Windows Live Hotmail – when branding goes bad!

Windows Live (Hot)Mail

There is a post today on the Hotmail team blog called We Heard You Loud and Clear.

In the post, Richard Sim, Hotmail’s senior product manager says:

As we prepare to launch the final version of our new web mail service, we recognize the importance of ensuring that our 260+ million existing customers come over to the new service smoothly and without confusion. By adopting the name “Windows Live Hotmail”, we believe we’re bringing together the best of both worlds – new and old

Oh dear God Richard. Hotmail is a piece of crap that should have been updated or killed off years ago and it does nothing for Microsoft except serve as an embarrassment for anyone in Microsoft who is confronted with it in public.

You don’t believe me? Read my post on Hotmail and the 80+ comments by other frustrated Hotmail users on the post.

You don’t believe them, look at your main competition – Yahoo! Mail and Gmail. Check out the feature comparison put together by TechCrunch last night:
WebMail Feature comparison

Hotmail is slow and it has no features!

Richard, the Hotmail brand is badly tarnished – take the opportunity to kill it now. Quickly and mercifully.

And for God’s sake, surely you can do a better branding job than Windows Live HotMail. Whose idea was that?

Short and snappy it ain’t. But maybe that’s not what you were going for. If not, how about “Windows (almost) Live (but really slow) HotMail (um, sorry about all the problems and lack of features)” instead?

It fits the non-snappy thing you have going on and has the advantage of being truthful. Although, considering Bill Gates’ recent performances, truth doesn’t seem to be top of Microsoft’s current agenda either.

Richard, you guys need to drop the idea of putting Windows Live in front of all your Windows Live offerings. I understand you are going for consistent branding across your Windows Live offerings but if you have poor branding why tarnish all your products with it?

Here’s a thought, how about a snappy name? Everyone else is doing it. HotMail + Live Mail + [pain of using it] = HiveMail!

Or just Live Mail. Drop the Windows and the Hotmail in one go. People would go for that.

Don’t be afraid to drop Hotmail (people don’t love it as much as you seem to think) and companies change their brands all the time. In most cases for the better.

9 thoughts on “Windows Live Hotmail – when branding goes bad!”

  1. Hotmail was grand for what it was for, they essentially led the way and deserve some respect for that. And there’s no reason why they couldn’t bring the brand back to the front by looking at what Gmail and Yahoo Mail are doing and improving on it (embrace and extend, the Microsoft way). But yes, Windows Live Hotmail is a dumb name. Call it Hotmail or call it Windows Live Mail, get off the bloody fence.

  2. God Tom, Not hivemail. I get itchy at the thought….my mother used to tell me I got hives from hanging around with the boys from the council estate :-/

  3. My main problem is with a web-app putting the name Windows in front of it.

    To me Windows clearly meant “desktop” and not “desktop and web.” Now I am not so sure. Is diluting a name a good move?

  4. Tom the reason for the name change back is because most Hotmail users have not converted over to LiveMail – see the market % figures from HitWise. I guess this is one way Microsoft can convince the mass of Hotmail users to convert their accounts over to Live.

  5. i set up a windows live new e-mail account and cant acess it now can you ring me on 0857539981 to assist me on what to do to get it back thanks from paul.

  6. Tom the reason for the name change back is because most Hotmail users have not converted over to LiveMail – see the market % figures from HitWise. I guess this is one way Microsoft can convince the mass of Hotmail users to convert their accounts over to Live.

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