Introducing the Yahoo! Mail Web Service

At Yahoo!, we pride ourselves on helping people around the world (over 500 million of them!) connect and communicate with each other using the vast array of communications platforms we offer. Of those platforms, the most popular is Yahoo! Mail, with nearly 250 million users worldwide, making Yahoo! Mail the #1 email provider in the world. I've had a Yahoo! Mail account for years, and for me, Yahoo! Mail passes the proverbial "mom test" -- my mother is a loyal Yahoo! Mail user. Chances are that you use Yahoo! Mail to communicate with someone you care about, and we're proud that Yahoo! Mail continues to be integral to so many lives.

While we are certainly proud of the success of Yahoo! Mail, today we are announcing how we are going beyond the boundaries of the Yahoo! network and enabling developers to build new tools or applications around Yahoo! Mail. We are thrilled to announce the open availability of the Yahoo! Mail Web Service, web service for Yahoo! Mail (accessible via SOAP or JSON-RPC) that we previewed to Yahoo! Hack Day attendees. With the Yahoo! Mail Web Service, you can connect to the core mail platform to perform typical mailbox tasks for premium users such as list messages and folders, and compose and send messages (you can also build mail preview tools for free users with limited Web Service functionality). In other words, developers outside of Yahoo! can now build mail tools or applications on the same infrastructure we use to build the highly-scaled Yahoo! Mail service that serves nearly 250 million Yahoo! Mail users today -- users who might want to help you make some cash with your application.

Yes, cash. With this release, Yahoo! Mail Web Service developers can earn referral commissions by building compelling applications targeted at our premium email users. For a trial period, Yahoo! Mail is offering an incentive for developers to build applications using the full functionality available for premium Yahoo! Mail accounts. Specifically, Yahoo! Mail is currently providing a commission of $10.00 for every new Yahoo! Mail Plus account referred by approved developers. Read the Yahoo! Mail Web Service documentation for more details on how to participate. As the program evolves, we will continue to evaluate and consider additional business models for developers, ISVs, and partners. Let us know what you would like to see in the comments, or post to our suggestion board -- we're listening.

The Yahoo! Mail Web Service is a big release for Yahoo! and the Internet, and it's only the beginning of what you'll be seeing from Yahoo!. Jump into our code samples for Java, .NET, PHP, Perl and Python, and build your dream mail app today, then be sure to give us feedback on your experience so we can continue to make the API even better. Be sure to leverage the online Yahoo! Mail Web Service support group where you can get help from the Yahoo! Mail Web Service team and your fellow developers. We can't wait to see what applications you will build when you add your imagination to the platform. Maybe you want to build an application that backs up Yahoo! mail targeted at a large number of Yahoo! users, or maybe you just want to add a niche feature that makes Yahoo! Mail better for your mom. For inspiration, we've gathered a few applications:

You can show your applications to the world by adding them to the Yahoo! Developer Network Gallery under the Mail category. This is an exciting time for us at Yahoo! as we continue to push innovations like the Yahoo! Mail Web Service to the developer community. By offering a platform that is scalable, reliable, and already being used by nearly 250 million customers worldwide, we're enabling developers of all types to harness the massive power of the Yahoo! network and platform. We can't wait to see what you build on the world's #1 email platform!

You can watch a short screencast here (or download the full video) with Ryan Kennedy as he explains more about the Yahoo! Mail Web Service in detail:

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And Hack Day hacker Leah Culver demonstrates her Flickr Postcard hack which uses Yahoo! Mail Web Service too (full download here):

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Chad Dickerson, Head of Yahoo! Developer Network