She’s Not Mad. She’s Just Not Using Exclamation Points.

A couple of other women joined me in going exclamation-free and learned quickly what employees expect of women bosses.

Feedback was immediate for one, a communications executive at a large San Francisco tech company. “Good job. You managed that well,” she wrote to one staffer who had deftly handled a tricky matter. The woman’s instant reply: “Are you mad at me?”

.. Perhaps her male colleagues wondered, but only women admitted to feeling discomfited by her tone, a reaction that echoes the work of Georgetown University linguist Deborah Tannen. Ms. Tannen has found that women (and men) expect emphasis and enthusiasm from other women, frequently in the form of exclamations or all-caps type.

.. Going without felt great, even freeing, at times. I stopped short of boss email—immediate, terse replies lacking context or punctuation, usually sent to underlings—but it was nice to be just another manager, making sure work gets done.

Maybe it even made me a better manager. I ended emails with questions for recipients to make clear I was interested in them, and I cheated with exclamations in disguise (“What would we do without you?”).

For the new staffer on my team, sending kudos without exclamation points prompted me to walk to her desk and praise her work—hardly revolutionary, but effective. Other times, I ditched email for that classic-but-ignored piece of office technology, the telephone.

Still, I was nagged by the sense that my tone was off-putting, despite my workarounds. That came into sharp relief at midmonth when our babysitter nearly quit, thinking she was about to be fired.

 

Yahoo, Bucking Industry, Scans Emails for Data to Sell Advertisers

Web giant analyzes more than 200 million inboxes for clues about what products people might buy—a practice much of Silicon Valley has declared off-limits

The U.S. tech industry has largely declared it is off limits to scan emails for information to sell to advertisers. Yahoo AABA +0.24% still sees the practice as a potential gold mine.

Yahoo’s owner, the Oath unit of Verizon Communications Inc., VZ +0.20% has been pitching a service to advertisers that analyzes more than 200 million Yahoo Mail inboxes and the rich user data they contain, searching for clues about what products those users might buy, said people who have attended Oath’s presentations as well as current and former employees of the company.

Oath said the practice extends to AOL Mail, which it also owns. Together, they constitute the only major U.S. email provider that scans user inboxes for marketing purposes.

.. Yahoo’s practice began more than a decade ago and expanded over the years, said a person familiar with the matter. The company has increasingly looked for new ways to wring revenue out of its aging portfolio of web properties, which have stagnated in the era of smartphones and social networking.

.. When Verizon created Oath last year, it envisioned the new unit as a future advertising rival to Google and Facebook Inc. for its potential to marry data on Verizon’s vast pool of wireless subscribers with Yahoo’s highly trafficked online hubs, Verizon executives have said.

Oath owns dozens of popular websites, such as HuffPost and Yahoo Finance. It helps advertisers show messages on these sites as well as across the web, using a variety of ad-placement services.

 .. Email scanning has become one of the company’s most effective methods for improving ad targeting, said Doug Sharp
.. Mr. Sharp said that being served ads is part of the trade-off users make in exchange for free online services, and that Yahoo’s research shows they prefer ads that are relevant to them.
.. Oath promises to give advertisers an edge by identifying groups of users who have bought certain products or services based on the receipts, travel itineraries and promotions in their inboxes
.. Google said it stopped targeting ads based on Gmail data last year, saying it wanted users to “remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount.”
.. Google already collects so much data from its search engine that it no longer needed to rely on email data
.. Oath’s email scanning appears to go a step further than Google’s former system, by creating interest profiles of users based on the data in their email and using that intelligence to target them elsewhere on the web.
.. Yahoo Mail users who receive frequent emails about driving for Lyft Inc. are sometimes placed into a “self-employed” audience, Mr. Sharp said. Some people who bought several plane tickets in the past year are labeled frequent travelers
.. Oath uses receipts in Yahoo Mail inboxes as proof that an ad campaign convinced a user to buy a product
.. Oath’s new privacy policy prevents users from filing class-action suits and instead requires them to pursue their grievances through arbitration or small-claims court.
..  In 2015, Amazon stopped including full itemized receipts in the emails it sends customers, partly because the company didn’t want Yahoo and others gathering that data for their own use

Tech’s ‘Dirty Secret’: The App Developers Sifting Through Your Gmail

Software developers scan hundreds of millions of emails of users who sign up for email-based services

Google said a year ago it would stop its computers from scanning the inboxes of Gmail users for information to personalize advertisements, saying it wanted users to “remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount.”

.. But the internet giant continues to let hundreds of outside software developers scan the inboxes of millions of Gmail users who signed up for email-based services offering shopping price comparisons, automated travel-itinerary planners or other tools.

.. One of those companies is Return Path Inc., which collects data for marketers by scanning the inboxes of more than two million people who have signed up for one of the free apps in Return Path’s partner network using a Gmail, Microsoft Corp. or Yahoo email address. Computers normally do the scanning, analyzing about 100 million emails a day. At one point about two years ago, Return Path employees read about 8,000 unredacted emails to help train the company’s software, people familiar with the episode say.

.. Letting employees read user emails has become “common practice” for companies that collect this type of data, says Thede Loder, the former chief technology officer at eDataSource Inc., a rival to Return Path. He says engineers at eDataSource occasionally reviewed emails when building and improving software algorithms.

.. Gmail is especially valuable as the world’s dominant email service, with 1.4 billion users. Nearly two-thirds of all active email users globally have a Gmail account
.. Gmail has more users than the next 25 largest email providers combined.

Kushner used private email to conduct White House business

The senior adviser set up the account after the election. Other West Wing officials have also used private email accounts for official business.

Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, set up their private family domain late last year before moving to Washington from New York, according to people with knowledge of events as well as publicly available internet registration records. At the time, Kushner — who served as a senior campaign adviser — was expected to be named to a White House role, while Ivanka Trump was publicly saying she didn’t plan to work in her father’s administration.

.. People familiar with the account say it was primarily set up for Kushner’s personal communications, but he has used it to communicate with acquaintances outside the White House about matters relating to Trump and the administration, according to people who have received messages, as well as with his White House colleagues.
.. Private email traffic among White House aides — some of it sent between personal email accounts rather than to or from government addresses — could skirt the requirements of the Presidential Records Act, which requires all documents related to the president’s personal and political activities to be archived.
.. Other White House officials have also sometimes used personal accounts to correspond with Kushner and with each other, according to emails seen by POLITICO and people familiar with Kushner’s correspondence. They have also used encrypted apps like Signal and Confide that automatically delete messages, prompting former press secretary Sean Spicer in February to issue a warning to communications staffers that using such apps could violate the Presidential Records Act.
.. The use of personal email accounts in the Trump White House has been somewhat common, even though the president has been a harsh critic of Clinton’s private email habits, frequently leading “lock her up” chants as he traveled across the country on the campaign trail.
.. If emails related to Trump aren’t saved, it could be difficult for historians, according to Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University. Zelizer said that historians can provide a richer history of how administrations work — and historians have feared for years that the proliferation of email will lead some people to do their business in ways in which the records can’t be archived. Zelizer said it could also make the job more difficult for investigators seeking to understand parts of the White House.