back to article BT! dumps! Yahoo! after! 10! long! years! together!

BT is ditching Yahoo! after 10 years to take up with US firm Critical Path, which will supply email services on the new BT.com. The telco said it was switching its broadband customers over to the new BT Mail service as part of the relaunch of BT.com, breaking up with Yahoo! and axing the BT Yahoo! portal at the same time. BT …

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  1. Ian Yates

    Brilliant...

    This better be a super smooth transition. A few of the silver surfers I look after are on BT Yahoo! and have a tendency to only mention that their email hasn't worked for X months when I visit.

    Hopefully they'll be able to sensibly transition the IMAP/SMTP details so I don't have to reconfigure everything (that's what DNS and MX records are for, right?).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brilliant...

      MX records are already transitioned for most/all BT residential domains. While I am not fully aware of all the details of the migration, I strongly suspect that the hostnames end users have in their clients won't change. Having worked with BT in the past (which is why I'm AC) their product management people are strongly opposed to customers having to do anything different as a result of infrastructure changes.

      Having done a lot more e-mail migrations than I care to remember the biggest problems aren't on the technical side at all - DNS changes are trivial and POP, IMAP and SMTP are (mostly) standardised by this point (although IMAP namespaces can present challenges, thanks Crispin). It's on the end user side, especially with older customers. They tend to have an aversion to change as they're maybe not the most technically minded and when they get presented with a new web interface they panic and don't know what to do.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brilliant...

      Have you ever had anything to do with Critical Path ?

      Cannot imagine it could be much worse than Yahoo for the users but depending on how they are doing it it might be very very annoying for somebody.

      Might have been the interoperability between Critical Path and sendmail that left much to be desired.

      (And getting it to look as if nothing had changed).

      Maybe BT won't bother with anything like that.

      Still don't understand why these huge ISP's outsource mail (Unless they are getting a profit from it). Cannot imagine Google pays Virgin to use gmail. It is not that difficult running mail for a few people.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Brilliant...

        "Still don't understand why these huge ISP's outsource mail (Unless they are getting a profit from it). Cannot imagine Google pays Virgin to use gmail. It is not that difficult running mail for a few people."

        Because typically the outsourcing is free in exchange for pushing adverts in people's faces.

        We'v e had this happen at $orkplace. A perfectly functional system which was a tad overstretched ad needed some TLC was replaced (on orders from high) with MS Outlook (Soon to be Office365) because it was "free"

        So far that changeover has cost £3 million and taken 2+ years - and support loads have gone up by a factor of at least 10, so the IT folks (including me) are not happy.

        The "on high" who ordered the changeover has buggered off to greener pastures.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Brilliant...

          This is because BT Retail consumer do not historically operate their own network infrastructure. They run from the exchange to Radius server over BT Wholesale and pending auth checks at this point, these customers are dumped out onto the Main BT IP Network and allowed to jet off and do their own thing, as opposed to being tunnelled over to owning CPs network where there is normally a CP radius, Mail/News servers and DNS etc. So everything offered on top of bog standard web access has always been a service on top for retail consumer (not business though, this has a 'normal' set-up).

    3. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Brilliant...

      Yes!

      Hopefully this will actually cause an improvement both in the readability (less really problematic clutter!) and useability (actual menus missing and not matching the help/instruction pages) a lot.

      In the mean time, if anyone knows where the "delete email account" button has gone as the "manage email accounts" button also seems missing, I'd be very thankful. :(

  2. Mike Brown

    good

    Hopefully this means my dad will finally get rid of the silly Yahoo!/BT task bar thing he has had for years.

    1. Gordon Pryra

      Re: good

      Na- that malware requires fdisk and a screwdriver through the hard-drive to clear

  3. Moyra J. Bligh
    Thumb Up

    Gives me hope that Rogers in Canada will follow suit. Yahoo! (spit) email buggy, bloated and ugly.

    1. gautam

      Terrible

      And extremely slow !

      I now receive more spam than ever before, wonder why. Maybe Ms. Mayer, having the Google DNA has decided to advert/spam everything she touches. Yahoo users are in for a torrid time.

