Yahoo!Mail to start charging for services.
March 20, 2002 10:11 PM   Subscribe

Yahoo!Mail to start charging for services. Effective April 24, 2002, Yahoo! Mail will no longer provide free POP3 Access or Auto Mail Forwarding to Yahoo! Delivers subscribers. What's your take on this?
posted by arrowhead (42 comments total)
Guess I'll cancel that Yahoo! account.
posted by D at 10:23 PM on March 20, 2002

yahoo! is getting way too greedy, first by taking away the ftp of the free geocities accounts, and now this?
posted by Kafei at 10:27 PM on March 20, 2002

Sounds fine to me. They are a business, after all -- and webmail is still free. Which is pretty damn cool, I think.
posted by mattpfeff at 10:49 PM on March 20, 2002

well i could already see subscription services coming... after all, Yahoo's still a business... and their mail services are pretty good.

but im a malaysian, and after currency conversion to the USD... i consider the price pretty steep for a service that i could get for free elsewhere.
posted by arrowhead at 11:09 PM on March 20, 2002

No shock here...though I really wish they wouldn't do this. I was quite enjoying checking Yahoo! Mail through MS Outlook. I already go to too many sites on a daily or near daily basis...I'd rather not add another.
posted by jacobw at 11:13 PM on March 20, 2002

I just wish they had better explanations than this:

6. Why is Yahoo! Mail introducing a yearly subscription fee for this service?

A service fee allows us to improve service quality (by offering improvements such as increased attachment size and no promotional text on outbound messages) and reduce spam (unsolicited commercial email).

Their webmail rocks though. I wonder if their service fee will reduce the huge screaming ads us webmail users see?
posted by jessamyn at 11:29 PM on March 20, 2002

The version of Lycos' free mail service allows 15 meg of storage, POP3 access, and importantly - SMTP access with unlimited attachment size for outgoing mail. It's the best free mail deal on the web right now. Yahoo/Hotmail users who find themselves peeved at recent changes might wanna give it a whirl.

How long it'll be til they chase the trend remains to be seen, but i've had no probs with it so far.
posted by Kino at 11:51 PM on March 20, 2002

Does anyone actually have a Yahoo! wallet?
posted by tdca at 11:59 PM on March 20, 2002

How odd.
I have two addresses, and yet have not rec'd info on this. Neither is there any info in online help. I have set them up to be forwarded via OE, and rarely visit the site, but would do so if this occurred.

Try signing up via, it may be a loophole!
posted by dash_slot- at 12:04 AM on March 21, 2002

tdca: no

I can understand where Yahoo are coming from and I respect that they have to make money.

I'd seen something like this coming though, and have been changing email addresses on each place on the web that I'd registered with my Yahoo address, for the last 3 months.
posted by ajbattrick at 12:05 AM on March 21, 2002

I'll be cancelling. Their service is okay; it's not great. It's most assuredly not worth $30/yr.
posted by aaron at 12:14 AM on March 21, 2002

I'm glad that they aren't charging people who access mail through the web based interface. I'm a moderator in a couple of groups on Yahoo, and pretty much only use the email account for those groups. I also find myself at three or four different computers during the course of a day, so the web based email is useful. I just wonder, how long will the groups remain free? There have been rumbling noises arising from Sunnyvale, California about charging for premium access to groups.
posted by bragadocchio at 12:32 AM on March 21, 2002

I don’t understand why anyone would pay for this. Most people I know who use yahoo accounts do so because they don’t have a home computer and need to use webmail. Everyone else gets e-mail through their ISP, school or their own site. I only use yahoo mail as a secondary address I give out when I expect someone to send me spam.
posted by Gary at 1:29 AM on March 21, 2002

skallas: it's $30/year, not $30/month.

gary: I might pay for it. Yahoo is my primary account mainly because it's semi-permanent. I think using an email application is better than the using their web interface. Plus, I like to archive my email, and this will be the only way to export it.

Not everyone has a real ISP account.

I hate how they're holding my account hostage, though.
posted by maschnitz at 1:35 AM on March 21, 2002

"Email without the Yahoo! promotional text at the bottom when sent through Yahoo!'s SMTP servers" is a very nice thing. I miss the old days when all my friends were in college, and we all had .edu email accounts, and thus no promotional crap at the bottom of our emails. Most of my friends use free email now, so in every email there's text that you have to ignore - at this point it's become a subconscious act to not read the last couple of lines.

