(AFP) – Jun 18, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — Yahoo on Thursday is tripling the size of its globally-popular free online email service by adding two new domains as options to "@yahoo.com" addresses.
The introduction of "@ymail.com" and "@rocketmail.com" as Yahoo email address options comes as the pioneering Internet firm strives to convince investors it is on a path to reclaim faded glory and eroded revenues.
Yahoo Mail is the most popular web-based email in the world. Its profitable ad-supported service has approximately 266 million users, according to industry statistics.
Adding new domains is intended to let users who have outgrown or never really liked their yahoo.com email addresses to have chances at better choices.
"We recognize that people want an email address that reflects who they are," Yahoo Mail vice president John Kremer told AFP.
"We have a lot of user IDs out there and it is pretty crowded. We want to remedy that and make sure users get the ID they want."
Free email addresses are typically assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, meaning newcomers choosing yahoo.com IDs are unlikely to get their names or other prime choices when signing up.
A Harris Interactive study commissioned by Yahoo concluded that 70 percent of adults using the Internet would select an email address that includes all or part of their names.
Yahoo says the rocketmail and ymail choices are meant to give another chance to email users saddled with addresses such as "CutiePie4ever80" or "Mary2455."
"A happy user is one that stays around and is a Yahoo user for life," Kremer said.
"If you have an email address that is your name at ymail, that becomes part of your identity."
Yahoo expects users to readily recognize "ymail" because it is used for a version of the email customized for mobile devices.
Rocketmail has a "hip retro feel" because it is a resurrected email address that belonged to a company Yahoo bought in 1997, according to Kremer.
"This adds millions and millions of new Yahoo accounts out there for users," Kremer said. "Effectively, we are tripling the size of the Yahoo name space."
If there is a "land rush" that results in the new domains being stripped of ID choices, Yahoo may establish new domains based on the names of some of its other online properties, according to Kremer.
Yahoo began relentlessly rolling out alliances, innovations and improved Internet services after Microsoft went public with a takeover bid in February.
The pace of announcements remains unabated as Yahoo faces a possible rebellion by stockholders upset that it failed to close a deal with Microsoft, which raised its bid to nearly 50 billion dollars before walking away.
Billionaire corporate raider Carl Icahn has gobbled up more than four percent of Yahoo's stock and is leading a campaign to oust all 10 members of Yahoo's board at an annual shareholders meeting set for August 1.
Icahn accuses the board members of bungling a deal with Microsoft. Yahoo executives are eager to convince stockholders that the California firm is being managed with their best interests at heart.
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