      1. thesykes

        Re: Terrible

        Google does not mean spam.

        I have both Gmail and Yahoo mail. I get no spam in my Gmail and tons of it on Yahoo, always have. Strangely, the Yahoo account isn't used and the Gmail one is and lots of companies have it.

  4. Andrew Jones 2
    Thumb Down

    I recently had to sort out an email problem for a friend of a friend where they could not send or receive emails. I verified all their settings were correct and then attempted to login to BTYahoo. That all worked without a problem, I then spent a good 10 minutes trying to find the POP/SMTP settings to use to verify they matched with Outlook. I managed to get POP downloading but SMTP kept erroring saying it could not contact the server. After several more minutes Googling I found a page on BT to "automatically configure" the settings for Outlook. Needless to say it did not fix anything - eventually after more Googling of the hexadecimal error message I came across a forum post dated 2010 that said someone had changed the SMTP port number from 25 to 587 so I thought I'd give that a try and it worked, instantly. If it wanted to use port 587 instead of 25 then I would expect the BT help pages to mention this and their automatic configuration tool to have done this for me - but clearly much is amiss in the BT world.

    Finally - they have been pestered with emails about "upgrading" to the new Mail interface (which it seems they already have) with warnings about loss of email if they don't upgrade - I hope for their sake that they don't have to follow any more steps to transition to whatever new service BT are going to be using - but somehow I just can't manage to find the faith that BT will not royally screw this one up.

    1. Elmer Phud

      "Finally - they have been pestered with emails about "upgrading" to the new Mail interface (which it seems they already have) with warnings about loss of email if they don't upgrade - I hope for their sake that they don't have to follow any more steps to transition to whatever new service BT are going to be using - but somehow I just can't manage to find the faith that BT will not royally screw this one up."

      I've been wondering about that.

      What is this new interface they are on about?

      Is it the rearranging of the web-mail page? -- world+dog seem to be using the same sort of look.

      I've still got a Talk21 account -- been waiting for ages for that to go.

      I have been out to sort out 'missing contacts from Internet Explorer' -- they use IE on XP (unsupported) for getting to Hotmail. It took a while to explain that along with not having to change their mail address from Hotmail, all the contacts were still there but not quite where they were before.

      (no, they are the same age as me)

      1. Steve 114

        T&C

        A close reading of the small print suggests it's just a ruse to get new consent for them to read your e-mails so that abuses can be identified.

    2. fatbstrd

      BT Connect still accepts connections on port 25 and they supply port 587 as a fallback just in case the ISP you are using has blocked port 25.

      Many ISPs block port 25 in an attempt to thwart home users using SMTP to send spam. I suspect this might have been the problem you were experiencing - I've run into it many times.

      If it's not in their help pages it should be though.

  5. Ottman001
    Meh

    My experience of the BT Yahoo site has been confined to situations where I begrudgingly have to help hopeless relatives and in-laws. You know the types, they still insist on using Internet Explorer and have installed every unnecessary tool bar they can find just to make it even more frustrating. They get annoyed if you install a better browser because they'll decide that something different is 'broken'.

    "We want to give customers a website where everything is in one place"

    My sample group can't find what they're looking for on the current BT Yahoo site because there is too much on screen. I accept my sample set of BT Yahoo users may not be representative but I think they're missing the problem.

    1. An0n C0w4rd

      People frequently complain that the Y! home page isn't as clean as Google or Duck Duck Go (or countless other sites, including other media/news sites). People who work at Y! are also frustrated (or at least the ones I know are) and there *is* a stripped down search interface that few people know about at http://search.yahoo.com

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Elmer Phud

      "My experience of the BT Yahoo site has been confined to situations where I begrudgingly have to help hopeless relatives and in-laws. You know the types, they still insist on using Internet Explorer and have installed every unnecessary tool bar they can find just to make it even more frustrating. They get annoyed if you install a better browser because they'll decide that something different is 'broken'."

      And to think that's pretty much what I've just posted -- though I've remembered that they also 'have' to use Chrome to use Gmail .

