Yahoo on Thursday announced two new e-mail domains for Yahoo Mail users worldwide. The domains are ymail.com and rocketmail.com.
The search-engine provider is billing the new domains as a way to give users a chance to register for the e-mail address or Yahoo ID they really want. For some, that could mean abandoning early selections, such as CutiePie4Ever80 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a new image.
"We recognize that people want an e-mail address that reflects who they are, whether they are signing up for an e-mail address for the first time, or simply updating their e-mail pseudonym to reflect the stage they are at in life," said John Kremer, vice president of Yahoo Mail.
Juicing the Yahoo Brand
Despite the rise of Google's Gmail, Yahoo Mail is still the number-one Webmail service in the world with more than 260 million users, according to comScore Media Metrix.
Because it has so many users, the most desirable e-mail addresses have been taken for the yahoo.com domain, as well as for localized versions in countries around the world. With the new domain choices, Yahoo will make millions of new e-mail addresses available.
Yahoo may also be trying to put some juice into its brand, according to Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence.
"Some people may perceive, in some sense, that the Yahoo brand is not be as edgy or cool as it once was," Sterling said. "The Yahoo brand is still very across the board, but groups of people may not think it's quite as buzzworthy."
Users Want to Use Their Names
Yahoo recently commissioned a survey conducted by Harris Interactive to determine what online adults look for when choosing an e-mail address. The study found that the majority of online adults (59 percent) consider the most important attribute of an e-mail address to be that it is easy to remember.
Asked if they would choose any e-mail address for personal use, seven in 10 online adults said they would opt to have some portion of their name included. Specifically, 31 percent would want their last name included, 27 percent would choose their first name, and 28 percent would prefer to have their nickname as part of their e-mail address.
Of online adults who indicated they are not currently using their first choice e-mail address, more than half (54 percent) agreed that they want their e-mail address to reflect who they are, and about half (48 percent) would be at least somewhat likely to change addresses should their preferred choice become available.
A Rush for Your Name
E-mail addresses at the new domains will have the same Yahoo Mail features as addresses at the yahoo.com domain, including free unlimited storage, integrated instant messaging and text messaging, protection from spam and viruses and country-specific e-mail accounts.
A Yahoo ID will work for everything across the Yahoo Network, from checking e-mail to checking out Messenger, Flickr, Groups, Sports, Finance and more. In many markets, Yahoo said, the company will also help users transfer their e-mail and contacts to their new address and notify friends of their new e-mail address.
"I think people are more inclined to use a Web-based e-mail address if they have a name or some address that they like, one that's more intuitive," Sterling said. "Yahoo should see a lot of registrations. Whether or not they'll see a lot of usage is another matter. It's sort of like domain names. You want to reserve your name."