Why Not a Paid Version of Gmail?

Could someone answer why Google doesn’t provide a paid version of Gmail?

It would seem to make sense on several levels:

  1. Revenue from something other than Advertising. Google’s recent stock dip suggests that ad revenue might not grow like mad forever.
  2. It would make their free email service look better.
  3. Some people (executives, usually) just like to pay for stuff. Don’t know why…
  4. It could possibly pay for the incredible hosting costs of supporting Gmail.
  5. Their investors might sleep a little sounder.

Could someone answer why Google doesn’t provide a paid version of Gmail?

UPDATE: Now that Yahoo and AOL want to charge for guaranteed delivery of email, Steve Gillmor sees a version of Gmail Plus on the horizon, but he doesn’t think they’ll charge for it.

2nd UPDATE: Google releases another feature for Gmail: integration with GTalk. This is not one that we considered, so the question becomes, does this change anything?

It would seem to make sense on several levels:

  1. Revenue from something other than Advertising. Google’s recent stock dip suggests that ad revenue might not grow like mad forever.
  2. It would make their free email service look better.
  3. Some people (executives, usually) just like to pay for stuff. Don’t know why…
  4. It could possibly pay for the incredible hosting costs of supporting Gmail.
  5. Their investors might sleep a little sounder.

Alternatively, it might not make sense on several levels:

  1. Is Google privy to information that Yahoo’s paid-for email isn’t getting traction?
  2. What exactly would be the paid-for features? (Yahoo’s: 2GB storage, spamguard, no ads, and large attachments)
  3. Are people so used to free email apps that nobody would buy?
  4. They think that ads will grow forever and don’t need to worry about charging for software.

I use Gmail as a backup system for various things: it isn’t my primary mail application. I actually interact with the interface very little, but when I do I’m generally happy with it. I’ve heard that most folks are very happy with it, as well with Yahoo’s new email service, which I haven’t played with very much.

But if Google is serious about taking value away from the desktop, it would seem that they would want to get revenue from web-based, networked applications (as well as getting people used to the idea). I’m a strong believer that if you can create something that people truly want, then you’ll have no problems getting money in return. And it seems like Gmail has a lot of goodwill out there…why aren’t they innovating and providing a pay-for email service? It’s not like paid-for services don’t work on the Web. Just about everyone I know has a Flickr Pro account…

Published: February 3rd, 2006

Currently working on:

The What to Wear Daily Report: The most informative 30 seconds of your day. An email that delivers clothing recommendations and other helpful info based on the weather. Remarkably useful. It's free to sign up.