      I realise now why they find Firefox confusing -- it isn't 'Email'.

    3. LinkOfHyrule
      Thumb Up

      re "hopeless relatives and in-laws"

      It's always the in-laws with BT-Yahoo! It's as if the marketing people at BT sat down and said "we will target the clueless in-laws sector of the market" which probably aint far from the truth really!

      Give the in laws some credit though - mine have just started using Chrome off their own backs! They're learning! Plus there's only so much shit you can take from IE before you start to act! haha

  6. Steve James 1

    Lets hope BT keep the legacy email address such as .btopenworld.com that I've been using for years.

    And also my pro Flickr (or what's left of Pro after Flickrs upgrade) will that remain or will I need to pay to Flickr now to stop the ads?

    1. Elmer Phud

      Talk21 is still there.

      openworld and btinternet point to the same acccount

  7. wowfood

    So as well as spending large amounts of money to bring in relatively profitless companies under the Yahoo name, they're also losing areas of their income from business, which will no doubt increase since this kind of thing is normally a rolling rock situation.

    Place your bets on who's buying Yahoo!, facebook, microsoft or google.

  8. HereWeGoAgain

    !!!!!!

    Please stop adding ! after every word in the headline when the article is something to do with Yahoo! It was funny once, about 100 years ago. Now it is just annoying.

    1. Craig 2 Silver badge

      Re: !!!!!!

      Please stop moaning about the added ! after every word in the headline when the article is something to do with Yahoo! It was funny once, about 100 years ago. Now it is just annoying.

    2. Richie Hindle
      Trollface

      Re: !!!!!!

      If! it! bothers! you! then! you! are! reading! the! wrong! web! site!

      1. Elmer Phud
        Headmaster

        Re: !!!!!!

        I! know! Yahoo!! is! old! but! not! 100! years! old!!!!

        ffs!!!!

        1. LinkOfHyrule
          Paris Hilton

          Re: !!!!!!

          I remember my first day reading el Reg years ago - "oh thats weird putting loads of !s in that headline" I think to myself

          Few weeks later "oh look more of those weird !s wtf" I think...

          A year later "hang about, is it me or do these weird !s only turn up in headlines about yahoo!?"

          You get used to it mate! Give it time!

          Paris, because she's another Register institution we couldn't live without!

    3. Jan 0

      Re: !!!!!!

      I like the occasional reminder that we no longer need to use 'bang' email addresses.

      1. Ed_UK

        Re: !!!!!!

        "I like the occasional reminder that we no longer need to use 'bang' email addresses."

        I quite miss them. They were the common syntax when I started using email for work. Was there a time when both "!" and "@" versions were acceptable formats? Thunderbird won't accept "!" now though.

  9. Don Jefe
    Happy

    Bundling

    This puts the wonky notion of service bundling mentioned in that article the other day into perspective. Business partnerships are fluid and in the long term rarely benefit the consumer.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/28/google_and_tax/

  10. Keith 72

    I did get sucked into their disposable email address thing though. I have hundreds of email addresses - pretty much one for each website I use. Total waste of time though as it does turn out that you don't get spam from the legitimate companies that use your email address.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      I disagree, only the other month I was able to identify and call-out a company that had managed to acquire an address which I only gave out to one company.

      Turns out, this company director used to work for the company who I'd given the email to. Cue one threatening email (knowing the DPA inside out sometimes comes in handy) and several extremely prompt replies from them, and they backed down (and lost an AWFUL lot of potential custom just by doing something extremely stupid like pinching their former employer's email database).

      But, to be honest, that's nothing to do with Yahoo so much as having your own domain, a catch-all email account and the brains to put different email addresses into every website and keep a record of what one you used with who. If you want throwaway email addresses, just buy a domain for a few quid a year - you can use it for EVERYTHING, it doesn't matter what ISP you use or whether they change over to Yahoo, you can have all mail forwarded to any account you like (so if you WANT to use GMail, etc.), and you can do useful things like sticking a website on it, giving friends and family a free, extra email (e.g. fred@yourdomain.com which just forwards to their email or gives them an IMAP account).

