In response to our article about removing ads in Outlook.com, a reader wrote.: “Just wanted to say that AdBlock does indeed remove the ads, but the ad bar is still there and keeps getting bigger and bigger. It now covers half of the mail making it unviewable. You stated that there’s no free lunch.. Considering Microsoft and Google are two of the richest companies there is because of us, perhaps they ought to go back to mail being a free service as it costs them nothing. The name change from Hotmail to Outlook did not come with any different or extra special services that I can see.If a user got extra services or storage space a nominal fee might then be in order. This tactic of slowly blocking out the viewing area and asking for money to unblock it seems an awful lot like a hostage/ransom scenario or extortion to me.”
It’s not really a hostage situation, since hostages are taken against their will and you have voluntarily sign up for either Gmail or Outlook.com. If you don’t want to pay for the ad-free version of Outlook.com, you could certainly opt for e-mail provided by your ISP or pay for an e-mail service like FastMail. FastMail caosts $10 yearly for the light version, $20 for the Full, $40 for Enhanced and $70 for Premier.
You will need a contract and your mail storage is as little as 250 MB for the lite and up to 60 GB for the Pemier level.
Also, if you opt for an Office 365 subscription, those ads will vanish from your Outlook.com. Another option might just be to get an e-mail client like Windows Live Mail or Thunderbird and download your messages.
When you say that it costs Google and Microsoft nothing to run these e-mail accounts, you couldn’t be more off-base. Running the servers and personnel to manage the e-mail accounts of millions and millions of people costs a fortune. Microsoft operates over one million servers, as does Google. Operating costs are in the billions.
And you’re also off-base about Microsoft not adding any new services as they switched over from Hotmail to Outlook.com. The company added free cloud storage at OneDrive, along with free online access to their Office products like Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
Google also offers free cloud storage as well as a free office suite with your Gmail account. And both services are still free, though advertiser supported.
Google is rich because of the billions of dollars it generates in advertising, nearly all of their services are free to the user. So, they either need ads or to charge for the services.
As I said, there’s no free lunch, and it costs a heck of a lot to keep up the infrastructure necessary to provide nearly 1 billion Gmail users and around half a billion Outlook.com customers with e-mail and other services. McDonald’s may be rich, but if they started giving away lunch to billions of customers, they wouldn’t have much money for long.
Just as there are commercials with broadcast TV to foot the bill for programming, that’s how they pay the bills for all those “free” services you use. Just as those who dislike ads can switch to premium cable channels or streaming, you could try a paid e-mail to see if being ad-free is worth the expense.