Why Hotmail Is Better Than Yahoo! Mail and Gmail, As a Secondary Address
Article by George Norman
On 31 Jul 2009
Microsoft and Yahoo! may have struck a deal that grants the Redmond-based software giant exclusive access to Yahoo!’s search technologies for the next decade, meaning that Yahoo! Search will be powered by Microsoft for the next ten years, but apart from search, the two companies are still rivals. This applies to the email clients of the two companies: Microsoft’s Hotmail and Yahoo!’s Yahoo! Mail.

When it comes to email addresses, most of us have two of them: a primary email address and a secondary email address. You hand the primary one to your fellow co-workers, to your friends, to your family, to your business partners and so on. And since it is your primary email address, you check your inbox regularly. The secondary email address is most times used for signing up to newsletters, for setting up accounts for various online services, or for online shopping. And since this address is not that important, you rarely check your inbox.


Here is where Hotmail trumps Yahoo! Mail as a secondary email client. If you forget to check your Hotmail account for period of 270 days (about 9 months), you will lose that account. 270 days is a long time, a lot longer than what Yahoo! mail has to offer.

Here’s the Microsoft’s official position from Hotmail’s help section: “Free Windows Live Hotmail accounts become inactive if you don't sign in for more than 270 days or within the first 10 days after signing up for an account. After an account becomes inactive, all messages, folders, and contacts are deleted. Incoming messages will be sent back to the sender as undeliverable. Your account name is still reserved. However, if the account stays inactive for an additional 90 days, the account name may be permanently deleted.”

And here’s Yahoo!’s position on Yahoo! Mail: “Accounts are deactivated and removed after four months of no use. When an account is deactivated, you won't be able to access it, regardless of whether or not email has been received in the account during that time. And sorry, but we can't retrieve any of the information that was formerly stored in it.”

What about Google and its Gmail client? The Mountain View-based company that takes 70% of the search market, positions itself somewhere in the middle. If you will lose your Hotmail account after 9 months and your Yahoo! Mail account after 4 months, your Gmail account will be deleted after 6 months.

“A dormant address is a Gmail address that hasn't been used for six months. You can still receive mail if your address is dormant, but you need to log in to keep your account active. If you don't log in to Gmail within three months of it being labeled dormant - or for nine consecutive months - Google may delete the address,” explains Google.

What does this all mean? It means that if you set up a secondary email account and never visit it again, someone else might set up a new account using your address. Then that someone could for example request a password reset for your primary Gmail account.

Tags: Microsoft, Hotmail, Yahoo!, Yahoo! Mail, Google, Gmail
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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