      The amount of spam I get is close to zero. Hell, I get THOUSANDS of attempts, but the number that actually pass through is next to zero. Basically, because you have to know what addresses I'm currently using and only the places with valid emails that I've written have that. And when I spot spam, I complain to the only company that was ever given that address and, if necessary, block it. You only really get spam when your addresses are PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE, like putting them on websites, in CV's, etc. or when someone at a company decides to steal/sell the email database. The latter is surprisingly common, I've found, and the former are easily avoided.

  11. Still Water
    Thumb Up

    About 10 years too late

    The Yahoo service was abysmal - the mail "deprioritisation" they installed (instead of proper greylisting) resulted in massively delayed or bounced legitimate messages and was appalling (and hard to explain - other than "get a new ISP"); trying to obtain technical support as a sysadmin trying to get mail delivered was like pulling teeth.

  12. Neill Mitchell

    LOL

    This explains why I got an email a couple of weeks back saying customers who do not login to their BT Yahoo mail at least once before 15th of June would lose their email account. I guess they're trying to cut down the migration numbers.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: LOL

      I remember that tactic at work -- it always seemed to hit middle-management for some reason.

  13. eJ2095

    ODd

    Sure my enighbour had a mail about swithcing over to the new yahoo about a month ago?

  14. Richard Scratcher
    Meh

    Great, maybe now they'll stop with the adverts.

    I sometimes have to access my BT e-mail through a web browser and suffer all of those annoying animated adverts flickering away in my peripheral vision while I'm trying to read. I pay for this e-mail so why bombard me with adverts?

    1. An0n C0w4rd

      Re: Great, maybe now they'll stop with the adverts.

      I strongly doubt they will. More and more service provider customers are looking to do ads in webmail because it lets them lower their upfront cost, which is all most people look at when comparing services.

    2. Elmer Phud

      Re: Great, maybe now they'll stop with the adverts.

      AdBlock?

      (You can sort the filters for sites you want to benefit from ads.)

  15. Shannon Jacobs
    Holmes

    Yahoo loves spam and deserves the harvest

    Of the big three, Yahoo is clearly the biggest supporter of spam and they deserve to go bankrupt. Yahoo is most often used for the spammer dropboxes, and Yahoo makes it hardest to report abuse. You can't even get the full email in a form that lets you see what is under HTML format. They will show you what they think the header is, but I'm sure they aren't as competent as the spammers in fudging the headers.

    Yahoo could give us tools and minor incentives to fight the spammers. I'd be glad to donate a bit of my time to make the world better, even if those scumbags at Yahoo also benefited from my efforts. Just tell me that I was the first to target the spammer's website or dropbox and I would have a warm fuzzy feeling.

    Yoo hoo Yahoo. Are you listening. I think you have two options. (1) Go bankrupt. (2) Improve the value of your email system.

    1. An0n C0w4rd

      Re: Yahoo loves spam and deserves the harvest

      By the time the first abuse reports come in it's generally too late and the spammers have moved onto a new drop box already.

      1. Shannon Jacobs
        Holmes

        Re: Yahoo loves spam and deserves the harvest

        No, that's why it's generally pointless to pursue the spammer's ISP or botnet, but the spammer has to keep the dropbox open or the website up because there's a human sucker in that loop. There are VASTLY more people who hate spammers than suckers who feed them, which means it is relatively easy for the spam-haters to get there first--well, if Yahoo was willing to provide a few tools instead of helping the spammers.

  16. Ad@m
    Thumb Up

    Won't be shedding any tears

    Pretty much everyone I know who's unfortunate enough to have a non-optional BT yahoo email account (which shared credentials with other BT services) has had their account compromised through no fault of their own. If they can't stop people hacking their email service at will then they're not fit to be in business. Good riddance!

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: Won't be shedding any tears

      Hotmail seemed to be far more of an inconvenience for this.

      But then my address list on line is tiny compared to the local one.

  17. ACx

    BT and its Idiot users.

    What is the problem with yahoo mail? I've been using it for something like 15 years with out any problems what so ever. No spam problems. No availability problems. No lost mail problems. No advert problems. No creepy data theft like google problems. Nothing.

