Yahoo! Groups

Yahoo! Groups
Type of site
Internet forums
electronic mailing lists
Owner Yahoo!
Created by Yahoo!
Commercial Yes
Launched 1998 (1998)
Current status Active

Yahoo! Groups is one of the world’s largest collections of online discussion boards. The term Groups refers to Internet communication which is a hybrid between an electronic mailing list and a threaded Internet forum, in other words, Group messages can be read and posted by e-mail or on the Group's webpage like a web forum. In addition, members can choose whether to receive individual, daily digest or Special Delivery e-mails, or simply read Group posts on the Group's Web site. Groups can be created with public or member-only access. Some Groups are simply announcement bulletin boards, to which only the Group moderators can post, while others are discussion forums.

It is not necessary to register with Yahoo! in order to participate in Yahoo! Groups. The basic mailing list functionality is available to any e-mail address, but a Yahoo! ID is required to access most other features.

Despite their popularity Yahoo! Groups have been called "a goldmine... Yahoo! has never cashed in on".[1] As of 2013, Hari Vasudev oversees Yahoo Groups and Yahoo! Answers.[2]

Features offered by Yahoo! Groups

As well as providing e-mail relaying and archiving facilities for the many Groups it hosts, the Yahoo! Groups service provides additional features for each Group web site, such as a homepage, message archive, polls, calendar announcements, files, photos, database functions, and bookmarks.

Each new group created at Yahoo! Groups allows the creator (group owner) to have several features attached to the group. Some of the features can be selected for "off", moderator, members, public. Here is the complete list of possible group features:

In 2006, Yahoo! discontinued the chat feature in Yahoo! Groups [3] On February 1, 2011 Yahoo! Groups launched a beta version of Group Chat.[4]

Yahoo! Groups Directory

The current Yahoo! Groups Directory organizes groups in these main categories:

  • Animals
  • Business & Finance
  • Computers & Internet

  • Games
  • Government & Politics
  • Health & Wellness
  • Hobbies & Crafts
  • Music
  • Recreation & Sports

  • Regional
  • Religion & Beliefs
  • Romance & Relationships,
  • Schools & Educationf
  • Science

There is a Yahoo! Groups search box available at the Yahoo! Groups homepage. The search function currently provides these options for sorting the results by:

Joining a group or directory listing

A group receives a web address and an email address when it is created and can be listed in one of the Yahoo! Groups directory categories if desired. Groups listed in the Yahoo! Groups directory can also be found via a Yahoo! Groups search.

New members can join groups directly, or may be invited by a moderator to join. Some groups have restricted memberships, which allow group managers to accept or reject new members. Some groups are closed and allow only members who have been directly invited by a group manager to join the group.

Yahoo! Groups also includes so-called adult groups, however, these groups are not publicly listed in the Yahoo! Groups directory and access to them is restricted. People wanting to visit an adult group receive an "adult content" warning and must agree to it each time a member visits the group.


Yahoo! Groups was launched in early 2001 as an integration of technology from and community groups from both and Yahoo! Clubs.


Yahoo! Clubs was launched in 1998 as a logical extension of services that had already been developed by Yahoo - message. Unlike previous Yahoo products, this product was designed to allow much deeper levels of user control over creation, membership and overall direction of communities. Development was led by Doug Hirsch[5] (product management) and Matt Jackson (lead engineer), both of whom have since left the company. Yahoo! Clubs quickly grew to be one of the largest traffic-generating products within the Yahoo! network of services.


In August 2000,[6][7] Yahoo acquired, one of the most popular group collaboration products at the time. About eight months later, the new Yahoo! Groups product was launched which merged and Yahoo! Clubs. The resulting product is typically one of the Top-five page-view-generating sites across the Yahoo network.

Yahoo! Groups functionality remained static between 2000 and 2005. In 2001 Yahoo! deleted adult groups from its search directory, making it very difficult to locate Yahoo! groups with adult content. A Yahoo! user who wishes to find a group with adult content must therefore either know the exact name of the group, or attempt to find it by using a search engine or one of several online adult group directories. This has created what some view as an "underground" atmosphere for Yahoo! adult groups. While it is unclear whether the intention of Yahoo! was to diminish the number or merely the easy availability of these groups, adult groups on Yahoo! have continued to increase. In 2005, a revived ability to generate revenue through targeted search-related advertising resulted in renewed interest, which has slowly received new features since then.


Yahoo! Answers module

In 2006 Yahoo! Groups introduced an option to add a Yahoo! Answers module at the bottom of group homepages. Group managers can control whether the module will appear on their Group homepage and if so, the type of Yahoo! Answers category to be included.[8] However, this option has been removed in the Groups remodel of 2010.

