Study: Half of Gmail Switchers from Hotmail

The results of a study released Wednesday indicate that new Gmail subscribers are about twice as likely to come from MSN's Hotmail as they are from Yahoo Mail. Return Path, a company that offers tools to ease the switch between e-mail services based the results on data collected from clients during the period of June through December 2004.

Between 52 to 56 percent of customers switching to Gmail came from a Hotmail address each month, said Return Path. This compares to only 24 to 34 percent being from a Yahoo account. The rest of Return Path's clients were switching from MSN, AOL and Comcast, though at much smaller numbers.

One possible explanation for the disparity is that Google's Gmail has offered 1 gigabyte of storage free to its users since the service was put into public beta. On the other hand, free Hotmail users were only given 2 megabytes of storage until late last year.


But Jupiter Research senior analyst warned about making predictions based on third-party data. "While the switch rates appear to be high, I would caution against making trend predictions based on a single vendor's service," he said. "What if higher Net-tenured or tech-savvy users primarily use the service and also happen to be the most-likely Google switchers?"

For its part, Return Path says more than 700,000 people use its services each month, and the company is the official "Email Change of Address" provider for the United States Postal Service.

Nate Mook contributed to this report.

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