Warning: The true cost of Yahoo! recycling email addresses

Recycled email addresses and what you need to do about it.

Yahoo! like most established email providers have long had the problem of what to with old email addresses that have long been forgotten, but never closed. The difference is that they are doing something about it which will have a significant impact on how we hold sand use addresses in the future.

Effectively Yahoo! have taken the decision to start recycling old email addresses with effect from August 15 2013. This is going to have 2 key impacts on you as a digital marketer…


You could become a spammer simply by contacting an email address that you already have an opt in for. ICO guidelines treat an email address as an individual in their own right which works well if only one person ever owns that address, but unravels when they are passed on. Best practice has always said that you should gradually strip out old and unresponsive addresses from your list to protect your deliverability, but now it could become a legal matter.


This could compromise the security of your user’s accounts. For many of us, an email address doubles as our username and even if it doesn’t, we need one to send password resets to. Now we will have no guarantee that the person we are sending a new password to is the same person that set the account up in the first place.

What do you need to do?

Whilst it isn’t clear yet exactly how the ICO are going to interpret these changes, it is clear that we need to act now. Somehow you need to identify which Yahoo! email addresses are active and which are not. Whilst there is no exact way to do this, here is what I’d suggest:

  1. Create a list of all Yahoo! addresses who have not opened or clicked on one of your campaigns in the last year. You can do this using the List segments function in your TailorMail account.
  2. Create a simple email with the purpose of encouraging the user to interact with the email in some way. You can make it a sales style email if you want to, but I’d recommend a more admin styled approach even if you are still driving people to your site in the end. Often it pays just to be honest about why you r sending the email.
  3. Make sure the subject line is clear and strong. Remember that these addresses haven’t opened one of your emails in a year at least, so they’ll need to a good reason to open this one.
  4. Send the email out before August 12 to ensure that there is enough time to get the full response before the deadline of August 15
  5. Retire any addresses that do not at least open your email from your list. This might seem extreme, but bear in mind that these people are not engaging with you anyway and are probably negatively impacting your sender reputation.
How to create an effective test in 5 minutes

How to build an effective test (in 5 minutes)

Everyone knows they should be doing it, so why do so few brands regularly run tests in their email marketing. It is usually down to one of the following…

‘I don’t know where to start’
‘I don’t know what to test’
‘It just takes too long’

Whilst it’s true that some brands have whole departments who do nothing more than manage testing programmes, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a number or really simple tests that you can run quickly and simply and they can have a truly dramatic effect!

Here are 5 top tests that you can run today, and the best thing is that they will only take you a matter of minutes to set up…

1.) Personalise your subject line

Adding a persons name to your subject line can have a significant impact on your open rates. Try running a personalised message in your subject line like “Tom, check out these great shows today”

2.) Add symbols to your subject line

Try adding a special character your subject line by simply pasting it into TailorMail. You can find a list some useful characters here The more relevant the symbol is, the more likely it will be to work e.g. “☼ Looking for a sun break? Check out these latest deals”

3.) Test a different call to action

Even small changes to your call to action can have a big impact. Try adding one to the top of your email, or making it bold. You can also use buttons to make it more visible. For more information on building a call to action, check out this post

4.) Use a different lead image

A picture is worth a thousand words (sometimes). Test using different images in your email, it is easy to swap them in and out and they can have a big impact on what people think and do about your email.

5.) Change your offer

How you present an offer, and even which offer you choose to focus on will have a big impact on whether people think it is worth going for or not. Try using a specific end date or pricing structure e.g. “cover from £4.99 a month” vs “cover from under £60 a year”.

Now that you have some killer test ideas, the next question is how to build them into your email. The answer is – like this…

1.) Create a new email and select the ‘A/B split campaign’ tab.

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” align=”center” alt=”A/B Testing in TailorMail” title=”A/B Testing in TailorMail”][/image_frame]

2.) Select the type of test you want to run…

3.) Name your campaign and then depending on the type of test you have chosen, you will need to…

Choose the subject lines you want to use OR

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” align=”center” alt=”Subject line test” title=”Subject line test”][/image_frame]

Choose the sender names OR

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” align=”center” alt=”sender name test” title=”sender name test”][/image_frame]

If you have chosen a content test complete this screen as normal by naming the campaign and setting up the sender name then continue.

