Yahoo upsets users by shutting out some customers who use ad blockers

Yahoo blocked certain Yahoo Mail users from accessing their accounts as part of a "test."

Yahoo blocked certain Yahoo Mail users from accessing their accounts as part of a “test.”

(Justin Sullivan / Getty)

Late last week, some Yahoo Mail users encountered a problem: They couldn’t get into their email accounts.

When they tried to sign into the service, they were greeted with the message: “Uh oh… We are unable to display Yahoo Mail. Please disable Ad Blocker to continue using Yahoo Mail.”

The Sunnyvale, Calif., technology company confirmed Monday that some users were indeed shut out of their accounts for using ad blockers — software that disables ads from appearing in Web and mobile browsers — as part of a limited experiment.

“This is a test we’re running for a small number of Yahoo Mail users,” a company representative said in a statement.


If the experiment’s goal was to determine whether users were willing to trade off ad blockers for access to their email, Yahoo quickly got an answer from angry customers, who took to Twitter to express their frustration.

“‘Please disable ad blocker to continue using Yahoo Mail’ — how about no,” said Twitter user @RunLikeDeer. “Do you want me to stop using Yahoo Mail?? ‘Cause this is a good start.”

“So @YahooMail has blocked my inbox for using an ad locker,” tweeted @Trenti. “It was a good run, I guess. Goodbye! Hello Apple Mail, as much as I hate it.”

Other tweets were more passionate and expletive-laden.

Publishers and content creators that rely on advertising for revenue have long struggled with ad blockers. The debate around the software kicked into high gear in recent months after Apple started supporting ad-blocking software for the mobile version of Safari.

Twitter: @traceylien