New webmail stats show Yahoo down, Hotmail in the lead

An interesting story in the Wall Street Journal today, citing comScore statistics on who’s hot and who’s not in webmail:

As mail traffic at Yahoo has dropped an average of 11% in 2010 versus last year, the fall in its overall U.S. traffic has averaged 8%. Yahoo Mail remains top in total email page views in the U.S., but Microsoft‘s Hotmail and Google’s Gmail are grabbing share. Internationally, Hotmail has the most page views, and is building its lead according to comScore.

In my experience, power users tend to scoff at any webmail service other than Gmail. And some people (myself included) have multiple e-mail accounts but access them through a desktop client. Hotmail’s age and its onetime reputation as a haven for spammers make it hard to get techies to look closely at it. That’s too bad, because the new Windows Live Hotmail service is downright impressive, with a slick, fast interface and some new features that do a very good job of sweeping away clutter. Gmail is making some impressive innovations as well, especially with its Priority Inbox feature, which tries to bubble important messages to the top of your inbox and push routine mail lower down on the stack. It’s an old idea, one that has been available for Outlook users with the ClearContext add-in, but it seems to be well implemented.

Given the impressive advances in both Windows Live Hotmail and Gmail, I’m skeptical that Yahoo can actually make much of a dent.

Any Yahoo Mail users out there have a contrary opinion? Why do you continue to use that service in preference to others?

14 thoughts on “New webmail stats show Yahoo down, Hotmail in the lead

  1. I actually had a Hotmail account way back. I now have a gmail and yahoo account. Interestingly, I use the Yahoo account as a backup for the gmail account by using the gmail forwarding feature so that if gmail is down my mail is forwarded to yahoo and I can still read it. I have all my contacts in the Yahoo account and use it while gmail is down.

  2. I have used Yahoo mail for over 9 years now and it has done me well. I have tried Hot mail and soon closed that account. I got tired of all the spam and junk that makes its way into Hot mail. Never have had that problem with Yahoo. Out of over 200 emails, I might get one spam get through to my main account. Seems that nowadays, if you are not with Hotmail, or Gmail, you are not trendy and not one of the crowd. You can keep your funky email accounts that are ad ridden. I’ll stick with what works.

  3. I’ve also enjoyed the new Hotmail features the few times I’ve checked my account since they were implemented (…no explanation). It’s a bit unnerving to lose the once ever-present Delete button, but the new context menus made up for it – making work as quick as running any GUI application running on your desktop (quicker in fact because it doesn’t have to sync with a remote server, it IS the remote server).

    I haven’t checked Yahoo email regularly either, but did look in on it recently. The interface doesn’t seem to have changed much in many years.

    Haven’t checked GMail much either – I don’t have enough experience with some of its features (such as searching through messages) but I found Hotmail’s “sweep” function was perfectly formulated to take care of inbox bloat – a specific problem. GMail’s “draft” feature was nice when it launched, but that and the other bullet points seemed to be more of a sandbox experience – you figure out what to do with this feature. I never really did find much use for many GMail-specific features, at launch or otherwise. Good email hosting however.

    Finally there’s stand-alone browser applications. Microsoft has let the focus move away from Outlook Express, and that’s fine by me – I always uninstalled it (and noticed the “Compressing Messages” notification giving other XP users headaches). Thunderbird, Mozilla’s application, never seemed to do much differently, but I do fondly remember the time when I first set it up – it deleted all my mail from Hotmail, which I had to laboriously re-add. Later its “away message” feature also caused me some trouble when it started sending messages to people I’d previously emailed…that turned out to be a bit too much automation for my liking. Seamonkey promises to be a all-in-one solution for email and browsing, but plain Firefox takes up enough resources and cloud-style services mean I simply don’t have use for its extra features.

    So, right now, the new Hotmail is my unequivocal favorite, probably followed by Gmail (but Google’s news ticker is the reason I like iGoogle). Yahoo is merely functional, while the last Thunderbird I used (maybe a year ago) ranks with me alongside internal site email systems I’ve used – usable at least.

  4. I use Yahoo Mail Plus for the following reasons:

    1) I signed up for Yahoo before Google let Gmail out of beta and I have no reason to switch
    2) Yahoo Mail Plus has disposable email addresses, which I find essential for interacting with web sites
    3) I pay a nominal amount for the service and that gives me rights that a user of a free service simply doesn’t have

    Some might say that Gmail has disposable addresses, but too many web sites recognize Gmail disposable addresses and refuse to accept them.

