Yahoo Bolsters Small Business Plans

The company enters the market for low-cost domain-name registration as it expands storage and bandwidth across its Web-hosting products.

In an effort to attract paying business users early, Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday is expanding its domain name and Web hosting plans for small businesses.

Yahoo, of Sunnyvale, Calif., will introduce a $9.95 option for registering a Web domain name, pitting it more directly against low-cost registrars such as Go Daddy Group Inc. The option comes with a single, customizable Web page.

Yahoo also will substantially increase the limits on Web site and e-mail storage, bandwidth and the number of e-mail accounts across its six small-business hosting plans, said Rich Riley, vice president and general manager of Yahoo Small Business.

The increases range across the plans, but as an example, Yahoos $11.95 Web-hosting "starter" package will expand from 10 to 25 e-mail addresses, from 50MB to 2,000MB of disk storage, and from 20GB to 25GB of data transfer, Riley said.

/zimages/2/28571.gifWhat about Yahoos consumer e-mail? Click here to read more about other storage expansions.

For all its small-business offerings, Yahoo uses its own Web hosting, e-mail and e-commerce services. But for domain names, Yahoo is not an official registrar and instead contracts with registrar Melbourne IT Ltd.

Yahoo already sold domain-name registrations, but they were part of its e-mail or hosting packages and the lowest-priced option started at $35, Riley said. The new domain-name plan is aimed at smaller companies wanting to reserve names and display a basic page.

"We want to extend our leadership earlier in the lifecycle, and our strategic goal is to get relationships with small businesses over time," he said. "As they grow, theyll need bigger Web sites and will leverage the Internet for all kinds of things."

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about how domain-name registrations are reaching new records.

Along with major Web-hosting companies such as Verio Inc. and Interland Inc., Yahoo competes against Microsoft Corp.s MSN division for small-business users. Microsoft also has been revamping its small-business plans. In March, it dropped the bCentral brand for its small-business portal site, changing it to a new Small Business Center at

MSN officials have talked about launching advanced small-business and e-mail services soon. One would include a service for using the Microsoft Outlook client on top of the Hotmail server infrastructure rather than an Exchange server.

Yahoo Small Business offers six levels of Web-hosting plans, three of which come with e-commerce services such as shopping cart functionality. Yahoo also offers an e-mail-only plan, which is getting a boost to 25 e-mail accounts from 10 and to 2,000MB of storage from 25MB.

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