WEBMAIL PROVIDERS such as Google and Microsoft might start to find that their services generate less cash than before, as figures show a decline in the use of webmail.
Comscore recorded a six per cent drop in unique US visitors to webmail services in 2010, but of more concern was a 15 per cent drop in pageviews. The figures mean that fewer people are viewing even fewer adverts, something that webmail providers rely upon to generate cash.
In the past webmail was a convenient way of accessing email, especially on the move when a user might not have access to their usual email client. However smartphones and tablets running native email clients has meant accessing email on the go no longer requires a web browser.
Consequently, Comscore recorded a 40 per cent increase in mobile email use, concluding that mobile email had hit the mainstream. The outfit recorded 43.5 million people accessing email on their mobile phones on a "near daily" basis.
The drop in webmail use could also be tied into the growing popularity of social networks that integrate messaging systems. Facebook recently announced that it intends to get into the messaging game.
It is perhaps ironic that Google's Gmail application on smartphones running its Android operating system might end up reducing the advertising revenue the firm collects from adverts served up on the Gmail website.
However Comscore was quick to underline that while fewer people are using webmail, viewing and sending email still remains one of the most popular activities on the web.
So while the webmail audience might be declining, for now it is still big enough to pull in the big bucks. µ
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