We don’t take making major changes to our free YouMail service lightly.

However, we recently announced some changes that are making some of our users publicly unhappy.

These changes to the free service included things like:

  • No longer supporting SMS alerts in the free service
  • Only allowing a single line
  • Some additional advertising.

We’ve moved these features to a new premium service, YouMail Business Edition, that includes those features as well as some new ones:

  • Advanced e-mail alerts
  • Enhanced auto-replies
  • A huge mailbox,
  • And much more.

These changes are all about making the free service self-sustaining for our nearly 4 million free YouMail accounts. Simply put: that means making sure we cover our costs of offering it.

Take SMS.  Sending SMS reliably costs real money, with those costs rising.  And we’ve found that most of our users who use SMS don’t actually need it.  Smart phones support push notifications or e-mail alerts, both of which we continue to offer for free.  So these users still get notified, we don’t waste money, and we can invest in areas of the service that seriously need improvement.   For those who need SMS, charging a price that covers the cost, and gives them a bunch of other features besides, seems fair.

Or take ads. It’s pretty hard to run a free service without some advertising baked into it – for example, have you used Pandora lately?  But we’re not going overboard: no video ads, for example, but just a small banner in the apps and in the emails we send people.

We understand if some of our users aren’t happy with this and decide to explore alternatives.  But the bottom line is that businesses need to cover their costs to stick around – and we’re no different.