Most web based email tools didn’t start out as freemium models but as advertising revenue waned, many—Yahoo included—introduced premium features and encouraged free users to upgrade to paid subscriptions. Unable to convert longtime freeloaders like me, Yahoo appears to have developed an entirely new business model: freemiyuk. With the freemiyuk model you make the free version so unusable that you drive away us annoying hangers-on and clear the way for more valuable revenue-producing customers.
There can be no other reason for Yahoo’s recent email product changes. Yahoo email has gone from a simple, effective user interface to a hodgepodge of gmail-wannabe-but-not-quite features that are riddled with technical glitches. Users’ vitriol over this change has caused some reversions to Yahoo Classic features (probably to avoid escalating negative PR), but the product remains a shining example of freemiyuk.
I get it—businesses are not NGOs. They need to make money to survive. But if you don’t want me as a free user, just say so. Or introduce a premium product that is worth paying for.