September 07, 2008 |
I am sure that I will not exaggerate if I say every internet user is more than tired of getting constant notifications of winning a few thousand dollars or even a nice million in an email lottery. I remember first time I received such a notification myself (stating that I won 200 thousand dollars in Yahoo! Mail lottery) – my heart jumped and I started fantasizing about how exactly I could invest this money not to have to continue with my office job any more (that was long before Profy – this one is the office job I happen to enjoy).
Unfortunately, to my heavy disappointment I soon found out Yahoo! did not draw any prizes at all and the email was nothing but a phishing scam. Since then I have received hundreds of such emails claiming I won this or that impressive amount from some new entity but Yahoo! Mail has remained the one that was supposed to pay me the most – simply for being their user.
I know that you have explained already that your users should not expect to win anything – no matter how trustworthy those emails may seem to be. And my open letter is intended to let you know that as a user I am not happy about your approach. What’s more, I believe it may damage your brand once a user that instantly falls in love with Yahoo! after getting a winning notification discovers that it is nothing but a huge scam and Yahoo! is not sending any check in the near future to him or her.
So I strongly suggest that you finally make the decision and pioneer a new approach to encouraging and retaining users by drawing huge prizes occasionally. Let’s consider such a lottery to be one of the most remarkable promotion opportunities for Yahoo! Believe me, no one will even expect you to actually draw huge million-dollar prizes – amounts in the range from $1,000 to $100,000 will be perfectly enough – and you will only have to invest, say, $400 thousand to make a total of 118 users happy (with 1 winning $100K, two winners of $50K, 5 users to get $10K, 10 people to receive $5k and, finally, a whole one hundred users to get one thousand dollars each). And not only those 118 users will be happy – you will infuse hope in hearts of hundreds of thousands of your other users that are not lucky enough (this time, at least). And I don’t even expect to win anything myself for the idea, I just want to help you make the internet a little happier.
Besides, such a lottery is not only a chance for a great promotion, you can also use it to improve usage of Yahoo! Mail. Yes, I know that Yahoo! still has the largest number of email accounts (last time any information on this was revealed) – no matter how fast Gmail is growing. I know it is good to be huge – you must even feel secure already. But does that mean you should not try to make people continue using your service instead of migrating to Gmail? I think some incentives will not hurt in your case, really.
So to encourage people to use Yahoo! Mail you could only include those people that actually use the service in the prizes drawing – say, only users active every week should have a chance of winning the prizes from you. And, after all, believe me, you will make all the internet users at least a little happier once we have a hope that when we get a winning notification we can actually win something.