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USA.net to charge for e-mail

by stacy

In reaction to the economic slump, e-mail service provider USA.net announced Monday that it aims to transition from a free to a fee-based consumer e-mail service model.
The company is situated in Colorado Springs, Colorado. People have 30 days to move their account names and saved messages to the new site, according to USA.net. Subscribers who sign up before July 31 will pay $29.99 for a full year’s worth of service. Those who sign up after that date, on the other hand, will be required to pay $49.99 each year.

“Advertising expenditures are simply not effective anymore,” said Danette Lopez, a spokeswoman for USA.net. “Given the current economic climate, we were unable to provide a free service anymore, and we wanted to make sure our clients had at least the choice of paying for it.”

United States of America.net is the most recent startup seeking to convert users away from free services toward paid services. NetZero, a free Internet service provider, began imposing a 40-hour-per-month usage limit on its free service earlier this year, following in the footsteps of its erstwhile competitor Juno Online Services, which also implemented a usage quota.

Betty Cho, an Internet analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings, said that USA.net “is absolutely simply following the lead of some other service providers that are attempting to basically generate money in the economic situations that we’re finding ourselves in.”

USA.net offers a Web-based e-mail service with more than 4 million users, as well as corporate e-mail outsourcing services to businesses. New capabilities will be available to users through the company’s new e-mail service, which will be known as Net Address Messaging Center. These include virus detection on incoming mail, greater e-mail storage capacity, and POP access.

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