Yahoo - Common Sense Innovation

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It seems the whole world has been watching Marissa Mayer shake up a company that some say “isn’t innovative anymore.” From snagging a 17-year-old’s mobile app for $30mm to the critically acclaimed $1.1b Tumblr acquisition, Yahoo is pulling out all the stops to ensure a new stint of growth in their business development lifecycle.

The efficacy of this aggressive strategy is evidenced by the steadily rising Yahoo market cap since Mayer’s onboarding July 16, 2012.

Yahoo's Rising Market Cap

But we want to talk about is their latest move:

The ultimate database wipe of unused Yahoo mail accounts.

From the official press release:

“We’re freeing up IDs, that have been inactive for at least 12 months, by resetting them and giving them a fresh start. In mid July, anyone can have a shot at scoring the Yahoo! ID they want.” -Jay Rossiter, SVP, Platform

Naysayers call it destructive; we think it's futuristic.

Email has been around since 1993. Yahoo was a pioneer in the space offering their first web-based platform in 1997. While Hotmail started privately in 1996, it was ultimately acquired by Microsoft and relaunched in 1998 after a slew of changes. Google finally caught up in 2004 and hundreds of ISP’s have followed suit ever since -- all looking for their piece of the proverbial pie.

Suffice it to say, the same forward-thinking leadership model we witnessed in 1997 is now back in black. Rather, purple. So call it a bold move, but this just makes sense.

By wiping unused usernames from the master database, Yahoo is effectively both a) rewarding loyal users and b) attracting hordes of new ones who couldn’t previously snag the domain they wanted. And we think this is the coolest email provider win-win of all time.

With any luck, Yahoo will pull off one of the most inherently difficult marketing feats ever -- breath fresh air into an old product. And the best part? They’re doing it with none other than common sense.

It makes sense to wipe accounts. It makes sense to free up storage and throw out garbage. It makes sense to target resources towards those who will take advantage of them. All the UI changes, alias spinoffs, and Yahoo Groups updates in the world make only a fraction of the difference that this campaign could accomplish, and it’s going to be fun to watch.

We’re rooting for Yahoo Mail. We’re rooting for common sense marketing. And sidebar-- how cool is it that Yahoo’s press releases are now pushed to Tumblr?

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