Yahoo slaps fee on POP3 mail access, auto-forwarding

Yahoo went one step further in weaning users off its free services Thursday, informing users who access their Yahoo Mail accounts using POP3 programs or automatically forward e-mail to other accounts that they will now have to pay US$29.99 a year for these services or they will be shut out effective April 24.

Up until now, users of Yahoo Mail could download e-mail onto their own computers, using desktop e-mail programs that use the POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) standard of receiving e-mail held from an Internet server, or automatically forward mail to a different e-mail account for free.

The Internet titan has been trying for some time to drum up new ways to generate revenue, and some of its free services are now making their way onto the chopping block. Users of POP3 applications nipped at Yahoo's opportunity to sell larger mail boxes, since their mail is stored on their own computers.

Earlier this month, Yahoo clipped the apron strings on customers using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) with the company's free GeoCities Web hosting service. GeoCities users who want FTP access now have to subscribe to a pay service.

The company's new paid-package, detailed in an e-mail to users today, allows use of Outlook, Eudora and other POP3 applications to access and manage Yahoo Mail. The service also allows users to automatically forward mail to another, even non-Yahoo, e-mail account, and allows for larger attachments, up to 5M bytes, the company said. Previously, there was a 1.5M byte attachment limit on the free service.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company is offering a discount to consumers who sign up for the new package by April 24, offering a year of the services for $19.99.

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