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Skeptical Timing: Yahoo Email Forwarding “Under Development”

Update: Michael Albers, VP of product management for Yahoo Mail, addressed this issue in a blog post on Oct. 14. He noted that the auto-forward feature has now been re-enabled for all Mail users. He added that the feature was disabled as part of a process to upgrade the platform.

Yahoo account users wanting to forward their emails to a different account service aren’t going to be pleased for this news.

Starting this month, Yahoo has disabled its email forwarding feature which allows for incoming emails to be automatically directed to another account. Speculations around reasoning swells due to user retention after the largest data breach in U.S. history.

Back in September, the Yahoo data breach affected more than 500 million accounts. As a result, many users have taken measures by moving their Yahoo accounts to another platform such as Gmail, Outlook, etc. By doing this, they’ve tried to use the email forwarding feature.

According to the Associated Press, at the beginning of this October, Yahoo disabled the feature, canceling users ability to forward their emails. Yahoo customers concerned after the breach started trying to add the feature and were unable to do so.

Some experts say it’s a transparent move, while others call it nasty and childish.

Yahoo refused to comment, but rather directed inquiries to a post posted on its Help Site:

This feature is under development. While we work to improve it, we’ve temporarily disabled the ability to turn on Mail Forwarding for new forwarding addresses. If you’ve already enabled Mail Forwarding in the past, your email will continue to forward to the address you previously configured.

That’s lucky for those users who started the forwarding feature in September, but those who decided to add it in October are out of luck.

While glitches and updates are common, the forwarding feature is one that many say seem to basic for it to be “under development” or even “improved.” Thus, the speculation that Yahoo is just creating an obstacle to prevent users from running off to another email service.

And, that timing does strangely coincide with the looming Verizon purchase, which is looking a little unsteady after Verizon has requested a coupon of $1 billion off the deal. It’s doesn’t help that Yahoo is being sued for $500 million due to the breach. 

As for those users who may feel stuck with Yahoo, some say there are ways to somewhat adjust to Yahoo’s forwarding obstacle debacle: put up an automatic “out of office” or “on vacation” response with another email address listed, or manually forward important emails and then just disband the Yahoo account all together.

That disbanding concept has been something many users have been doing for quite some time. Over the summer, Yahoo released the number of users active on a monthly basis: 250 million. That number is at a low from where it once was.

Regardless, breach or no breach, this anti-forwarding action is not gathering trust for the brand. That goes for current users, and those questioning if they should sign up.

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