Yahoo delivers premium e-mail service

Yahoo Inc. unveiled a premium version of its e-mail service that combines its existing a la carte paid-for offerings such as extra storage, access to other e-mail accounts and forwarding capabilities with new fare such as antispam tools and the ability to send larger attachments.

Yahoo Mail Plus, launched Thursday, is just the latest in the company's free-to-fee strategy, and is being offered to consumers for US$29.99 a year.

The Sunnyvale, California, company said that its e-mail subscribers have jumped from one million to "tens of millions" since the service launched five years ago, and the premium offering comes in response to users' expanded needs.

Yahoo Mail Plus offers 25M-bytes of e-mail storage, a message size limit of 10M bytes and the ability to send up to 10 attachments per e-mail. Additionally, the service can archive messages to users' hard drives for offline access, and offers the ability to send messages using other e-mail domains.

The company has also added antispam tools, including filters and the ability to block e-mail addresses.

Additionally, Yahoo rolled in existing premium offerings, such as POP (Post Office Protocol) access and e-mail forwarding. Yahoo placed fees on these services earlier this year in a move to shore up revenue. POP is the standard for sending e-mail from an Internet server that allows users to forward and receive e-mail from different accounts. Other e-mail services, such as Microsoft Corp.'s Hotmail offering, have also put a price on POP this year.

Unlike its free mail service, Yahoo said that the premium offering does not add promotional taglines to messages and there is no account expiration.

Yahoo's move to further its premium offerings comes as the company struggles to swim upstream in a down market. But despite the current difficulties, such as fewer online advertisers, the company has been able to keep afloat with new pay-for services, beating expectations in its third-quarter results.

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