IQ News: Excite@Home’s Inbox Increases Functionality

Self-styled broadband and media company Excite@Home today announced Inbox, a bundling of its free personal communications offerings. Excite Inbox also adds increased personalization and functionality to Excite Email, Excite Voicemail and Excite Fax, letting users change interface color, add icons and save info from messages into Excite Calendar.
With Excite’s personal messaging applications, registered users could already listen to voicemail messages via a toll-free number and check e-mail and read faxes from any Web-connected computer. The services are ad-supported, with banner advertising and sponsorship buttons on the message pages. Voicemail users must listen to an ad before leaving or retrieving a message.
The Redwood City, Calif.-based company also has added many behind-the-scenes improvements, said Excite@Home product manager Brian Dally. A new architecture makes the product more scalable, which is important to the company in its race for users. With 21 million unique visitors to each month (the company won’t disclose the number of e-mail addresses it operates), it’s the nation’s third-largest free e-mail provider, after HotMail, Redmond, Wash., and Yahoo!, Santa Clara, Calif.
Dally said letting users play with color was a bigger deal than it might seem. “It sounds like a small thing,” Dally said, “but our research shows that it’s by far more interesting to users than any of the other things we put into the product.”
Excite also launched an ad-supported Internet access service on Jan. 6, FreeWorld Powered by Excite. With that and Excite Inbox, a consumer theoretically could take care of all communications needs, excepting paper mail, for free. n