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Before G[mail], there was [Hotmail].

March 23, 2010

I admit that the simple lines of its email inbox and the colourful logo of Google drew me in – in and away from Hotmail.  Hotmail is part of my childhood, in fact, my hotmail account is still my MSN messenger account.  It still holds tens maybe a hundred plus emails from my gr.7 crush.  Many people forget that before gmail came along, we all had hotmail, and probably with a horrific address like or something else equally as embarassing.

Hotmail may have lost a majority of their loyal customers over to Google’s, but it retains its status as one of the first true online viral platforms.  “Get your free email at Hotmail” – attached to the bottom of every mail led to an extremely high success rate.  Everybody wanted a piece of this easily accessible service that was FREE.  Viral Curve mentioned that it costed them $500,000 in 2 years to gain 12,000,000 subscribers.  Not a bad ROI at all!

Some might dispute that this is so long ago, and they were one of the few services out there, hence their success.  Nevertheless, I think this is a good story to learn from.  Sometimes it’s not about the fancy apps or the million dollar viral video, 6 small words forwarded from email to email can do a surprising lot!

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