I wonder: if you pony up the cash, will they not load banner ads if you check your email on the web?
posted by panopticon at 1:35 AM on March 21, 2002

panopticon: usually you can get an alumni account from your college or university for a nominal fee.

skallas: reverse engineered for other ads? no, but for blocking the oe ads? definately...
posted by yonderboy at 2:33 AM on March 21, 2002

I have to major Yahoo! Mail accounts (one is my primary e-mail, the other is for the lists and groups that I subscribe) and one account that I use to subscribe to sites and get my junky mail and spam. I tend to stick to Yahoo! instead of my ISP because I've changed my ISP several times before and it sucked having to warn all your friends about your address change.

I guess I'll have to pay for it, since I'm no fan of webmail and I do use e-mail a lot, on a daily basis. It would take me too much time to warn all my contacts about a new e-mail address. What I'll end up doing is register my own domain and place it at a friend's server. It'll probably cost me the same $30 or more, but I won't have to deal with the constant changes of their business model.
posted by rexgregbr at 3:43 AM on March 21, 2002

I get POP-like service from hotmail for free, but that means I'm stuck with OE. Even Outlook doesn't support this undocumented protocol.

Try pop3hot. If you're willing to put up with the occassional hiccup (and they're pretty rare, at least on my system), you can access hotmail with any email client.
posted by gd779 at 4:26 AM on March 21, 2002

No the ads probably won't go away. That is what the sell their business class e-mail for.

I just use my web hosting, and use the webmail script offered by my host.
posted by benjh at 4:39 AM on March 21, 2002

I get POP-like service from hotmail for free, but that means I'm stuck with OE. Even Outlook doesn't support this undocumented protocol.

Outlook 2002 supports Hotmail. But it ends up crashing the app so much that it isn't worth using.
posted by adampsyche at 4:55 AM on March 21, 2002

Get a friend with a mac to setup a POP account for you... They even have authenticated SMTP.
posted by machaus at 5:26 AM on March 21, 2002

Bizarrely, this doesn't appear to include Yahoo! Mail UK.
posted by Mwongozi at 6:34 AM on March 21, 2002

yonderboy, my old school hasn't gotten with the times, all the give alumni is email forwarding, so you still need a real email account from somewhere...
posted by panopticon at 6:59 AM on March 21, 2002

Note that the fee is only for premium services. Keeping a Yahoo account and logging into to check your email is still free. From the FAQ:

If I decide not to subscribe to the POP/Mail Forwarding yearly service, will I be able to access my messages after April 24th?
If you decide not to subscribe, you will still have access to your messages on the Yahoo! Mail web site but you would not be able to access them through POP or receive them in another email address.

My Yahoo Mail account will still serve me just fine, thanks.
posted by werty at 6:59 AM on March 21, 2002

Sure werty, but it's quite evident they're limiting the conveniences of free email little by little in favor of a full-on pay scheme on the near future. You see it in Geocities and most other "free" popular web service providers at this time.

I don't want to know what this will mean for millions of international (3rd world) Yahoo or Hotmail users who don't even have or can apply for international credit cards.
posted by betobeto at 7:50 AM on March 21, 2002

As long as they keep offering the portal for free, I don't care. But, I guess I should care, becuuse like betobeto alluded, it could be a sign of things to come. is damn near worth paying for.
posted by adampsyche at 7:57 AM on March 21, 2002

I do not consider POP access a "premium service." It never was before.

usually you can get an alumni account from your college or university for a nominal fee.

Most of those are just email forwarders. You still have to pay somebody somewhere for an actual account to which they can forward said email.

I'll never understand how we allowed ourselves to "evolve" technologically to a point where mail is worse than it was 10 years ago. Back when everyone was using PINE through a 2400-bps telnet connection, you could plow through 100 messages in just a few minutes, everything was text-based so you didn't have to sit around waiting for every email to RENDER itself, while your hard drive whirred after every push of the "delete" key ... this is why I can't wait to switch to OS X, so at least I can get my email back under some semblance of control.
posted by aaron at 8:27 AM on March 21, 2002

I understand why they're doing this, but wish it was just a little better value. I'd pay the $30 for the POP in a heartbeat if they kicked in a little extra storage space, say 10 MB. I can't imagine that would cost them that much extra to provide. As it stands, POP plus extra storage would run you $40 or more per year.
posted by nobody_knose at 8:29 AM on March 21, 2002

God, a lot of the comments here seem to have a "how DARE they take away the service that I have been using and not having to pay a cent for!" undertone; it's like people forget that there really is no free service, and that companies need to make money somehow in order to keep providing the services that people like.
posted by delfuego at 8:44 AM on March 21, 2002

I can understand Yahoo's motivation. I use this service all the time and I am almost willing to pay for it. I will miss the pop3 access but I can live without it.
posted by borgle at 9:03 AM on March 21, 2002

