Yahoo! Offers Unlimited Storage

It’s always bugged me that Yahoo! makes the exclamation point part of their name, but for now, I’ll give in. I discovered that they’re now offering unlimited storage for all Yahoo! Mail accounts, even free ones. Old ones, new ones, old interface, new interface, USA and abroad– they’ll all get unlimited storage.

This reminds me of “Spam My Gmail,” which came out shortly after Gmail was announced. It filled up the 1000 MB in less than a month.

At least one other person has suggested doing this with the new unlimited Yahoo! Mail. This isn’t terribly new or innovative, but it should be more interesting because now it’s supposed to be unlimited. We all know, especially those of us in the web hosting world (as I was around 2002-2005), that unlimited is often promised, but never delivered. There’s a cap. We’ve just got to find out what it is. It might not be a specific number– it depends on your usage behavior and how much you look like abuse, in this case– but it’s still there.

Although it’s just a matter of time until someone finds the limit to the “unlimited” storage, that doesn’t mean Yahoo! is lying or that this is a bad thing. I actually feel bad for Yahoo (okay, no more exclamation points), because so much of what they do is ignored because Google did it first. Gmail really did revolutionize email, although you will, of course, find people who disagree. If it weren’t for Gmail, Yahoo would not be offering unlimited storage today. I’m completely certain.

Gmail has, thankfully, made email storage a non-issue now. But just to note where the competition is, Microsoft offers 2 GB. It’s important to note that Yahoo is not the first: AOL Mail has been offering unlimited storage for paid users since 2005. Gmail has a storage limit, but it’s continually increasing (I personally think this is a really great, really innovative and much more realistic approach. But I’m biased :). (Here’s an amusing post about how Gmail users tend to be younger and richer.) I guess it’s also interesting that it’s fairly easy to switch between services. Most providers offer mail as a way to create a lot of stickiness. This is true– you get stuck using their domain name in your email address– but users are still able to switch. (Sidenote: Did you know Yahoo Mail came out of their acquisition of RocketMail? I was impressed to read that the transition went smoothly.)

Yahoo is trying to differentiate themselves with new features. They have a Mail API, though I’m not really sure what you would use it for. Jeremy Zawodny is big on APIs and was never very excited about Gmail. But he’s a Yahoo, so who cares about him? (Just kidding.)

It’s also important to note that email storage is not the same as other storage. Email is mostly text, which compresses extremely well. But when it comes to other types of media, you’ll find the compression ratio isn’t nearly as good. Phanfare is a service that offers unlimited photo storage, for a fee (not free). Other companies are actively improving their services in this area.

One Response to “Yahoo! Offers Unlimited Storage”

  1. bram says:

    They may have an API, but you still have to pay to get your email out of their system (say if you wanted to migrate). Gmail, on the other hand, does not hold your data hostage.

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