Advertising Facepalms – Marketing Typos

Everyone makes mistakes. The occasional typo is prevalent in all forms of writing, from job notices to news articles. It is often missed during proofreading, and is an understandable mistake, given how busy copywriters and ad campaign managers can become. However, not everyone can afford to make a typo when there is a multi-million dollar national ad on the line.

Ad campaigns go through many edits, and careful consideration is taken so that every letter of every word counts. However, although uncommon, grammatical mistakes in advertising can happen. When they do, the company runs the risk of the gaffe negatively impacting the product and the brand, with consequences ranging from general disapproval to large financial burdens. It can often be swept under the rug, but with the prevalence and sheer usage of digital technology, a small mistake can leave a long-lasting mark. Below are some recent examples of typing errors and grammatical mishaps found in the marketing world.

Victoria’s Secret’s Apostrophe’s Mistake’s

Model Behati Prinsloo seems to be a bit embarrassed by the mistake that has people talking.

Model Behati Prinsloo seems to be a bit embarrassed by the mistake that has people talking.

A sharp-eyed friend informed me of the recent Victoria’s Secret “Body by Victoria” ad that raised quite a few…eyebrows. The slogan, “You’ve never seen ‘Body’s’ like this” was meant to be a clever play on words, but instead it had the adverse reaction of confusing viewers. Although the name of the new line is Body and therefore using the plural term “bodies” is not correct, neither is using the term “body’s.” Instead, the slogan should be “You’ve never seen ‘Bodys’ like this.” This improper use of an apostrophe may not exactly harm the commercial success of the “Body by Victoria” line of bras, but it is enough to elicit a few giggles and many facepalms.

Majic Mik iz Abov Spellling

The 2012 summer hit movie about male strippers called “Magic Mike” had many promotional television spots. Targeted mainly towards women, the film had mixed, but generally positive reviews, with a 6.1/10 rating on IMDb and an 80% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Most of the ads were perfectly fine, and enticed many people (both men and women alike) to see the film. One ad, however, made a mistake by misspelling the word “boyfriend” as “boyriend.” Although the ad copy had tried to say that the movie could make boyfriends seem inferior to Magic Mike, I can only hope that many were comforted to know that their boyfriends could at least spell properly.

Romney’s Better Amercia

When it is lampooned by Stephen Colbert, there’s no way to recover from that.

When it is lampooned by Stephen Colbert, there’s no way to recover from that.

The 2012 presidential election was very heated, as it often is with political campaigns. Both the Obama and Romney campaigns utilized a mix of online and mobile platforms to gain approval and support. Romney had a minor gaffe during the process, however, when mobile users noticed that his campaign app had misspelled one of the most important words in political advertising – “America.” Was this the mistake that led to Obama’s reelection? That idea is highly unlikely, but it is something that I am sure his campaign manager was not very happy about, to say the least. Apple was asked to rush an update to the app fixing the typo, but the damage had already been done. “Amercia” had already found the mistake too funny not to share across every social network.

Why does it matter?

I do not mean to say that the copywriters and other ad campaign staff failed at their jobs or were being lazy – quite the opposite. They tried to create clever, funny, and interesting copy for the respective campaigns. The moral is simply this: Double-check your work before submitting it for distribution, and if you are able, get someone else to take a look at it. It is something many of us fail to do at all times, but it does not hurt to take the time to look over possible mistakes, especially when there are very few total words involved. In addition, when a fresh set of eyes takes a look at the copy, they may see something that the original writer had inadvertently missed. Marketing is, or at least should be, a team effort. Everyone has the responsibility to making sure that their work is in the best condition possible.

Advertising already has a fair number of skeptics and critics. Therefore, as marketers, we should be presenting the best work that we can to avoid stirring up even more criticism.

What do you think about typos or other mistakes in advertisements? Do you know of other marketing mishaps, and if there were any solutions taken to resolve them? Did I ironically leave a typo? (I did double check my writing!) Please comment below!

