Yahoo!’s email “snoop” hits the headlines


Yahoo! made the news after it emerged the Mail channel has rolled out an email scanning program similar to that already in use by Google, reports.

In a bid to make targeted ads more relevant, Yahoo! Mail is going down the controversial but increasingly-popular route of email scanning. This involves using a program that scans incoming messages in order to ascertain key words or phrases that should give an indication of a user’s hobbies or interests.

Whilst the actual messages themselves are not ‘read’ and analysed, the feature has long been viewed as rather suspicious by email users who often accuse it if snooping on private conversations.

Until recently, Yahoo! was thought to have held off rolling out such a feature, even though one of its closest rivals – Gmail – has done so for quite some time already. In fact, however, this clause has been included in Yahoo! Mail’s terms and conditions since back in 2011, with it only know becoming common knowledge.

One such option Yahoo! Mail is giving users who don’t want their emails scanned is to close their accounts altogether, which could be of concern to brands using email marketers, if suddenly their contact becomes invalid. Such extremes are unlikely, however, as Yahoo! Mail users dead against such scanning would find their chances of a new email provider limited.

Commenting on the furore, Yahoo! spokesperson DJ Anderson told

“This is not about a new policy.

“We believe having personalised experiences benefits the user. If the user doesn’t want to have contextual-based or internet-based advertising, they can opt out of that through our ad interest manager.”