Hotmail by any other name…

I realize I’ve pretty much turned my blog into a sports rants blog over the last few weeks, so I’ll try to diversify topics a bit.

Today big news came from Microsoft that they released their “Live” services out of beta, releasing some great new tools, including the ability to get a email address.  There’s nothing like the opportunity to jump on board a new major email bandwagon, and have the ability to have your name – without any numbers of weird spellings – as your email address.

I grabbed the address I wanted and logged into the new Hotmail.  The interface is clean, definitely a step above Gmail and arguably within reach of the new Y! Mail interface.  I goof around a little bit, import my contact list with no problem and send myself the inaugural test message to myself.  Much to my dismay, I receive the following:


You’re kidding me.  An ad at the bottom of my messages?

I realize that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but when you see the exciting things Gmail is doing with free IMAP access, not to mention that they’ve never had tagline ads at the bottom of their messages – there’s really no compelling reason to use Live mail in a serious capacity.  Granted, Yahoo does still use tagline ads in their messages as well – and it should be known that I pay the $20 per year for the Yahoo Mail plus which removes the tags (and offers other features).  However I’ve personally locked into using my Yahoo mail account through years of usage.  There’s no way I would start using a account with these annoying taglines here in 2007.  Even if I wanted to upgrade my Live account, there’s no indication on Hotmail that it’s even an option.  I looked all over the “settings” area and couldn’t find anything that referenced upgrading your account. In Yahoo Mail it’s right there in the “Options” tab.

I can appreciate that Microsoft wants to remove some of the perceived stigma that has been historically attached to the “Hotmail” branding, but if you’re going to put a new face/branding on a limited product, you’re still going to have to live with the limitations.  I don’t know how they can expect people to live with “Live” with crap like this going on.