With Great Power…

Marketing, and the technology it uses, has its share of critics. They understandably argue that it is often used underhandedly as a way to sell unnecessary products and services to people who either cannot afford it or are better off not making that purchase. There definitely are regular stories of immorality in marketing, as well as arguments against the adoption of advanced technology that threatens to overhaul our communities.

However, there are also numerous situations where marketing agencies can do a very positive and helpful deed, with technology as a catalyst for good.

Take for example last year’s launch of the Kid Rescue smartphone app. In Colombia, apparently nearly 0.8 million kids are working on the streets, uneducated and unable to get themselves out of their destitute situations. Many are also unidentified and very likely homeless. Working with global telecommunications giant Telefónica, the team at Y&R Colombia programmed an app that enabled users to take a picture of the child, input information about that child, and use geotagging to identify and better address the child labor problem.  The information would be uploaded online to be visible by social workers at Fundación Telefónica, Telefónica Group’s social and cultural actions branch. At the time Y&R gathered its data, they apparently already identified 1,276 children and have managed to get 67 children off of the streets. *

At only 11 years old, Fredi Alexander Hidalgo was previously working in construction.

At only 11 years old, Fredi Alexander Hidalgo was previously working in construction.

Another similar smartphone app is based in China, where tens of thousands of children are kidnapped and sold, or forced into menial labor and begging on the street. The missing children listing site Baby Back Home (Chinese: 宝贝回家 bao bei hui jia) worked with agency JWT China to devise an app that used augmented reality and facial recognition software to match children found on the streets to missing children listings. In just the first week of its launch back in late May of 2013, two families were reunited. Although it does not have the power to outright stop the kidnappings and illegal deals involving children, it raises much-needed awareness about the serious issue and puts a little more power back into the hands of law-abiding citizens who feel helpless to tackle the phenomenon.

By placing these statues (utilizing negative space depicting a missing child between two devastated parents) around high-traffic areas and having people take a photo, passersby are able to hear the story of the parents who are still searching for their abducted or missing kids.

By placing these statues (utilizing negative space depicting a missing child between two devastated parents) around high-traffic areas and having people take a photo, passersby are able to hear the story of the parents who are still searching for their abducted or missing kids.

Another recent overseas example is the Spanish advertisement that used lenticular printing to provide a hidden message to children who suffer from abuse. Agency Grey Spain teamed with the ANAR Foundation (Spanish: Fundación ANAR), a Spanish non-profit organization helping and protecting the rights of at-risk children and adolescents. The use of a special printing method to send a message to children while hiding it from the adults that could abuse them was a revolutionary idea that quickly went viral. Although some argue that it is counter-productive to spread awareness about the hidden message because it is supposed to be, after all, hidden, it is another example of how powerful marketing and technology can be implemented to achieve more good in the world.

Fundación ANAR’s ad and its lenticular printing method provides very different messages at differing heights.

Fundación ANAR’s ad and its lenticular printing method provides very different messages at differing heights.

Domestically, the FBI has also been utilizing smartphone technology to track and identify missing children. The Child ID app, released for iPhone on August 2011 and Android on May 2012, enables parents to upload a picture and information about their missing children. Users of the app, in case of emergency, would be able to input their missing child’s information and send it directly to law enforcement officials. Although not as sophisticated as the Baby Back Home app, and the app contains some technical difficulties, it shows promise as a step that the United States can take towards using technology (and proper marketing to increase awareness and downloads of the app) to handle emergencies such as missing children.

Despite its flaws and limited use, it is another way technology can be used to benefit peoples’ lives in very profound ways.

Despite its flaws and limited use, it is another way technology can be used to benefit peoples’ lives in very profound ways.

It is important to remember, however, to not use these noteworthy humanitarian apps simply for commercial recognition and brand goodwill. Although important to remember in any campaign, once it has been done there is, or at least should be, a responsibility by both the agency and the commissioning business to maintain it until the need has passed. Technology and marketing campaigns such as these involve very important, sensitive issues that need to be constantly re-examined and continually addressed. Lives and families are at stake, and downloading the app without utilizing it is not productive, and is a slap to the face to the people who need help. Although it is not expected of the agency to continue its work with a business’s campaign after their work is technically finished, something has to be done to address the great responsibility that comes with working on humanitarian and charitable campaigns.

