POP Goes The Yahoo! Mail

For many soon-to-be dispossessed Yahoo! Mail users who formerly enjoyed POP3 and email forwarding services for free, the choice is simple, either stay and pay, or move on.

A notice from the Internet’s biggest commerce and entertainment portal was posted yesterday stating that effective April 24, free POP3 and Auto Mail Forwarding services for Yahoo! Delivers’ subscribers must either sign up for Yahoo!’s new POP3 fee-based email package, or vacate their accounts.

Only Yahoo! Web-based email will remain free.

According to the notice, under the new fee-based account system, Microsoft Outlook, Eudora, or other POP3 clients will manage Yahoo! Mail and will also automatically forward mail to specified accounts.

The new package also enables POP3 users to send larger attachments of up to 5MB. The former limit was 1.5MB.

If users don’t respond to the pay or play dictum by the April deadline, access to Yahoo! Mail message accounts will be cut off.

While Yahoo! representatives would not elaborate on Yahoo!’s motivation for moving from a free to fee-based POP3 system, reasons offered were that that new package offers more features and that a fee-based package might deter spammers.

For new recruits that sign up before the cutoff date, Yahoo! will charge a $19.99 fee for a year’s worth of services. After April 24, the package goes for a whopping $29.99.

Industry analysts have spotted an increasing trend among Web sites that formerly gave away free services to a gradual move toward incorporating fee-based services intended to either overshadow free services, or eliminate them altogether.

Terra Lycos recently launched a subscription-based gaming business as part of its gradual migration away from free services to fee-based services with more bells and whistles.

Merriam-Webster online is also trying to offset free access to its Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus by luring educators and institutions toward fee-based subscription access to its Third New International Dictionary.

Yahoo! is also said to be in the test phase of offering users a number of new subscription-based services, in particular one that provides movies on demand, soap opera gossip, and other entertainment features.

For POP3 users who are in a tailspin over the changeover from free to fee, there are still dozens, if not hundreds, of providers who offer POP3 services for free in exchange for the opportunity to barrage the email recipient with banner advertising, email ad tags, and direct email advertising.

Some free email services include Arabia.com, E-OminNet, Fastmail.fm, Freemark, HotPop, HowlerMonkey, and iMailBox.

For a more complete list of free POP3 services, visit the Internet E-Mail List or Free Email Address Directory.

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