating your problem and re-proving you are who you are… it’s tiring.

  3. Okay —
    I posted my review an hour an 20 minutes ago and an hour and 10 minutes later I have an email from Yahoo! Mail Plus trying, once again, to figure out what is going wrong with their mail subsystem. There’s no such thing as a coincidence!
    Now they want me to re-prove my identity by providing my credit card number, my date of birth, my Zip Code, my Yahoo! ID (you think they’d have that since I used that account to email them) and the email address I am having trouble getting setup.
    Talk about hoop jumping!
    Every time I contact Yahoo! support they have some new triathlon of things they need me to perform before they can begin to fix the problem and, in the end, they never fix it.
    You can never speak directly to a support person, and they hot-potato you around the tech support room so no one there has any responsibility for dragging you down the wrong path — then, as happened again today — you get to start allllllll over again with re-stating your problem and re-proving you are who you are… it’s tiring.

  4. You make a good point, clem. I loved Eudora when she was young and bouncy. She has not aged well. I don’t like Hotmail. Gmail is just ugly and I prefer single folders to multiple labels. Horde is slow and hard to use. Runbox and Fastmail are good but clunky. Yahoo! could own the email world if they would just fix the simple things and provide better tech support for end users.

  5. You make a good point, clem. I loved Eudora when she was young and bouncy. She has not aged well. I don’t like Hotmail. Gmail is just ugly and I prefer single folders to multiple labels. Horde is slow and hard to use. Runbox and Fastmail are good but clunky. Yahoo! could own the email world if they would just fix the simple things and provide better tech support for end users.

  6. You make a good point, clem. I loved Eudora when she was young and bouncy. She has not aged well. I don’t like Hotmail. Gmail is just ugly and I prefer single folders to multiple labels. Horde is slow and hard to use. Runbox and Fastmail are good but clunky. Yahoo! could own the email world if they would just fix the simple things and provide better tech support for end users.

  7. After my Yahoo! debacle I checked my Gmail account and it doesn’t look like you can add third party access to Gmail, though you can pull your Gmail account into Yahoo or Outlook or any other POP3 method.
    You set up posting to a blog through email from WordPress:
    OPTIONS > WRITING > WRITING BY E-MAIL

  8. After my Yahoo! debacle I checked my Gmail account and it doesn’t look like you can add third party access to Gmail, though you can pull your Gmail account into Yahoo or Outlook or any other POP3 method.
    You set up posting to a blog through email from WordPress:
    OPTIONS > WRITING > WRITING BY E-MAIL

  9. Trust me I tried setting it up but it didn’t work and I’m sick of things not working. So I just try to post date posts for the next day so posts show up for the next morning so I don’t need to post when I get to work.

  10. It seems that Yahoo! Mail will be accessible via IMAP soon. Running a telnet returns :
    $ telnet imap.mail.yahoo.com 143
    Trying 206.190.53.56…
    Connected to imap.mail.yahoo.com.
    Escape character is ‘^]’.
    * OK IMAP4rev1 server ready (3.4.4)
    01 capability
    * CAPABILITY IMAP4rev1 LOGIN-REFERRALS AUTH=XYMCOOKIE AUTH=XYMCOOKIEB64
    01 OK CAPABILITY completed

  11. The Yahoo Mail Beta is very disappointing. I’ve been a Mail Plus user for years and was really looking forward to this upgrade. I’ve been using the Beta for about a week now and am completely underwhelmed.
    Here are my gripes:
    1. It’s not next-generation, it’s Outlook 2003 and I’m already bored with it.
    2. It displays RSS feeds in a very ugly format. They really need to take a hint from the Google Reader which has a great way of displaying RSS feeds, including audio content.
    3. No IMAP support, even for paying customers.
    4. It is incredibly slow!