This is something we should all try to keep in mind, regardless of whether or not we are directly affected by these types of tragedies and whether or not we had a hand in the creation of the technology.

Do you know of any other technologies/apps that provide similar services, and were marketed in a creative way? Please let me know in the comments section!

*Unfortunately, the site mentioned in the video, www.kidrescueapp.com, does not seem to be an actual website related to the app. Instead, it is a small blog that has only five articles about child safety and monitoring. Whether this is a sign that the app is no longer being maintained or there was never a website to begin with is unknown.

POG’s JOBs: Publicis Omnicom Group and its Army of 130,000.

The biggest news in advertising today, and quite possibly for some continued time, is the merger between two ad agency giants Publicis Groupe and Omnicom Group. The respectively Paris and New York-based companies are parent agencies for well-respected agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, DDB Worldwide, and BBDO Worldwide. Now known as Publicis Omnicom Group, the merged company will be temporarily led together by co-CEO’s John Wren (Omnicom) and Maurice Levy (Publicis).

New BFF’s: According to every news source ever, the two CEO’s have apparently been inseparable since the announcement, often laughing together and embracing each other.

New BFF’s: According to every news source ever, the two CEO’s have apparently been inseparable since the announcement, often laughing together and embracing each other.

As expected, there is already much heated discussion and speculation about the recently-announced merger, which still has to undergo scrutiny by governmental regulators. On the one hand, some people believe that it is a great power move that has the potential to empower all of the agencies that belong to them and easily claim the spot of the world’s top advertising agency. Not only could investors profit from this feat, but it provides an environment of cooperative competition. On the other hand, many are doubtful of the newly merged firm’s stability. They argue that it will impede creativity by entrenching everyone involved in a bigger bureaucracy. In addition, there are concerns of conflicting client interests and massive staff layoffs.

We know the name of the new group –  what will the new logo be?

We know the name of the new group – what will the new logo be?

Which leads me to one big concern: Regarding job security, what does this announcement mean for the nearly 130,000 employees currently working under Publicis Omnicom Group?

According to the CEO’s, there are apparently no planned job cuts directly due to the merger. Agencies on both sides of the merger seem to still be hiring, based on their own HR needs.  If it is true that there will be no reductions in the workforce, this merger will be a rather accomplishing endeavor as many mergers and acquisitions are quickly followed by a downsizing of employees. Publicis Groupe has kept itself lean in terms of size, so many predict that most of the possible job cuts will be from Omnicom Group.

Omnicom’s “Talent Link” is assumed by many to start becoming a shorter chain.

Omnicom’s “Talent Link” is assumed by many to start becoming a shorter chain.

Even if there are no predicted job losses from the joining of these companies, there are concerns about the loss of large clients due to conflicting interests. Some of the biggest competing companies that are now under the same umbrella include Coca Cola and Pepsico, Apple and Samsung and Google and Microsoft, General Motors and Volkswagen, and AT&T and Verizon. Some of these companies are confident that their investments in Publicis/Omnicom will not be for naught, and applaud the decision to merge. However, it is still unclear what other major clients are feeling about being closer to their biggest competitors, or how companies okay with the idea now will eventually feel. The risk of losing these large clients is a very relevant one for employees, as several Omnicom agencies, earlier this year, laid off a large chunk of its workforce after losing several clients. The same thing could just as easily happen in the near future, with the merger as an excuse.

If both companies can truly benefit without laying off a significant percentage of its labor, it will be an amazing feat. As it has only been a couple of days since the announcement was made, there will be much more related news in the upcoming days and weeks surrounding the fate of the merged advertising conglomerate. Only time will truly reveal how stable the merger remains and what impacts it has in the advertising world. For Publicis Omnicom Group’s employees, however, it must be a nerve-wracking time to be working for the now-largest marketing company in the world.

Let’s end this article with one more handshake photo. Nothing else screams confidence than two older suited men embracing and smiling at each other.

