Yahoo Chokes Upon Offering Additional User Storage

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-06-15

Yahoo Chokes Upon Offering Additional User Storage

Yahoo Inc., which on Tuesday meant to pump up users free e-mail accounts to 100MB, popped instead.

On the morning of its splashy debut, Yahoo users were greeted with notices of the upgrade, which boosted standard accounts from 4MB of e-mail storage to 100MB.

However, the vastly popular e-mail service was sluggish, if it worked at all. Starting Tuesday morning, users began complaining about the sites groggy response time—if, in fact, they could even get the site to load at all.

Predictably enough, postings on Slashdot show that Yahoo users are looking the gift horse in the mouth.

"Great, but now e-mail isnt working at all," was the heading for a posting by Anonymous Coward. "I never had space problems, but now I cant even get my e-mail on Yahoo. Guess their servers are being overwhelmed with people checking it out. Thanks, Yahoo."

Apparently, Yahoo was not alone. According to a posting on the front page of the Internet Storm Center, starting at 8:30 a.m. EDT, a number of large Internet presences were affected by a "widespread Akamai [Technologies Inc.] DNS issue," including Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Federal Express Corp., Xerox Corp. and Apple Computer Inc.

Click here to read more about the apparent distributed denial-of-service attack on Akamais DNS.

A Yahoo spokeswoman in San Francisco confirmed that the widespread DNS issue could be causing the problems.

"We are currently investigating its potential impact on our services," she wrote in an e-mail exchange. "Also, as we upgrade tens of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts for consumers worldwide, some users may experience temporary fluctuations in service as we update our systems. We expect Yahoo Mail accounts to resume to normal after upgrades are completed."

Users who had been paying for extra storage space were also upgraded at no additional charge, although Yahoo sent out a notice informing such users that, after one more year of paying $9.99 per year for Yahoo Mail Extra Storage, that service level would be eliminated in favor of the $19.99 yearly Yahoo Mail Plus service.

The upgrade for paying customers also included virus scanning and cleaning via Norton AntiVirus; SpamGuard Plus, a personalized spam-filtering system; elimination of graphical adds; the ability to end messages without promotional taglines; total allowable message size of 10MB, including attachments; and 2GB of e-mail storage.

Next page: Yahoo is No. 1 for free e-mail.


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Yahoo is second only to AOL in the list of top telecom/Internet services sites, according to Nielsen/NetRatings April ranking of unique visitors. But as far as free e-mail goes, Yahoo rules.

Yahoo operates the Webs most popular e-mail service, with 40.4 million unique visitors to the service in April, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Hotmail is in close pursuit, clocking in at 34 million unique users for the same period.

But the archrival thats really behind Yahoos jerkily executed upgrade is Google Inc. In April, the uber search site filed paperwork for its greatly anticipated initial public offering, which was expected to raise as much as $2.7 billion.

That same month, Google unveiled plans to offer 1GB of storage capacity—the equivalent of 500,000 pages of free e-mail per user— through its Gmail service. That service is still undergoing testing.

Columnist John Pallatto thinks that when it comes to Googles IPO, we should learn from past dot-com hysteria. Click here to read more.

Yahoo has been busily trying to scrape Google out of its system for months: In February, it replaced Google Web search technology with its own.

As of this storys posting, Yahoos site performance was still impaired.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include a comment from a Yahoo spokeswoman and to correct Nielsen/NetRating figures.

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