  12. Junky Joe —
    I agree with you on all points! I was so looking forward to this as a “final solution” to my multiple email problems but Yahoo Mail Beta ain’t it!
    1. It is Outlook 2003. Let’s hold thumbs Outlook 12 (whatever) offers an online kind of IMAP manipulation that works.
    2. RSS is, indeedy-doody, ugly and unsophisticated! Not cutting edge. It is rather dull-edged-boring. The only way to innovate is to lead, not follow.
    3. Right! I pay a lot as a Yahoo! Plus customer and I want universal IMAP support. It is not available and, as I understand it, never will be.
    4. Yup! Slow as molasses in Antarctica! The interface has promise, but it certainly is not earth-shattering.

  13. Junky Joe —
    I agree with you on all points! I was so looking forward to this as a “final solution” to my multiple email problems but Yahoo Mail Beta ain’t it!
    1. It is Outlook 2003. Let’s hold thumbs Outlook 12 (whatever) offers an online kind of IMAP manipulation that works.
    2. RSS is, indeedy-doody, ugly and unsophisticated! Not cutting edge. It is rather dull-edged-boring. The only way to innovate is to lead, not follow.
    3. Right! I pay a lot as a Yahoo! Plus customer and I want universal IMAP support. It is not available and, as I understand it, never will be.
    4. Yup! Slow as molasses in Antarctica! The interface has promise, but it certainly is not earth-shattering.

  14. I think Google will come out with something much more improved and revolutionary. I signed up for the Yahoo Mail beta a long time ago, but still have not got invited. Personally, I don’t like anything Yahoo produces, because somehow everything gets clouded with advertisements, and eventually costs you money to use.

  15. Hi Rob!
    I sure hope Google steps up again and knocks the mail work askew!
    Are you hearing any rumors on what might be in Google’s plans next?
    I agree installing Yahoo! stuff only means trouble. I installed the Yahoo! Messenger stuff on my laptop and it was just a total piece of junque. Yahoo! support is putrid and I’m a paying customer!

  16. Hi!
    I just found this site as I was searching Google to see if anyone else was having problems with Yahoo Mail Beta, or if it was just me. Clearly I’m not alone 🙂
    I actually like the idea of the new system very much. In the same way I liked the idea of Yahoo Intellisync to sync Outlook with my online calendar, and vice versa. I originally started using it as a means to sync up my laptop and desktop Outlook calendars, which worked ok for a while… sorry I’m digressing here but there is a point at the end of it…
    Basically, Yahoo have some great ideas but their software is just buggy as hell:
    – If I don’t sync up my calendars for a few days then Intellisync goes nuts and just can’t cope with it, the end result is that BOTH my calendars are screwed.
    – Yes, Yahoo Mail Beta crashes Firefox 90% of the time. IE fares only a bit better, it crashes 25% of the time.
    – Switch on the Javascript debugger in Firefox. Then go to ANY Yahoo page, and count the errors.
    I think all their software needs some serious overhauling, but they seem to have got themselves in such a mess they may never get it right now. I can only assume it’s down to poor software design.
    Sorry for the long first post, I just had to get it all off my chest! 🙂

  17. Thanks for the post, wicksy!
    I agree Yahoo! have a lot of great ideas but they are lacking in execution. Perhaps they should have agreed to the Microsoft buyout offer of $80 billion USD to get out while the gettin’ was good.

  18. The Yahoo Beta progenitor, OddPost.com, has been a steady, sturdy, no frills web email program for years. Not blazingly fast, but easier on the end user than others. Their early adoption of AJAX led to a very clean interface. For those of us who do not need IMAP or RSS or Calendars, it was a great solution. Yahoo really needs to offer the end user a light version with just the basics. Then they can charge for a bells and whistle version.

  19. I agree – It crashes any explorer like magic – Try using stationary about 2-3 times – It crahes – All browsers beautifully – Be it IE – Firefox – Mozillla – Safari- on Any platform – Linux/Mac/Windows.