Let’s end this article with one more handshake photo. Nothing else screams confidence more than two older suited men embracing and smiling at each other.

Did Axe Already Forget About Susan Glenn?

How could you ever forget your Susan Glenn?

How could you ever forget your Susan Glenn?

Although it is rare to see giant flocks of women swimming the open seas and scaling rocky mountains to hunt down a lone man, embracing reality and “safe” marketing has never been this company’s advertising strategy. Though many enjoy the humor in the various advertisements, Unilever’s Axe body spray and grooming products (known as Lynx in the U.K.) have also been called sexist and a product suited for “douchebags.” Nonetheless, the brand continues to dominate, controlling over 70% of the U.S. body spray market, owning a top 5 deodorant, and being available in over 70 countries[1]. For a brand this strong, it is not surprising that talked-about marketing and advertising is a large part of its success.

One of the countless women seen in the Axe: Billions ad mentioned above.

One of the countless women seen in the Axe: Billions ad mentioned above.

Last year, Axe released an unconventional ad – well, unconventional for Axe – that again elicited much buzz. The now well-known Susan Glenn commercial and its surrounding campaign seemed to mark a rite of passage for the brand, with many saying that the ad was more “highbrow” and “eloquent”, even “classy” compared to the usual commercials that made Axe notoriously famous. Instead of a nerdy or gawky teen being able to win over numerous gorgeous girls by using the body spray or wash, the commercial depicted an older man (played by Kiefer Sutherland, aka Jack Bauer from “24”) reminiscing about genuine young love. The ad is warm and sweet for the majority of the time, only for it to end in a tone of regret when he reveals that he did not have the confidence to approach her. We can surmise that his life would have been more fulfilled if he had felt more empowered to talk to her, something that Axe would have provided. With a generally positive reception, people wondered if this ad signified Axe growing up for the better, while still managing to incorporate the ridiculous and pushing the borders of reality.

Looking back at yesteryear with a bit of the impossible thrown in.

Looking back at yesteryear with a bit of the impossible thrown in.

Well, it looks like it was just a temporary look into the future (much like the 2004 film “13 Going On 30”). Since the short-lived time of Susan Glenn, Axe has released the Axe Black Chill collection in time for San Diego 2013 Comic Con, a yearly convention for comics, movies, video games, and other pop culture. Teaming up with astronaut Buzz Aldrin and the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission, Axe has also gone where no brand has gone before – started a contest to send 22 lucky contestants to the Axe Apollo Space Camp and a possible trip to space. All the while, Axe has again managed to alienate women (pun most definitely intended) and gain criticism for its sexism. People have already started to speak up against the messages contained in these campaigns, such as “men become astronauts and women don’t,” “women who are not models are unattractive,” and “women of color are not considered hot.”

The Axe Black Chill ad states that, ”Girls are getting hotter and hotter.” Do you think the underlying messages are offensive?

The Axe Black Chill ad states that, ”Girls are getting hotter and hotter.” Do you think the underlying messages are offensive?

Although the Awardwinning Susan Glenn ad was a step towards a more inclusive and potentially less offensive image, Axe took a step back to its more comfortable spotlight as the more juvenile brand. It is possible that the ad did not resonate with their stated target market of 20-25 year old men enough to justify continuing in that trajectory. Because body sprays also tend to be more popular among younger people, the Susan Glenn campaign may have been “too old” for the largest group of Axe purchasers. Both are logical reasons Axe would back away from the new direction towards which it was fleetingly heading, and is more consistent with Axe’s brand strategy.

Ah, good ol’ juvenile humor. Teenage boys apparently can’t help but chuckle at the mention of balls.

Ah, good ol’ juvenile humor. Teenage boys apparently can’t help but chuckle at the mention of balls.