Also in 2006, Yahoo! Groups introduced an improved message search that includes an Advanced Message Search allowing a search by on any combination of message date, author, subject and message body.[9] The Advanced Message Search also disappeared in Groups remodel of 2010


In October 2008 Yahoo introduced a new universal Yahoo! Profile[10] replacing the Group profiles and Yahoo! 360 Profiles, both of which were utilized by Group members prior to this introduction. The use of "adult" profiles was discontinued at that time.[11] On June 7, 2010 Yahoo! announced that the universal Yahoo Profile has been replaced by Yahoo! Pulse.[12]


Posting from the Owner Address

This new feature was announced on Nov 19, 2009.[14] It allows Group managers to post messages to their Group from a Group Owner’s email address. Before this new feature was introduced, Group managers had to use their personal address even when making official Group announcements.

Forward button removed from Yahoo! Groups

On Feb 4, 2010, the Yahoo! Groups team announced that the Forward feature had been removed from the web interface. The removal of this feature was announced as a spam-fighting counter-measure. The team claimed that spammers had been misusing the Forward feature to mail Group messages to up to 50 recipients each time.[15]


Groups Updates Email

The Groups Updates Email feature was introduced In 2010. It allows YG members to check in one email all the updates that occur every twenty four hours in all their Groups, and helps moderators keep spam out. The items can be new photos, links, files, polls, applications, application entries, applications comments, members (but only for groups with fewer than 100 members), and database tables.[16] Members can choose to turn on/off the ability to receive this daily email.[17]

Yahoo! Groups remodel

In September 2010 a major facelift was rolled out, making Yahoo! Groups look very similar to Facebook. However, several key features were removed, notably the ability to respond directly to the sender of a message rather than the group, and the ability to use a Rich Text editor. The first of these changes would dramatically impact the ability of many groups such as Freegle and Freecycle to keep functioning, affecting over nine million users worldwide. The second would affect many RPG groups and collaborative fiction projects, as they often use different font colours to distinguish story threads or individual authors.

Other features removed included the Expanded view of the Message Archives, which allowed users to read messages in chronological order from top to bottom; the message history grid on the Home page, a table which showed the number of messages posted by month and year (this was useful for prospective members wanting an idea of a group's activity level); automatic quoting of the original message in replies posted via the group's website; the option of viewing ASCII art, computer programs and tables in messages as plain text in a fixed-width font; the ability for ordinary members (non-moderators) to view the HTML source code of a message (helpful to members and moderators in tracking trolling attempts); and compatibility with any browser not supporting advanced JavaScript, including browsers in mobile phones, PDAs and the like. Because of the new interface's much greater reliance on visual as opposed to text elements, accessibility issues for blind and visually impaired users with screen-reading software were also anticipated.

Group Deletion program announced on Yahoo! Groups Blog

On November 11, 2010 the Yahoo! Groups Team announced house cleaning to start the following week. According to the ygroups blog this would involve deleting any Group that is more than six months old and contains no Messages, Photos or Files.[18][19]


Group Chat Beta

On February 1, 2011 the Yahoo! Groups Team announced the launch of a Beta version of Groups Chat.[4]

New Help Forum

Sometime at the end of 2011, the Yahoo! Groups staff started communicating with Group members through yet another unannounced new forum.[20]


Newly created Groups cannot use the add members function

Moderators of new Groups started on April 9, 2012 and thereafter, can no longer add members to the Group. Members must initiate joining themselves.[21]

Yahoo! Groups Calendar revamped

In mid May an announcement appeared on the Groups web site warning members of an Upcoming Groups Calendar upgrade. According to the announcement members may not have access to their Group Calendar (for up to 24 hours). This announcement was still displayed on the home pages of all Yahoo! Groups on July 3, 2012.[22]

Group Chat Beta and Applications discontinued

In June 2012 a message appeared on top of all Group web sites announcing that the Beta Groups Chat and Applications will be shut down on July 4 and asking members to backup any data created.[23]


Yahoo! Groups Japan announces its closure

In December, Yahoo! Groups Japan emailed its users and posted a notice on its homepage to announce that its service, which commenced in February 2004, would be closing on 28 May 2014.[24]

Criticism and controversy

Message search 2009

On February 20, 2009, the search feature for messages stopped working. The official Yahoo! Groups blog stated that Yahoo was working to fix the problem.[25] It was eventually repaired.

Yahoo! Groups remodel 2010

On August 31, 2010, Yahoo! Groups started rolling out a major software change.[26] This change was denounced by a large number of users.[27] On September 29, 2010, Jim Stoneham, Vice President of Yahoo!’s Communities products, announced that based on members feedback Yahoo! Groups will be rolling back the recent changes.[28] The protests of Yahoo Group members[29] prompted Yahoo’s CEO Carol Bartz to tell USA Today during an interview that Yahoo will be letting Group users decide whether they want to stay with the old-format Groups or join the new-format [remodelled] Groups.[30] (Play video) The remodel was completely abandoned on January 12, 2011.[31]

Yahoo! Groups remodel 2013 "neo"

On August 7, 2013, Yahoo! Groups rolled out[32] a new web-interface redesign to randomly chosen users. The change was permanent for those users. Many users have taken to the help forum to voice their dissatisfaction[33] with this change, particularly in regards to lost features. Neo has now been rolled out to the majority of users. One of the main concerns with neo is that people with disabilities have been locked out of their support groups. According to The Register "46,000 people had clicked on the vote button to demand a return to the 'prior format that WORKS!'".[34] That same thread shows Yahoo representatives starting to address a small number of the complaints that have been voiced.