    Sounds like a BT issue. Though most likely its the usual stupid users blaming everything but themselves. Usually is. Usually people who think they know what they are doing too.

    Yahoo mail is simple, easy and works. And doesn't get messed with all the time like, say, google mail.

    But, hey, let the morons bleat away slagging off something clearly they know naff all about.

  18. dajames Silver badge
    FAIL

    A disgrace!

    I find it shocking that an ISP of the size of BT does not feel that is competent to run its own mail service. Surely it would be worth BT's while to accumulate the necessary skills in house, and not have to outsource their mail solution to a third party?

    It is even more shocking that they choose to use a non-UK-based company to provide these services. There are plenty of British companies who could have provided BT with a UK-based mail solution, and BT (an international company, but based in the UK) should be flying the flag for British industry. Shame on them!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A disgrace!

      Historically BT has never been competent at anything, other than perhaps providing a phone service.

      1. Ottman001

        Re: A disgrace!

        When were they competent at providing a phone service? I must have missed that day.

        1. Syntax Error
          Stop

          Re: A disgrace!

          This article is more about the management of yahoo and that is why BT are giving them the chop.

          They failed to apply a wordpress patch for 8 months and loads of spammers exploited Yahoo mail through this wordpress bug.

          Taking 8 months to apply an important patch in most IT departments would be unacceptable but for a company providing millions of e-mail accounts this is clearly unacceptable.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A disgrace!

        I don't know for a while I knew quite a few contractors for telecoms that were earning obscene amounts and BT basically taught them everything they knew as apprentices.

        3 people should be able to deal with a standard isp email system of any size. (Simple anyway pop / imap / smtp). Not something like Exchange.

        Critical Path is likely much more effort to admin than a standard setup.

        Stops you being able to use perl as effectively.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A disgrace!

      Given that I was working in that area in BT at the time...

      Email isn't as important as it used to be, but even 10 years ago, it was already a commodity, with little or no profit margins. However, it's still a vital check-list item: you can't not offer it.

      And for someone like BT, supporting a mail platform is a nightmare - even back in 2003, they already had over 1.5 million residential BB users. That's a hell of a lot of bandwidth and storage requirements, even before you consider that they were being hammered, thanks to spam and ddos, as well as all the hassles around dealing with blacklists, etc.

      These days, the userbase is somewhere north of 6 million, and I'd guess that the "profit margins" [*] on email are even thinner and the overheads are even higher; people may be using email less and filters may be more effective, but attachments are a lot bigger and there's even more people looking for ways to spam end-users.

      Overall, for a company like BT, outsourcing a high-maintenance, low-profit element such as email makes perfect sense.

      [*] or whatever intangible benefit you want to assign to a "standard" checklist item...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A disgrace!

        And for someone like BT, supporting a mail platform is a nightmare - even back in 2003, they already had over 1.5 million residential BB users. That's a hell of a lot of bandwidth and storage requirements, even before you consider that they were being hammered, thanks to spam and ddos, as well as all the hassles around dealing with blacklists, etc.

        I was running a 750,000 user ISP mail system in 2003 with myself and one minion as the only people in the group, and we still had time to work on other things. The system was pushing 45mbit/sec of POP3 traffic alone.

        If you set the system up right, email systems tend to be low maintenance (other than the never-ending abuse problem, and a separate group dealt with abuse@<domain> complains). Shove the front ends behind a load balancer and make sure the storage on the back ends can cope with the IOPS and you're set.

        IMHO BT's big problem is not the service it tries to provide (or not as the case may be), it's the organisation. The paperwork needed before you could sneeze is insane. Outsourcing gets rid of many layers of completely useless change control and other management functions that just over complicate day-to-day running.

        (No, I've not worked for BT. But I know people who have)

  19. Fred 21
    Meh

    Talk21 anyone?