Regardless, as Axe tries to promote its recent Anarchy body spray towards women, Axe may benefit from being more careful about turning away women who increasingly want to be recognized by the media as strong and smart individuals rather than brainless sex-machines. This is especially true in a social climate where women’s rights and equality issues are being brought to the forefront across the world. Risqué humor is often a dangerous border to explore in marketing, as it is often seen as offensive and tasteless. It will be a great success story if Axe can maintain the humor that draws young men to their brand, while simultaneously getting more women to laugh along at their jokes and buy Axe products as well. Until then, carefully-researched experimental ads may continue to be necessary to get a sense of what resonates with female targets. Hopefully Axe gained some useful insights from the Susan Glenn campaign and can utilize them in future campaigns.

See an incomplete, but long list of former Axe ads, including a supposedly banned commercial, here.


[1]Unilever 2012 Annual Report& Accounts http://www.unilever.ca/Images/ir_Unilever_AR12_tcm25-348646.pdf (P. 22)

5-Hour Energy’s Very Own Pick-Me-Up

Everybody, at one time or another, needs a pick-me-up. This also appropriately includes energy drink and energy shot companies whose branded products face constant scrutiny by federal agencies, news outlets, and end consumers. One such product is the energy shot 5-Hour Energy, which recently started a new campaign: 5-Hour Energy Helps Amazing People.

The Logo for the 5-Hour Energy Helps Amazing People campaign

The Logo for the 5-Hour Energy Helps Amazing People campaign.

5-Hour Energy is a two-ounce energy shot with no sugar added designed to provide a quick uplift of energy without a following sugar crash. The small and colorful bottles enjoy its checkout counter perches across gas stations, pharmacies, and grocery stores across the country. In addition to its excellent placement in stores, the parent company, Living Essentials, has extensive advertising campaigns based on educating consumers about 5-Hour Energy’s ingredients, effects, and safety. These advertisements, seen frequently on television and online, are necessary to combat the rumors and concerns about the safety of consuming the amount of caffeine present in the shot.  Despite the skepticism, it owns approximately 90% of the energy shot market.

Competitors can’t beat the excellent in-store placement that 5-Hour Energy has.

Competitors can’t beat the excellent in-store placement that 5-Hour Energy has.

There are several main types of video advertisements that 5-Hour Energy airs. There are the paid-spokesperson advertisements that include former basketball and football superstar Bo Jackson, golfer Jim Furyk, and NASCAR racer Clint Bowyer. Another common type, perhaps the type of ad that 5-Hour Energy is most known for, is a cheesy, simple video of a single person or a group of people drinking a bottle of the energy shot and feeling more colorful/alert/energetic than before consumption. This kind of ad touted the natural ingredients found in 5-Hour energy and its invigorating effects for normal, everyday people going about their day in the home or at the office.

If you have never seen this type of ad, you may be one of the few Americans that have not.

If you have never seen this type of ad, you may be one of the few Americans that have not.

The third is a newer, more specialized type of video advertisement. 5-Hour Energy has partnered with notable charitable organizations in the past to give back to the community, in an effort called 5-Hour Energy Helps. The most recent is the Amazing People campaign, which gives $50,000 weekly to “outstanding people who, despite their own challenges, give their time and energy to make the lives of others better.” Only in its second week, it is a heartwarming campaign that not only helps the charities and people receiving the $50,000 gift but also provides 5-Hour Energy with great stories and goodwill. These short videos are sometimes seen in pre-roll form before YouTube videos, are available on the product website, and on social media. YouTube view counts currently surpass 3.6 million and 1.4 million for the first two videos. If it continues to be successful, the campaign could greatly improve 5-Hour Energy’s brand image and create much-wanted positive buzz for the energy shot.

Michelle Jackson, the first recipient of the $50,000 gift from 5-Hour Energy.

Michelle Jackson, the first recipient of the $50,000 gift from 5-Hour Energy.

Ben and Kim Green, the most recent recipients of $50,000 by 5-Hour Energy.