  5. I too use a Yahoo account I got many many years ago (during the first year they offered e-mail.) It has been rock solid, and their latest versions work extremely well. I got this e-mail address so I would never have to change e-mail addresses. So, I never plan to stop using it. I do also have a gmail and hotmail account, but rarely use those. I find gmail an utter pain to use in comparison to Yahoo’s much more friendly e-mail interface. Hotmail has become somewhat better, but still not as easy as Yahoo IMHO. Besides, I get tired of a new interface in Hotmail every 6 months (it seems…)

  6. I started out with Hotmail address before it was bought by Microsoft. It was good enough. Then, when I heard that Yahoo! was offering accounts, I signed up with them. I also now have a Gmail account. Between the three, Yahoo! has less spam than Hotmail which has less spam than Gmail. I get hundreds of spam messages a day and I never gave out that address. Also, most of my login email addresses to older sites use my Yahoo! address.

    Since then, I’ve got myself an address that I can forward to any account so that I can be future proof.

    So, I stick to Yahoo!’s awesome spam filter and great interface, for now.

  7. I started with Yahoo mail because of the initial push email arrangement with iPhone.

    I stay with it so I can test when it seems that Yahoo has once again decided it doesn’t like our mail servers.

    No high-value mail.

    I use GMail for some mailing lists and testing and some low value mail and testing. Used via the web.

    I use my account on the Hotmail servers because I needed a Windows Live ID. Some low-value mail, via mail clients.

    Real mail stays out of the cloud (it will take me a long time to overcome the Buzz fiasco’s resultant increase in distrust).

  8. It’s my spam address. If I don’t trust a site enough with my real email address (, than I will give it my Yahoo one instead.

  9. I’ve had Yahoo! Mail for about 10 years and it’s been working real fine for me, I even Have POP3 for free! so I can use it on my mobile phone.

    I use my Yahoo Account with MS Passportfor Windows Live Services and Gmail for everything else.

    I don’t have email account

    Advantages I have with Yahoo:
    -Unlimited Email (not mettered)
    -POP3 Email (Mine is for free, when for other’s is a premium feature)
    -Rules, Folders, all Other yahoo services with 1 account.

    Advantages I have with Gmail
    -Pop3 and Imap4
    -Tags and Rules
    -Mobile Access with it’s own app
    -Use google services with 1 account.

  10. Up until the last few weeks, I had been using Yahoo Mail as my primary e-mail since 1998.

    I was never all that enthusiastic about Gmail even though I’ve had an account since it was invite only. My dissatisfaction with Yahoo had increased to the point where I was very close to switching to Gmail, but then the Buzz fiasco happened. I had always kept a cautious eye on Google, but what trust I did have in the company evaporated almost instantly as a result of Buzz. Eric Schmidt’s pronouncements since then have only confirmed to me that it is prudent to be very wary of Google.

    Of course the Buzz issue did nothing to change the ambivalence I felt about Yahoo Mail, so I looked into Hotmail since I had heard that there were some impressive changes that had either been made or that were in the works. I’ve switched to Hotmail with a domain as my primary e-mail and am keeping my Yahoo account as a backup and spam catcher. I agree that Hotmail is a far cry from what it used to be and now is quite impressive. It’s such a shame that so many techies have such tunnel vision as to think that Google is the only company capable of developing great applications and services.

  11. I switched from Yahoo! Mail to Gmail as soon as Gmail came out, and I haven’t looked back.

    The features I like most about Gmail are the ones that have been around since the very beginning–conversation threads, labels instead of folders, flexible filters, and the “save everything, search for it later” mentality that has saved my butt on numerous occasions.

    There is also a feature (still in Labs, although it’s been there for a long time) called Quick Links, that lets you add links to your sidebar for any bookmarkable Gmail URL, which includes any view you can generate from a search. Using this in combination with labels and filters, I effectively have multiple inboxes that I can switch between, while still keeping all my e-mail in once place where I can search it with a single query.

  12. My ISP includes Hotmail with their service. We get a special Hotmail e-mail address, which is handy. That makes more e-mail addresses available, and cuts down on random spam.

    I’m not a fan of Gmail’s web mail message chaining system. The fact that Gmail scans all e-mails, for advertising purposes, is creepy.

    Yahoo is bad for people who use Outlook, because you have to pay extra to get POP3.

  13. I use Yahoo coz of the tab support and coz I cant forward my mails to another account unless I have a paid pro account. So I guess am stuck with Yahoo forever…

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