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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I Never Thought I'd See the Day: Yahoo Is "Good" Again

A couple of years ago, I wrote that Yahoo was "no longer good," in part because they showed too many ads that were too intrusive given the loyalty of the users they were showing them to:

"As I scroll through Yahoo message board posts, I must wait as enormous ads are served on every page. When I try to use my mailbox, I'm hammered again with huge rectangles of low-CPM disrespect. Some days it seems as if parts of Yahoo are entirely taken over by creepy ads for hidden cameras."

I've regularly blogged about my disgust with the fact that Yahoo continued showing ads to Yahoo Mail users even after they paid $40 or $50 for the premium inbox.

The fact that the largest premium inbox at 100 MB was still too small was made even more obvious when Google rolled out GMail proposing to give users 1GB of storage... for free.

Today, that's all changed. Premium users of Yahoo Mail (the customers who pay for a bigger inbox and more features) no longer see any ads at all! The increase in speed and the decrease in distraction are going to be significant. And the inbox is 2GB, twice what GMail offers.

My significant other down the hall reports that her Yahoo Mail box now offers 1GB, absolutely free, although it does continue to harbor ads, as one might expect.

Hey, don't misunderstand me. I'm not one of these deficit-budgeting schnooks who wants to get more than he pays for. It's not gimme, gimme, gimme, just "give me choices." I'm going on record as saying I'll pay up to $100 a year for the premium Yahoo Mail, just as long as they continue to respect me.

With the competition emanating from the Googleplex, that seems like a probable outcome.

Having gotten so used to Yahoo Mail, and finding it suddenly so in tune with my needs, something suddenly occurs to me: is there now any reason to switch to GMail now that Yahoo Mail runs faster, has a huge storage capacity, and doesn't distract me with big banners? I'm at a loss!

The little voice down the hall just called out: "GMail is still cooler." Perhaps, but one senses that Yahoo has adroitly played this one to a stalemate.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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