Yahoo addresses email concerns with free service

Yahoo is offering free email accounts under two new designations in an effort to attract web surfers unhappy with their current addresses, an Associated Press report said.

The company expects to begin registering new addresses under the domains of 'ymail' and 'rocketmail,' the Associated Press report said.

It will be the first time that Yahoo has offered email accounts under umbrellas other than its own company name since it became a correspondence conduit in 1997.

Yahoo began offering free email shortly after its 51.5 million euros (US$80 million) acquisition of Four11, which included the rocketmail domain, the report said.

Rocketmail users at the time of the acquisition were allowed to keep their existing accounts, but Yahoo hadn't accepted any new addresses under that name until now.

The diversification into new email designations is being driven by the difficulty that people are having as they try to find an appealing email handle under the Yahoo domain, the report said.

Most people prefer an email address that's easy to remember, like the first letter of their first name in front of their last name, or reflective of a personal interest, like a hobby or favorite sports team, the report said.

But the popularity of Yahoo email had narrowed the range of choices, forcing users to perform too many mental gymnastics to come up with an email handle that hadn't already been taken.

Yahoo is hoping the additional options created with the ymail and rocketmail will help boost its email growth. Although it's given away, email is considered an important product because it fosters user loyalty and spurs frequent visits that create advertising opportunities.