RealTime IT News

Korean Sites Offer Free E-mail With Extras

Local Internet portal sites in Korea are struggling to gain an edge by introducing free e-mail services with added features.

Yahoo! Korea, the nation's leading Internet portal, started to offer free e-mail service in mid-July, which also includes new functions such as e-mail filtering that classifies received e-mails automatically, and another function that enables users to block e-mail messages from strangers' addresses.

Lycos Korea, which launched its search service at the beginning of this month, is expected to offer and e-mail service that will include wireless messaging service for delivery of messages to alpha-numeric pagers and cellular phones.

Unitel, one of the Korea's leading online-information providers which is affiliated with Samsung Group, is to launch an Internet portal site this September. The company plans to offer an e-mail service that enables users to confirm whether the recipients got their e-mails or not.

Industry analysts say that the reason why Internet portals stick to competition in free e-mail service is that it is believed to be one of the most efficient ways to secure registered members and therefore ad revenue.

Despite boasting millions of daily average page views, popular search engines like Yahoo! Korea were disadvantaged because they had few regular members when compared to the local competition.

At the same time, existing free Web based e-mail services such as Hanmail Net and Netian are also strengthening their e-mail service in order to keep registered users from shifting to other new e-mail services.

Daum Communications, which has around 2 million registered free e-mail users, plans to add a virus checking function to its existing e-mail service 'Hanmail Net' from the beginning of August this year.

Dr. Ahn's Anti-Virus Laboratories, which is the most renowned computer virus laboratory in Korea, and Daum Communications have recently reached an agreement to provide Hanmail Net's registered users with anti-virus service.

Sources say that the anti-virus service makes an early diagnosis with its program 'V3' before users open files attached to e-mails they received.