  20. One more point here – MOST important of all – which makes me switch to Gmail – is https – ie secure conenction – thats the future of all emails. I myself have spoofed and hacked a couple of yahoo email accounts – its cakewalk.
    And as if that was not enough – yahoo takes ages to respond – Wanna give it a try ?
    In my case – It took yahoo a week to resolve my problem.
    In all its likeliness – I am gonna to end my subscription coming may-2006 – No more yahoo for me.
    I am a happy camper with gmail. I feel my money wasted with those crazy things – These subscriber addons are trivial as compared to Hotmail n gmail.
    In future – I see yahoo being eliminated – Hotmail is working on betas which give you email composer similar to ms word. Moreover – look and feel is similar to outlook express. Search engine market is already being dominated by google.
    Email markets will be shared by gmail and hotmail – with no space for yahoo.

  21. ditto on Yahoo !!
    my old password after 4 years has somehow been changed. problem is yahoo wants my frigging ZIP code when I signed up on that account. I don’t remember it saying “REMEMBER YOUR ZIP CODE” I do remember my mother’s maiden name and pet name, who the fu– set the security idea of the “zip code” to access our account.???? Pretty lame !!!!if my bank was to do that I would be FU– penniless and very p*ssed off!! Gee wait… is it true that on our 360 it has the birthdate and ZIP code and other stuff all over the front page?!! All the stuff that is so PUBLIC already!!So I guess I can go on anybody’s yahoo profile and then call and change YOUR PASSWORD.
    [Edited by David W. Boles for content.]

  22. I just started using the beta email program. I don’t know how wide the offer is but for me it was part of my att/sbc package. I moved some data around (big amounts– deleted) and now I can’t get into my account. for the past 6 hours now. Arghh…!

  23. Nice review. I was excited about it till I tried it, and the biggest problem is that it is simply TOO slow. After using it for a week, I gave up and went back the old version. A feature that I like there is being able to check off multiple messages and deleting or moving them as a group.

  24. Nice review. I was excited about it till I tried it, and the biggest problem is that it is simply TOO slow. After using it for a week, I gave up and went back the old version. A feature that I like there is being able to check off multiple messages and deleting or moving them as a group.

  25. Hi – have received a few eMails with large .jpg photos attached.
    a)photos open so large that I need to scroll to see all areas and
    b) I cannot save the photo as it opened in the text-body of Yahoo and not in a separate application.
    c) frequently I get error messages “An unexpected problem has occurred…..debug info http status code 12002… Not sure if this is a Yahoo or IE problem.
    I like the sort functions similar to Outlook but Yahoo beta is a long way off the final release.
    Regards, Willi

  26. Hi – have received a few eMails with large .jpg photos attached.
    a)photos open so large that I need to scroll to see all areas and
    b) I cannot save the photo as it opened in the text-body of Yahoo and not in a separate application.
    c) frequently I get error messages “An unexpected problem has occurred…..debug info http status code 12002… Not sure if this is a Yahoo or IE problem.
    I like the sort functions similar to Outlook but Yahoo beta is a long way off the final release.
    Regards, Willi

  27. I too am NOT pleased with it. I have the same problem as Robert, except I can’t access it at home. I can access on two different computers at work, but not at home. I’ve even tried using two different browsers! Give me back the old stuff!

  28. Please cancel my yahoo mail beta. I can’t get into my mail or address area. had problems since converted to Beta.
    Let me have my previous yahoo mail as usual. Thanks

  29. Please cancel my yahoo mail beta. I can’t get into my mail or address area. had problems since converted to Beta.
    Let me have my previous yahoo mail as usual. Thanks

  30. looks good? yes but it’s too darn slow! it’s good i only tried it with my 2nd yahoo account. i was about to try it with my main account- whew! what a relief! thank god for this blog!
    by the way i just checked my mailcity (now lycos) account after being dormant for 2 years at least – and it’ still active! of course all my emails have been wiped out but my account still lives! to top it all off, i now have 3Gb for my inbox (5Gb for plus) with 20Mb max attachment. that is just much better than my yahoo account!

  31. So I bit and installed the nightmare Yahoo!Beta mail. Now get error message “object not found”. Can’t get my e-mails the old way because you need to get in mail to change mail. Yahoo customer service is operated by true Yahoos! Don’t know what to do….any kind souls that can help? Vic