Email scanning is said to be restricted to commercial content from retailers and businesses only and users do have the option to opt out.
But by continuing to sell data to advertisers in this way Oath is at odds with sector leader Google, which ceased scanning its own Gmail messages for commercial purposes last year. Microsoft meanwhile has said it has never leveraged email data for advertising purposes.
Yahoo has been scrabbling to find ways to monetise its legacy portfolio of websites as its user base declines in the face of fundamental shifts in consumption borne out of the rise of smartphones and social networking.
Doug Sharp, Oath’s vice president of data, measurements and insights said: “Email is an expensive system. I think it’s reasonable and ethical to expect the value exchange, if you’ve got this mail service and there is advertising going on.”
Oath was formed by Verizon last year in an attempt to forge an advertising rival to the likes of Google and Facebook and includes popular properties such as HuffPost and Yahoo Finance which remain attractive for advertisers.