New comScore figures report Gmail, the web mail service provided by Google, is now the third-largest in the US. In July, it eclipsed AOL Email with 37 million unique visitors to the latter’s 36.4 million. The second-most popular, Windows Live Hotmail, had 47 million visitors the same month, MarketingVOX?reports.
#1 web-mail player Yahoo Mail remains safely out of reach of Gmail’s long arm, having served 106 million unique visitors. Unique visitors to Gmail increased 25% so far in 2009; in contrast, unique visits to AOL slipped 22%. Yahoo Mail visitors increased by 16%; Hotmail saw an 8% rise.
Part of Gmail’s appeal may lie in its ability to provide “seemingly endless” storage space, TechCrunch observed. The service launched in 2004 and offered invite-only users two gigs of email storage space, an unprecedented amount at that time.Competitors like Yahoo Mail followed suit soon after; to keep ahead of the pack, Gmail set itself on an endeavor to keep increase storage space slowly but indefinitely. At present it offers 7360.884610 megabytes (“and counting,” according to the homepage) of free storage.
Gmail took the “beta” designation off Gmail in July of this year. The move was perceived by some to be an attempt to make Gmail, as well as other previously-beta offerings, such as Calendar, Docs and Talk, more palatable to businesses. “I’ve had CIO’s tell me that they would not consider a product labeled ‘beta’,” observed Director Matt Glotzbach of product management at Google. Last month Gmail also incorporated an unsubscribe option for select marketing emails. When users click on the designated button, the service sends an unsubscribe request to the offending client on their behalf.
The news came as a point of vexation for some email marketers; as it is, 20% of opt-in mail still fails to find inboxes, and Gmail is among the toughest inboxes to penetrate in the US, according to a Return Path study.