Yahoo E-Mail Compared

It was only a matter of time. Google’s Gmail let the genie out of the bottle and there is no way to compete in the free e-mail game unless you give a gigabyte of storage. According to Reuters, Yahoo now matches Google’s Gmail and gives the same amount of e-mail storage away for free. What is most impressive to me about this announcement is that it took so long to do.

Was Yahoo! Waiting for any particular reason? Perhaps they wanted to see how successful Gmail would become? If you think about it, Yahoo! Must have 100 times as many e-mail users as Google. I would estimate that there are at least 20 million more Yahoo! E-mail users than there are Gmail users That is conservative. Each Yahoo! E-mail user now gets 750 MB more storage capacity. But for this article we will concentrate on the difference between Gmail and Yahoo! In this case, Yahoo! will have to allocate a minimum of 20,000,000 * 750 MB of storage more than Google!

The irony here is that my calculator doesn’t go this high… I had to use Google calculator to do the computation:

20 million * 750 megabytes = 13.9698386 petabytes

Wondering what a petabyte is? Try the Wiki or Wikipedia. It is a 1 with 15 zeroes after it or 1015. Seagate, EMC, are you reading? It may be time for us all to buy some hard disk stocks.

Interestingly Google was able to launch a service and increase Yahoo!’s expenses significantly. Microsoft will have to follow as well so they probably are less thrilled with Google than they ever have been. Between this and the whole Ajax programming concept, Google is probably the biggest thorn in Microsoft’s side since Larry Ellison.

The Real Numbers

OK, so far this article is a bit off the cuff. Free of research. Just gut numbers. I then got to thinking, is there an accurate way to figure out how many people use Gmail, Yahoo! and Hotmail. I decided to use Alexa, an Amazon company that ranks sites for a living.

Alexa tells us that MSN, Yahoo and Google get about the same amount of traffic. More or less. Google gets 2.1 page views for every 10 page views on the web. Yahoo! Gets 3.1 and MSN gets 2.7. These numbers seem a bit out of whack to me as they add up to 8.5 out of 10 users leaving a scant 1.5 other sites for people to visit.

But lets assume they are accurate and furthermore lets assume that these sites are all equal in traffic. Another look at Alexa shows that Gmail gets only 5% of total Google traffic while Hotmail gets 68% and Yahoo gets 42%. So it is fair to say that Hotmail gets almost 14 times more traffic than Gmail and Yahoo! Mail gets more than 8 times more traffic than Gmail. Obviously my guess above was off by quite a bit.

Delving in deeper

Does all this add up? Perhaps. In order to do a double-check, I had to determine how many Internet users there are. According to Internet World Stats there are 888,681,131 total users. Assume some of these users have multiple accounts and that number could be rounded up to a billion (what’s a few hundred million between friends? Out of audience of a billion users, the math suggests that 184 million people use Hotmail, 130 million use Yahoo! Mail and 10.5 million use Gmail.

Are these numbers reasonable? I think so. I am interested in feedback on this post. What are your opinions on the market shares of these e-mail services. Do you know anything I don’t? Please share.

  • robert hashemian
    March 24, 2005 at 4:38 pm

    the petabyte equation is correct but the storage allocation is going to have a little probability mixed in. as in, you’d have to assume that not all users will utilize their entire alloted space. yahoo might have even decided not to augment their storage at all based on the usage patterns after their previous upgrade.
    this is not unlike insurance companies playing the numbers game. if all the policy-holders decided to file full claims, no insurance company would ever exist.

  • Hilary
    May 29, 2007 at 11:20 am

    Gmail has tons of storage compared to all of the other e-mail around I have used all of them and very pleased with Gmail’s because it is faster and really good. But, Hotmail, and AOL Mail is very slow it seems like you can fall asleep waiting for it to load. Also yahoo mail is okay but, takes some time to. Gmail has 2.8 GB and nothing compares to that it has more than Hotmail and AOL. So I use all of them and here is what I came up with.

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