The headline on the following excerpt was a triumphalist ‘Gmail passes AOL Email to Take 3rd Place in U.S.’:
Good thing Gmail is out of beta. It is now the third largest Web mail service in the U.S. In July, Gmail nudged past AOL Email with 37 million unique visitors compared to 36.4 million for AOL, according to comScore estimates. (Gmail is the orange line in the chart below). That puts Gmail within sight of the No. 2 player, Windows Live Hotmail, which has 47 million unique visitors. After that there is a wide gulf separating Yahoo Mail and its 106 million monthly unique visitors.
via Seeking Alpha.
However, rather than feeling reassured that GMail’s superiority is being rewarded, I am instead stunned that there are still people using Hotmail and Yahoo instead of Gmail. I have not logged into my Hotmail account since my First Year of University. I am not even sure if it still exists. The problem is that even in its heydey it was annoying to use. You had to clear out your inbox every 2nd day or else get bouncebacks(the size limit was 1MB). You were forever getting spam in your inbox and the spam filter was forever putting messages intended for your inbox in the Spam Bin. The Hotmail web client was infuriatingly slow and clunky(even on Broadband).
That performance alone should have sent ALL of Hotmail’s customers fleeing to Gmail when it launched. Only thing I can think of is that MSN Messenger is driving people to Hotmail. Which is kind of weird when you think about it because a) you don’t need a Hotmail account in order to fire up MSN, and b) when you logon to MSN Messenger you presumably wouldn’t be loading up Hotmail so it wouldn’t be counted as a visit to Hotmail….I guess that would mean Hotmail’s visits were to Hotmail itself….but again…why???