Although the campaign is a very good way to distinguish the energy shot from its competitors and spread awareness of its humanitarian efforts, the brand is still plagued by health concerns that diminish its effectiveness. Despite 5-Hour Energy’s continued efforts to educate the American public about the nutrition facts regarding the energy shot, they ran into trouble when the FDA released a report late last year about illnesses and deaths related to energy drink consumption. The company is also often scrutinized when asked about ingredients, and was recently wrapped up in a court case in Tennessee for this reason. Google searches for the 5-Hour Energy Helps Amazing People campaign bring up very few results about the campaign itself, and many more about the drink’s safety issues and consumer cries of false advertising.

Many people are still unsure what the effects of many of these ingredients  are, or even how to pronounce them.

Many people are still unsure what the effects of many of these ingredients are, or even how to pronounce them.

To overcome the negative perceptions and fears will continue to be a large challenge for 5-Hour Energy, and the Amazing People project will be met with ongoing skepticism and backlash by those afraid of the shot’s potency and health scares. Nevertheless, it is a touching campaign, and it will be interesting to keep an eye out for other upcoming videos and to see the effect that it will have for the 5-Hour Energy brand.

See my June post to learn about pre-roll advertisements!

Happy Avocado Day?

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Fireworks!!!

Fireworks!!!

Because it is a holiday, I thought to do today’s post about something a little more fun. And what could be more fun than a marketing campaign about avocados?

Delicious, delicious avocados. So much fun!

Delicious, delicious avocados. So much fun!

Apparently, one U.S. state is essentially trying to make the avocado the official fruit of Fourth of July.  Since last year, the California Avocado Commission has been promoting California avocado consumption alongside barbecues and fireworks. Last year was a great success, with avocado consumption reaching its peak, past Cinco de Mayo and the Super Bowl. With the warm California wind beneath their avocado-shell wings, they are continuing the trend this year with consumption expectations of more than 96 million pounds of avocados (over 200 million fruit).

To do so, the California Avocado Commission implemented a multi-channel advertising campaign through point-of-sale materials as well as advertisements in magazines, radio, and television, with the slogan “Add some Green to your Red, White, and Blue.” Print ads included recipes for more traditional Fourth of July treats with a green twist, party tips, and details for a recipe contest. The television ad was done in an older style, reminiscent of classic ads in the 1950’s and 60’s, complete with an omniscient narrator, unwaveringly happy and good-looking nuclear families, and even snippets of black-and-white scenes.

Personally, I think it might be a bit alienating to the large non-Caucasian population in California...but that’s an entirely different issue.

Personally, I think it might be a bit alienating to the large non-Caucasian population in California…but that’s an entirely different issue.

Keeping the barbecue-picnic spirit alive for the Fourth of July is important for food retailers in the summer, and especially during summer holidays. In addition to the versatility of avocados as a cooking ingredient, because there are certain foods that are arguably quintessential Fourth of July foods (hot dogs, burgers, potato salad, etc.), the avocado was not introduced as a replacement for any of the food. Instead, avocados were depicted in the Commission’s recipe booklet as a welcome addition to many classic recipes, such as Guacamole Potato Salad.

I love the colors in this ad. Which, I suppose, is the point.

I love the colors in this ad. Which, I suppose, is the point.

As much as this post is increasingly beginning to look like another ad for avocados and the CAC, what is interesting about this campaign is that so far, it seems successful in starting a new tradition for a classic holiday. To be fair, avocados already had seen a high rate of consumption during this particular holiday, and many holidays throughout the year. However, it is impressive that these series of ads were able to help boost avocado consumption during July 4th to its highest point, in the first year of the campaign. I am personally curious as to how long the Fourth of July avocado craze will continue, and how the CAC will update its messaging in future years.

It is also an attempt at rebranding a traditionally non-American fruit into an All-American (well, North American) food. Many originally foreign foods have recently become commonplace in parts of the U.S., such as sushi, Chinese takeout, and pita/hummus, but they still carry a foreign image (indeed, the non-American-ness may be part of their sell). Avocados are originally from Central America, and are frequently served as guacamole. Although the Latin image is still strong in relation to the green fruit, the increased purchases during a U.S. holiday could be a sign that more and more Americans are accepting it as an American food. It could also be a reaction to the changing makeup of the population of the United States or a general trend among Americans to explore alternative diets.

