Ask Jeeves Primes Portals for E-Mail Storage Boost

Fresh from acquiring a series of Web portals, the search company expands storage limits to 125MB for free users as it joins the growing battle to offer ever-more amounts of Web-based e-mail space.

Fresh from acquiring a series of portal sites, Ask Jeeves also is jumping into the Web-based e-mail storage race.

The Emeryville, Calif., company on Thursday will announce its plans to expand the free e-mail storage limits on portal sites My Way, Excite and iWon to 125 megabytes. Ask Jeeves Inc. gained those sites with its acquisition last month of Interactive Search Holdings Inc.

Ask Jeeves decision comes on the same day that Microsofts MSN Hotmail service unveiled plans to increase storage to 250MB for free users and to 2GB for paying users.

Both announcements follow Google Inc.s decision in April to test a free e-mail service called Gmail with a gigabyte of storage, prompting an e-mail storage war. Yahoo last week beefed up its Web-based e-mail service as well.

Ask Jeeves will provide the extra space in September. Free e-mail users on My Way and iWon currently get 6MB of space, while free Excite users get 3MB, said Scott Garell, executive vice president of sites and search at Ask Jeeves.

Paying users at Excite will get even more storage as it increases to 2GB for users of the $19.99-a-year Excite Gold Web-based e-mail service, Garell said.

"We know that e-mail is a really important way to build customer loyalty, and we want to reward customers for their loyalty," Garell said.


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Separately, Ask Jeeves also is announcing the discontinuation of its remaining paid-inclusion program for the Teoma search engine. Site Submit, which allows Web sites to pay a fee to ensure that they are crawled and indexed regularly, will be dropped in August.

Ask Jeeves earlier this year ended another paid-inclusion program called Index Express, which allowed direct XML feeds into the search engine index.

Jim Lanzone, Ask Jeeves senior vice president of search properties, said the decision to end all paid-inclusion programs resulted from current and planned improvements in Teomas ability to index and regularly crawl the Web.

"It served its useful purpose for us," Lanzone said of Site Submit. "But as Teoma is maturing … weve covered the issues of completeness and freshness with our own technology, so the value proposition of Site Submit ceases to exist."


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