Spam targets

Yahoo! Groups have been the targets of various spamming campaigns throughout the years. Chester Wisniewski, a senior security advisor at Sophos, a computer security company, stated in 2011 that spam messages posted on Yahoo! Groups bypass spam filters by way of using digital signatures.[35]

Undocumented adoptions

According to a September 9, 2013 Reuters article "Americans use the Internet to abandon children adopted from overseas". Apparently Yahoo! and Facebook provide internet forums where parents advertise their unwanted kids for so-called re-homing. Yahoo! immediately closed down the forums that Reuters brought to their attention, while Facebook did not.[36]

Site statistics

In August 2008 YG staff reported 113 million users, 9 million Groups, and availability in 22 languages.[37]

The web analytics website Quantcast reported around 915 thousand unique visitors to the YG website(US) daily in July 2010. In January 2011 this number increased to 933 thousand unique visitors daily. This number does not include YG members who access the Groups site via email.[38]

In September 2010 at its "Product Runway" event, Yahoo told reporters that Yahoo! Groups has 115 million group members and 10 million Yahoo! Groups.[39]

See also


  1. "Do You Know the Hidden Goldmine Within Your Company?". The Huffington Post.
  2. Jose Hector, Darlington (30 September 2013). "Yahoo's best year in a long while". The India Express.
  3. "Yahoo Closes Chat Under Pressure". Archived from the original on January 4, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  4. 1 2 "Yahoo! Groups Blog » Beta Group Chat Live". 2011-02-01. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  5. "DailyStrength — the health support social network". November 26, 2006. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  6. "Yahoo buys email list service eGroups in stock deal". Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  7. "Yahoo! Media Relations" (Press release). Archived from the original on June 9, 2007. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  8. "Group Managers Forum". Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  9. "ResourceBlog Article: Yahoo! Groups Adds Advanced Search Options". 2006-06-22. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  10. "Yahoo! Accelerates Social Momentum - Integrates Facebook Globally Across More than 15 Yahoo! Sites" (Press release). Retrieved 25 November 2010.
  11. "Clarification about the Yahoo! Profiles photo announcement". March 27, 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
  12. (Vietnamese) Yahoo! Pulse Retrieved on 2010-11-20.
  13. "What's in store for Yahoo! Groups". 2008-07-14. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
  14. Groups Updates: CAPTCHA, Posting from the Owner Address, Email Moderation Archived December 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. "Yahoo! Groups". Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  16. What is the Updates Email? | Group Members Help. (2010-11-12). Retrieved on 2010-11-20.
  17. Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. "Yahoo! Groups Blog » Yahoo! Groups is house cleaning!". 2010-11-11. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  19. "Yahoo! Groups Blog » Yahoo! Groups cleanup questions & other concerns". 2010-11-16. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  20. "Groups Help Community". 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  21. "Groups Help | - SLN2567 - Inviting members to your group". 2013-05-20. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  22. "Messenger Help Community". Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  23. "Yahoo! Groups". Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  24. "Yahoo! Groups Japan". Retrieved 2013-12-22.
  25. Groups Update: Message Search, Moderator Logs, Bounce Management @Archived April 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  26. Yahoo! Groups Blog » Welcome to the improved Yahoo! Groups!. (2010-08-31). Retrieved on 2010-11-20. Archived September 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  27. de beste bron van informatie over tch crunch. Retrieved on 2010-11-20.
  28. Yahoo! Groups Blog » Latest Update on Our Changes. (2010-09-29). Retrieved on 2010-11-20. Archived December 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  29. Yahoo! Groups. Retrieved on 2010-11-20.
  30. Lieberman, David. (2010-10-08) Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz: 'creepy' Facebook is biggest rival. Usatoday.Com. Retrieved on 2010-11-20.
  31. "Yahoo! Groups Blog » New Groups Experience Rollback". 2011-01-10. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  32. Yahoo Groups Neo. yahoogroupedia. Retrieved on 2013-08-26.
  35. Spammers Now Exploting Yahoo and Google for their Spam Campaigns Retrieved 14 August 2013
  36. "Americans use the Internet to abandon children adopted from overseas". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-12-12.
  37. Yahoo! Groups Blog. Retrieved on 2010-11-20.
  38. "Quantcast profile for Yahoo! Groups". 2013-08-31. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
  39. Yahoo Refreshes, Upgrades Some Products,, 2010-09-17
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