Yahoo thinks they can do a cable tv: first give away something to attract an audience for advertisers, then stop giving it away. Sadly for Yahoo, there are way more similar services than cable channels. They will not succeed.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:04 AM on March 21, 2002

using PINE through a 2400-bps telnet connection, you could plow through 100 messages in just a few minutes

You could always choose to get your email through a freenet and still relive the good old days, except now you can delete email at 500Kbps. Does anyone remember when Yahoo offered dial-up?
posted by jessamyn at 10:08 AM on March 21, 2002

dial up? what's that?
posted by rhizome23 at 10:12 AM on March 21, 2002

delfuego: I guess the tone here is much more "I think they're charging too much for too little". I don't know about the average charges for the service they are offering (basically, POP and forward, no extra space, no add-free messages), but US$30,00/year is way too much for a brazilian customer like me - we have cheaper options offering the same.

Also, it's not clear how this charging model will work in other countries. The brazilian Yahoo! Mail service is not displaying any warnings about it yet. How do I subscribe to that? What if I don't want Yahoo! Wallet?

Last, but not least, you might think it's a free service, but you gotta remember that you have to put up with adds and some dreadfull pop-ups, including the X-10 webcam.

Me? I think it's all google's fault for being succesfull... :-)
posted by rexgregbr at 10:18 AM on March 21, 2002

posted by Satapher at 11:24 AM on March 21, 2002

It was inevitable.

Wake me when they start charging subscriptions fees to access the whole domain.
posted by ratbastard at 12:02 PM on March 21, 2002

Capitalism at work...gotta love it. Yahoo's mail service is still pretty good, so I guess I'll be sticking with it, although it'll mean I have to do more than open OE to check my mail.
posted by Spinderella56 at 1:07 PM on March 21, 2002 is the best free email service by and for power users. It does just about anything you want and is a simple fast interface.
posted by stbalbach at 2:06 PM on March 21, 2002

Our domain hosting service lets you install WebMail (which they license, I believe - I THINK this is the correct URL), so that, while I have to log in to each account separately, I can still access my domain pop accounts through the browser if I have/want to. Doesn't let me access OTHER pop accounts like other webmail does/did, but it's something, and has certainly come in handy now and again!
posted by thunder at 3:55 PM on March 21, 2002

' is the best free email service by and for power users. It does just about anything you want and is a simple fast interface. '

You're joking aren't ya? It doesn't even offer SMTP without payment. The complete inability to SEND mail thru the service without a/ caughing up cash, or b/ using their webmail browser based interface (html composition-less, virus scanner-less..), makes this service just another also ran in the best offering contest. What 'power user' wants to browse his mail at feature disabled 'guest level' and then have to fire up his web browser, log in, etc, for the ability to respond to it. Fastmail shatshmail.

On top of that, mail checking on free accounts and the first rung of payment accounts is IMAP only. They don't even offer POP access unless ya shell out $20 a year. 45 days no login = account closure, they list ads as a 'coming enhancement'. max storage limit = 10 meg, max monthly transfer limit = 40 meg.
posted by Kino at 5:44 PM on March 21, 2002

Sure, modern IM clients are portable and the buddy list does away with knowing the domain the user you're contacting, but the service is a lot weaker than it was when I had a shell account.

This is one of the reasons I'm finally getting a ham radio license. They still operate all sorts of comparatively old-fashioned BBSes and slow-speed networks and such. It's a shame the overwhelming majority of hams (in the US, anyway) are males over the age of 50. There's any number of cool geeky things our generation could get involved with and develop via ham radio. (Wireless networks? They've got about a 20-year head start on 802.11.)
posted by aaron at 9:42 PM on March 22, 2002

Yeah. The independence aspect seems attractive, as does the sense of achievement from soldering enough wires together to contribute to the infrastructure of an alternative network on a more local level.

The phallic motivation is there too. I'd definitely like to have the biggest antenna in town shooting skywards from my roof as i cranked out the power.. knowing i was doing my bit to up the stakes; if enough people caved in to these tribal caveman urges and attempted to upstage my super rod (yeah, right..), then the network would r0x0r!. Enough of these networks and the world would. Or, at least, the world we were all lost in.

The state of the nation in that world seems shipshape at present too. Combine the emergence of modern wireless data networks with the shake up in analogue frequencies, the forward march of compression technologies, record levels of geeks ready to play, public service band hopping and the exodus to digital of commercial FM/AM bandwidth hogs and sociological explosions occur. People at last have the chance to be part of something special, something approaching a truly independent community net, and something fully unattainable whilst at the mercy of an ISP and cable/telecoms communications provider.

If enough of these nets hook up, they could, like, change the world man. Forever. Farout.
posted by Kino at 9:58 AM on March 23, 2002

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