The changing population makeup will, as marketers should be aware of, mean great changes in consumption habits and messaging.

The changing population makeup will, as marketers should be aware of, mean great changes in consumption habits and messaging.

It will be worth keeping an eye on the results of this year’s avocado consumption to see how successful the CAC’s campaign was. If they manage to meet their expectations and start solidifying the avocado as the American summer fruit, then it will mean retailers have another great case study and example as to how a simple product can become a holiday staple. Regardless, it seems as if the avocado has planted its roots and is not going anywhere, anytime soon.

Now…back to the July 4th festivities! Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

Is it “Yahoo!” or “Boohoo!” ?

This post is a bit overdue – moving apartments always takes much longer than expected.

Also: accidents caused by jammed u-haul brakes are not fun.

Also: accidents caused by jammed u-haul brakes are not fun.

Yahoo!, the 19-year old search engine/e-mail/news provider/internet monolith, has been making a very big splash in web-related news as of late. It recently upgraded its e-mail and news outlets, not just in appearance but also certain relevant functions. It has streamlined and focused its services, and just this month, acquired micro-blogging site Tumblr. for 1.1 billion dollars (That’s $1,100,000,000).This is all part of Yahoo!’s recently-appointed CEO Marissa Mayer’s attempts to revive the long-stagnant giant. So far, it seems as if Yahoo! is on the road to recovery and investors are cautiously optimistic.

The acquisition must be very exciting for tumblr. It should update its logo to this…

Although investors may be happy about where Yahoo! is headed, many users are upset about the new changes.  This post will focus on a couple of the announcements made by Yahoo! regarding their e-mail service, and the not-so-great responses it has gathered.

Yahoo! has decided recently to redesign its e-mail service, and make its users use a new version of Yahoo! Mail. The e-mail sent to all users on June 3rd gave until July  9th (Less than 10 days from today) to switch to the new Yahoo! Mail, as its classic version was to be discontinued. This announcement, though favored by many, also managed to upset many others for two reasons: one, because some users are just not fond of the new design, and two, because of their notification that users will have to agree to getting their e-mail scanned for relevant advertising. Users with sensitive privacy concerns are, needless to say, not happy about having their mail scanned through, and some have voiced their intent to switch e-mail clients to a more private service. This policy has apparently been around for some time, but the recent announcement, in the midst of government-approved data tracking, has rekindled discussions about online privacy, with Yahoo! now at the helm.

You can still decide to get only ads of certain categories and even opt out of targeted ads, but not everyone realizes this.

In addition to the uproar surrounding the advertising policy, Yahoo! is also clearing unused ID’s to allow new users to claim them as their own. For example, if my Yahoo! ID was ryunh91@yahoo.com and I have not logged into Yahoo! Mail in the past year, all of my mail will be wiped, and someone else could claim the ryunh91 ID. For people with more common names, this is an opportunity to get a better e-mail address than marksmith91284317@yahoo.com*.

I would not be at all surprised if there were 9,128,4317 “Mark Smith”s in the world.

I would not be at all surprised if there were 9,128,4317 “Mark Smith”s in the world.

However, internet users, tech enthusiasts, and online security gurus immediately started criticizing Yahoo! for the possible security problems that this move may cause. Yahoo! has stated that it will handle the cleanse with care, but their attempts to appease the masses has not seemed to quell the nerves of some very vocal people. With regular news about Yahoo! Mail account hacks and the loss of some major customers, controversy is not something that Yahoo! would want surrounding an upgrade.

In the end, will the mail changes hurt Yahoo! enough to cause a big drop in its finances? Will there be a mass boycott of Yahoo! Mail as users rebel against the new look and interface? If the company manages to not compromise safety and online identities and reassures its users that their data will not be used inappropriately, the answer is most likely “no”. However, Yahoo! should keep in mind to not alienate too many people from using their email platform if they hope to continue gaining revenue from advertising and keeping Yahoo! Mail relevant among its web-based mail competitors.

*I highly doubt this randomly generated e-mail address is real, but just in case it is, please do not send an email to this address.