Feb 17 2014

Over Protective Yahoo! Causes Trouble

Trouble with Yahoo!

In the last few months my customers may have experienced trouble emailing someone with a Yahoo! email address. In fact it probably was not delivered and Yahoo! returned a nasty message informing you that messages from your IP have been permanently deferred amongst a bunch of other technical gibberish. Loosely translated this yahoo_mail2means our server has been blacklisted by Yahoo! and there is nothing they want to do about it because they belive we (all websites on my server) are all spammers.

The How and Why

Our sites share a common IP address so when one site gets blacklisted we all do. Normally an email sender might be identified by Yahoo! or any email server as a spammer when many emails are sent out like in the hundreds or thousands. The offending website sent out a few more than usual in a petition but the total signers of the petition was under 200 after several months so this hardly seems like enough emails to trigger a spam alert so I believe the problem was the way they were sent which I have corrected. Yahoo! and one or two other email servers that consider email sent by this special means to be spam started blocking the petition verification emails but because they use our shared IP as the identifier we all get blacklisted.
We have protection on our WordPress sites as well so malicious log in attempts are thwarted but most blacklisted attempts are released after a certain amount of time. A few really malicious attempts are blacklisted forever and this is the rating we have with Yahoo!, really malicious, because we are locked out forever. No, the 100+ emails sent by a non-profit organization should not qualify us all as really malicious but this is the way Yahoo! has set up their server to protect their email clients. You’ve heard of overprotective parents? That would be Yahoo!. Picture the Toyota commercial with the grade school kid being carried in the front baby carrier by his mother in a dealer’s show room.

What Customer Service?

One would think a large corporation like Yahoo would have a Customer Service Department. If they do their policy is to prevent any phone calls or emails from their customers and supply long lists of FAQ. I did actually find our situation listed and filled out a request form to have our IP released from their blacklist but with no results or reply. So I filled it out again some weeks later still with no response or results. Currently I am working with our server to see what can be done about the problem on our end as there seems to be no dealing with Yahoo!.


There are some workarounds. When writing to a Yahoo! address, send it from an email address that is not on our server which means you can’t use your custom email address that uses your domain name. In most cases this means using your personal email address but I know some people have a professional account set up with their ISP, Gmail or the like. If you don’t have such an address, most are free to set up. Oh and Yahoo! to Yahoo! should work but if you have a Yahoo! account you have to wonder how much important mail actually gets through to you! The Yahoo! account I have set up for test purposes has lots of spam such as ads for Viagra and nothing in the inbox. I am left to conclude that Yahoo’s efforts to protect it’s customers is not working.