Yahoo mail outage draws lots of fire

Yahoo may have earned a serious black eye this week, after a lengthy email outage managed to enrage many users and draw criticism for a seemingly inattentive response.

The company says the service is mostly restored, as of late Wednesday night. That didn’t sit well with those who pointed out that the outage started Monday. Yahoo senior vice president Jeffrey Bonforte blamed hardware problems, which the company said affected only a “small percentage” of users. But those users were mad.

As one user posted on Yahoo’s customer service Facebook page: “This is ridicules – we have experienced so many issues in the past 48 hours, unable to log on to mail, locked account – it says contact support, try calling and after waiting over 30 minutes you get disconnected – this has happened multiple times – ???????”

Some users who pay for Yahoo’s premium mail service were also angry, saying the outage was interfering with important business communications.

It’s not unusual for online services to suffer occasional outages, of course. But some critics focused on Yahoo’s response, saying the company slow to share information. Influential tech blogger Kara Swisher, who’s often critical of Yahoo management, summed up the situation with this headline on the All Things D website:  “Yahoo Mail Is a Consumer Disaster, but Company’s Response Is Even Worse”

Yahoo seemed to be getting the message by Wednesday afternoon, when it began posting updates online and even CEO Marissa Mayer used her Twitter account to reassure users:

But Yahoo acknowledged further problems on its help blog Wednesday night:

“For some of you, emails between 11/25 and 12/9 may not be showing up in your Inbox — we’re still working on bringing all accounts up to date.”

The company said later that it expects all mail to be delivered by Thursday afternoon. Some Yahoo mail users were reporting their accounts were still unreachable, or mail was missing, on Thursday morning.

Brandon Bailey Brandon Bailey (341 Posts)

Brandon Bailey covers Google, Facebook and Yahoo for the San Jose Mercury News, reporting on the business and culture of the Internet.