About 500 million Yahoo user accounts were hacked in 2014, the world learned this week. And at least anecdotally speaking, you just know that an awful lot of them belong to older people. It begs the question: Why do people ― even those who gravitated over to Gmail ― still hang on to their Yahoo accounts? Here are some of the reasons why:
1. It’s free.
Taken in the context of “this doesn’t cost me anything,” the motivation to proactively close the account is virtually nil. At least it was until we heard about this security breach. If someone has stolen your security data, it behooves you to change your password ― if not outright severe the umbilical cord that tethers you to the service that allowed it to happen. But that leads us to the next reason.
2. We can’t remember our passwords.
Seriously. It’s been years. We can’t even remember which security questions we picked. And this makes it .....
3. Too much of a hassle.
It’s not that we are lazy, but seriously, who has the time to do stuff like this?
4. We say things like “Yahoo isn’t so bad.”
OK, maybe we used to say that. It remains to be seen where this security breach ― which has been called the biggest one to date ― will lead. (Disclosure: Verizon, which is the parent company of The Huffington Post, announced plans to acquire Yahoo core properties for $4.83 billion,)
5. We keep old emails from people.
Yep, we are sentimental. We have folders that are a veritable treasure trove of old email memories ― missives from grandma who has since passed, when we announced to the universe that we were remarrying, when we were collecting advice about how to treat a chronic illness.
Our Yahoo folders are the online equivalent of not being able to toss out the landline answering machine because your now-deceased husband’s voice is on the outgoing message.
6. Because we don’t really care what others think.
This from a 2011 study reported on by Digital Trends: “Yahoo! users are most likely to be overweight women ages 18-49 who have a high school diploma and are spiritual, but not religious. They tend to be politically middle of the road, in a relationship of 1-5 years, and have children. ... At home, Yahoo! users lounge around in pajamas.” Overweight? Seriously?
7. Maybe we are just too fat to use Gmail?
Sorry, I’m still hung up on that one.
8. Yahoo is our spam email.
That’s right. We use it to sign up for things that we don’t care about so that people selling stuff can’t get in touch with us.
9. We came for the Yahoo Groups and just never left.
What they were good at long before we had Facebook ― or even MySpace ― was Yahoo Groups, where people got together and discussed things. Our recollection is that these discussions were fairly civil too.
10. Because even with Yahoo, we are still able to feel morally superior to the people who pay AOL for internet access.
Unbelievably, 2.1 million people are still paying AOL about $20 a month for the privilege of dialing up the internet. (Disclosure again: AOL bought The Huffington Post in 2011 and both properties are owned by Verizon.)
And yes, this is how the news makes us feel: