Yahoo! Mail Wackos Need to Move On

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Yahoo! (YHOO) Mail fanatics now teeter on the border between Obama birther inanity and tech company observer irrelevancy.

I have people on Twitter (TWTR) challenging me to take the test and use Yahoo! Mail for a week, as if I am missing some elusive secret that, yes, most Web-based mail programs suck. Including Yahoo!'s.

It's hardly an exception.

And I have never claimed it is.

In fact, I have always been indifferent to Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, any of Microsoft's (MSFT) professional solutions and any other email account you access via the Web. If you're serious about email -- as in the email you send and receive is in some way, shape or form important -- you're, pardon my blunt edge, an idiot for relying on a web-based platform in the first place.

That should be the opening segue into any discussion over the dual issues a tortured few continue to obsess over with regards to Yahoo! Mail:

  • Generally, the new Yahoo! Mail design stinks (Newsflash: The old one stunk as well!)
  • The recent tech-related outage Yahoo! Mail experienced is an outrage and should be viewed as a harbinger of doom for the company.

Most of us use Web-based accounts such as Yahoo! Mail for junk mail, as the default email address to use to sign up for "stuff" and as a means of introduction to people we would like to get to know.

For instance, I am working on a story. I find someday I want to talk to on LinkedIn (LNKD). The person replies. So I have duplicate messages from them -- one in my LNKD account, one in my Yahoo! Mail account. I'm not going to rely on either to keep the exchange safe and secure so I move it to one of the accounts I access through Apple's (AAPL) desktop Mail program.

Of course, something could go wrong with the mechanisms that deliver email to programs such as Mail or MSFT's Outlook. Absolutely. But it seems to me that you have quite a bit more confidence and control if you're a) not using a mass market type email address and b) backing up your email multiple ways. That's why desktop platforms and newer, really great email applications exist.

Many of us keep our music in "collections" on sites such as Rdio. If you think your virtual collection is akin to milk crates full of vinyl, think again.

But, whatever ... I'm not here to make excuses for Yahoo! Mail. It sucks. Always has. You just shouldn't be using it for anything that really matters. Take the same steps to safeguard your email as you would anything else that matters.

Did Marissa Mayer screw up? She sure did. And she knows it. But the whole thing is overblown for, generally speaking, one of two reasons:

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