How to Move a Yahoo List to a Private Listserv

How to Move a Yahoo List to a Private Listserv

Tired of Yahoo Groups? Thinking of moving to or another private listserv? You’ll want to make the transition as seamless as possible. And you’ll probably want to bring some of your hard-won data with you, like a members list and an archive of emails. I’m afraid I have both just OK and annoying news for you on that front. But in this article, I’ll do my best to help you move a Yahoo Group to a new listserv.

Before You Move a Yahoo Group to a New Listserv

  * Make sure that your new listserv is all set up, and you know, basically, how to use it.
  * Make sure to configure your new listserv to have the same Reply/Reply All settings as your last, to ease the transition.
  * Make sure everyone knows you're moving.
  * Make a moving list so you don't forget anything or anyone.

Downloading Your Data

Here’s the annoying news, it’s pretty hard to move data off of a Yahoo group, especially since the advent of Neo in 2013. For some reason, Yahoo’s made it as difficult as possible to move a Yahoo Group to a new listserv.

An Email Archive

If you’re looking for an email archive to transfer, it’s impossible to download an archive straight from Yahoo without an invasive and tedious script that requires a lot of computer no-how. But, there is a simpler solution if you have the kind of members that keep their own archives. Have them export their list email folder as a MBOX file, which can be done from almost any email reader. (How to Export a MBOX file from Yahoo Mail and Gmail.) Here at, at least, we can then import that file to a web archive.

Member List

Before you do that, though, you’ll need to decide how you want to migrate your subscribers. While you can simply drop everyone into your new list, without any confirmation process, it might be best to ask people to reply and confirm that they want to join your version.

Now onto exporting. You can download your member list from Yahoo Groups, but it will only export up to 1000 members.

  * Log in to your Yahoo Groups account.
  * On the right side of the main Yahoo Groups menu, click Management. (If you don't see this, you may not have management rights in your group.)
  * Then click Manage Members.
  * Click the Members tab.
  * At the top, click Actions, then click Export.
  * You can then choose to export as CSV or TSV. (A CSV is a document with names and address separated by commas. In a TSV, they're separated by tabs. Excel can read either one.)

You should then be able to copy and paste your list to add them to your new listserv.

An easier way, but with the possibility of losing members, is to just make an announcement on your group with clear (VERY CLEAR) moving instructions and let people move themselves. Any way you do it, though, you’re still going to have attrition, as some members won’t want to use the new platform or may just give up on the list when things become confusing.

Cleaning Up

Don’t forget to shut down the Yahoo Group, or at least configure it so that you have to approve all messages.  Otherwise, you run the risk of some people not migrating to your new list, and then you end up with competing groups. Plus, your old group might just decay and become a spam producer if you abandon it without shutting down.

Are you thinking of abandoning Yahoo Groups? Talk to us about your experience!