News broke yesterday that Yahoo is stopping ad-block users from accessing their Yahoo Mail accounts. These individuals can’t get to their inboxes without first disabling their ad blockers, and they’re unsurprisingly not pleased.

We dug up old Yahoo Mail accounts to try this ourselves, but couldn’t reproduce the issue, so we reached out to Yahoo. The company told us that not everyone is getting blocked.

“At Yahoo, we are continually developing and testing new product experiences,” a Yahoo spokesperson told VentureBeat. “This is a test we’re running for a small number of Yahoo Mail users in the U.S.”


So yes, “We were unable to display Yahoo Mail” is a lie. Come on Yahoo, just tell it like it is. The ADBLK_TRAP in the URL (see above) doesn’t help sell your tale, as anyone can add it and get this “error.”

Yahoo Mail’s new trick was first spotted by DigiDay, which discovered an Adblock Plus forum post by a user who goes by the name portnoyd. While portnoyd came up with a five-step workaround to access Yahoo Mail even with Adblock Plus turned on, many Yahoo Mail users have taken to social networks like Twitter to complain.

This isn’t the first time a major company has experimented with blocking ad-block users, and it certainly won’t be the last. But one must wonder why Yahoo is doing this now.

A quick check shows that Yahoo this week rolled out new targeting features across its Gemini platform:

It’s the season of giving, so we’re loading up Yahoo Gemini — our proprietary marketplace for search and native advertising across devices — with new features and enhancements to give advertisers even more functionality for ringing in sales. Our new conversion optimization feature allows advertisers to improve campaign performance by optimizing conversions toward a target cost per acquisition (CPA), while an enhancement to our custom audience capability enables advertisers to target users with native ads based on their in-app actions.

With Yahoo Gemini, you can target interested audiences by leveraging billions of data points that signal intent, reach them across screens, and engage them with native ads to drive measurable results.

Oh, our users are blocking ads? Let’s see what we can do about that…