AOL Launches Hotmail Competitor

In June, AOL will offer a free webmail service. This has a good chance of becoming one of the leading free email services, competing with such offerings as Hotmail and Yahoo.

Key differentiation points include:

  • Spam protection. AOL believes its spam protection is better than its competitors, due to personal whitelisting and blacklisting, and filters which adapt to the individual user
  • Users have up to 2GB storage
  • Built in search, that searches not just headers but also content
  • Rich web client functionality. Eg, drag and drop messages; message unsend; check status of messages within the network (eg whether the message has been read)
  • Mailbox is accessible by any IMAP client (POP not supported)
  • AIM integration. Eg, the AIM screen name is the left hand side of the email address (eg, if my AIM handle is fred, my email address is fred@aim.com); when you use the AIM client you are automatically logged into email; when in email, AIM presence information is automatically shown.

The free email service will make money by selling advertising space. It'll also generate revenues by feeding people to AOL's main portal and its advertising.

The service is current in beta. More information at

http://www.aim.com/get_aim/win/win_beta.adp?aolp=

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