    This looks like the final push for me to move everything over to Gmail, when I say move I mean redirect ;)

    I have my email set up as following : various domains, with specific company names (as Lee D describes above) for email address (i.e. tesco@mydomain.co.uk, argos@mydomain.co.uk). I then point these to my Talk21 email address, which actually goes to Yahoo! I still pay for POP3 access (pennies & using port 25) but I only use Yahoo! for occassionally logging into Flickr & occassionally to check my spam folder. To be fair, all my spam seems to get caught by the spam folder and IMO has actually improved recently (not sure if thats down to Yahoo! or other factors).

    If BT are going to their own portal then I won't be going along, I don't need *another* portal to log in to just check my email when I don't use any of their other services.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: Talk21 anyone?

      How did you cope when BT moved to Yahoo! with Talk21?

      Seamless for me, will it change?

      1. h3

        Re: Talk21 anyone?

        The more migrations stuff goes through the more irritating it gets. (The original ntlworld accounts that my parents have cannot have anything done with them).

        My grandfather still has a redirect from his ntlworld (That was on gmail) that is still going even though the account cannot be logged into as he is not even with them now.

        Stuff seems kind of ok if it is not changed at all..

  20. Rafael L
    FAIL

    What the hell is BT?

  21. RonWheeler
    Unhappy

    Not surprised on the spam thing

    They kept blocking all my old company's SMTP traffic as they regularly reimplemented dodgy third party IP blocklists, which included our IP address.. Cue 3 weeks of fighting Indian read-from-a-script,-don't-understand-SMTP morons trying to force me to sign 'I'm a commercial spammer who agrees only to spam 50 000 BTInternet customers a day ' documents. Clearly they'd rather approve commercial spam than understand we'd been wrongly blocked in the first place due to their own rubbish systems. And that we'd been over this 3 months before. And 3 months before that. Rinse, repeat..

    Yes, we had reverse DNS and SPF set up, and nobody else blocked us.

    Trouble is most of our customers were old and IT-illiterate so used BT / Yahoo.

    .

  22. JMB

    BT / Yahoo

    The Yahoo Mail interface is rubbish but BT customers get Flickr Pro. Yahoo have completely ruined Flickr in the last few weeks but I have many images stored there so will have to look into what I lose without Pro and whether I will have to pay for it now.

  23. zxcvbnm

    Please a proper smtp server

    Oh for a standard smtp server. They must be the only isp that stops you sending email from any address other than bt (or a domain registered in your name). Its a nightmare and the reason I never use them as an isp.

    (Oh and six months ago they migrated all their business home office users to a new email system and I did have to go and change login details as it all stopped working).

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Remember when Yahoo was huge ..

    Remember when Yahoo was huge, what happened. Just goes to show that things change very quickly in Internet Time ...

  25. Arachnoid

    I hope they install dual authentication on the server, its one thing having someone invade and control your email account but your whole BT account on one log in too ERK!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is what happens...

    Didn't the Yahoo CEO decide not to include BlackBerry in the permitted phones list because they "weren't smartphones"? Beware of calling someone else's platform irrelevant and past its best before date, because someone may do the same to you.

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. Nuke
    FAIL

    BS :- "always looking for ways to improve"

    "BT wouldn't give The Reg any reason for binning Yahoo!, other than to say that it was "always looking for ways to improve and develop products and services"."

    They use that "reason" a lot in my experience. They wheel it out every time they raise their prices, although they then "compensate" by telling me something like they've reduced the cost of phoning Timbuktoo.

  29. Thomas 4

    Yahoo is a foul and loathsome company

    ...and their comment forums are one of the foulest places on the Internet. So long and don't let the hit you, knock you down and grind your body into a thin red paste on the way out.

  30. MACWINLINO
    FAIL

    Yahoo Spam

    Perhaps if Yahoo were to re-brand their mail platform and make it as good as Outlook.com and Gmail then they might have a chance,

    Until then any mail from a yahoo domain will go into spam along with a Nigerian Prince.

  31. GregT

    Good luck with this, BT!

    I get emails from BT every week about "upgrading", and every single one of them is a phishing message from some time-waster. Quite how BT are going to convince me that I really do need to change my email I don't know :-)

    Why the BT spam filter doesn't pick up spammers who are trying to impersonate BT themselves is beyond me.

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