4.) Set the template and add your email copy as normal and then select the list you want to use and click on ‘Define A/B split’. If you are running a content test, you will need to do this twice, once for each segment.

5.) TailorMail will send a section of your list out to the test and control segments and determine which one is the most effective before sending the winner to the rest of the list. You’ll need to decide three things.

Firstly, how many people should receive the initial test, for smaller campaigns (under 300), I’d recommend using the full 25% to each. You can do this by using the slider.

Next you should choose what criteria you want to use for the test. Think about what the test is trying to achieve for this e.g. a subject line test will have the most impact on open rates.

Thirdly, How long do you want to let the test run before a winner is chosen. A default of 6 hours is selected, but you may want to leave it longer e.g. if you are releasing your email late in the day where many people won’t open it till the next day.

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” align=”center” alt=”Setting your segments” title=”Setting your segments” height=”190″ width=”400″][/image_frame]

6.) Finally, check the summary page to make sure that everything is as you expected it to before moving on to send your test emails and approving the campaign as normal.

To get the most out of testing, try to only change one thing between your emails, so you know what made the difference and then use that element again next time to build a really effective mailing programme over time.

Happy testing!


Getting started

Congratulations, you are only a few short steps away from sending your first emails. This guide will give you all the information you need, but please feel free to get in touch with us in the mean time if you have any queries and watch out for our updates on the latest new features and trends for TailorMail.

Step 1: Setting up your account

When you join TailorMail, we will send you an email inviting you to confirm your login details and set up your password. Once you have done this you will be taken through to your account homepage where you can create new lists, send campaigns and manage your account details.

In future you can access the site by clicking on my account on the home page of and entering you account name and password.

My Account

On your homepage you will see a number of options. The first thing to do is to confirm your account payment details by clicking on the billing tab in the top right hand corner of the screen and then selecting the option to update your payment details. If you are using the free trial, you do not need to provide these, but you will not be able to send out your first campaign until you have done so.

Step 2: Loading your mailing list

Before you can send an email you will need to load a list of people to send them to. On the homepage, you will see a button asking you to import your subscribers, alternatively you can select the tab at the top of the screen entitled ‘Lists and Subscribers’.

Lists in TailorMail

The platform will take you through the process step by step. You can load your list in several ways, but probably the easiest way is to drag your Excel or .CSV file onto the screen when asked to do so. Please do take time to check that your addresses meet the requirements for TailorMail – you will be asked to confirm this before you can actually load the list. Check out our FAQ’s for a better understanding of why we don’t allow third party lists.

Much of the value of email is, the ability to personalise your campaigns, so make sure you load any relevant information you have for your lists e.g. full names, birthdays or last purchase date.

Step 3: Design your email

This is the fun bit. Depending on your account, you may already have pre-designed templates to select from, but if you have chosen to load or design your own templates, then you will need to got to the templates tab at the top right of the screen to set up a template.

Once you have done this or, if you are using a bespoke template, you will be able to enter the content for your email. On the account home page, click on ‘Create & Send’ and then on ‘Get started’ to create your first email.

New Campaign

Choose a name for your email, a subject line and who you want the email to appear from i.e. the sender name and click on ‘Next’. Now you can select the template to use. Once you have selected a template, you can use the simple editor to enter your email content including pictures, links and styling. Click preview to see what your email will look like when you send it.

Step 4: Send your email

All that’s left to do is assign the list that you have created to this email, so that TailorMail knows who you want to send the email to. Click on ‘Define recipients’ and select your list from the options. If you would like to send a test email to up to 5 people before you send the final campaign, just click on ‘Test and define delivery’ and enter the addresses here, alternatively you can skip this step and go straight to sending the email by skipping past this screen and going straight to the send screen and selecting a time to send the email out.

All done! You have finished your first email.

What next?

Even a basic email like the one you have just created can be very effective, but there is a lot more you can do to make your emails more effective, targeted and automated. To find out more, keep an eye on our blog, or get in touch for some simple ideas that would work for your business.

Happy emailing!


Post Formats is a theme feature introduced with Version 3.1. Post Formats can be used by a theme to customize its presentation of a post.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus – more on Post Formats