from the truth-in-advertising dept
A year ago we praised Yahoo! for taking the bold step of offering its email customers unlimited storage space. It was a great concept, but Lee Gomes at the Wall Street Journal recently discovered that we should all start putting scare quotes around "unlimited." It seems that if you leave too many messages in your Yahoo! Mail inbox, you start running into problems. Gomes got a mysterious error message, followed by several years worth of email disappearing. Yahoo! says it can get the messages back in a few hours (presumably restoring them from backup tapes). But this is still pretty embarrassing for Yahoo!, and it's unfortunately all too common in the tech world. Companies love to advertise unlimited service when their systems aren't actually set up for "unlimited" usage. Yahoo! shouldn't advertise an unlimited service unless it's actually unlimited, and somebody should have given some thought to what happens when people store a ton of messages in their inbox. Maybe there's something to be said for Google and Microsoft's approach: instead of claiming that your service is unlimited, pick limits that are high enough (2 GB in Microsoft's case, 6 and constantly growing in Google's) that most users will never have to worry about them, but still give the IT guys a specific number to aim for.