Freemail services should offer support for a one time fee

Discussion in 'General' started by Big Dan, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. Big Dan

    Big Dan EQ Forum Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm just thinking out loud here. All the issues we see here with Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. could easily be fixed by a level 1 tech. Would if Hotmail offered account recovery help over the phone for a nominal fee of say $9.99?

    Think about it you'd weed out the scammers/hackers because they aren't likely to pony up the dough just to get into someone else's account. It'd be another revenue stream (not that MS is broke) and users could actually get help and have positive feelings toward the service.
     


  2. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    Hi, Dan

    Happy New Year !

    As long as we're thinking out loud here, maybe these companies could treat your option above as Stage 2. Maybe Stage 1 would be having a mandatory upgrade of ALL free accounts: Charge everyone $1/yr for the service and require a cell phone number. That puts their CC on record and, if the account gets compromised, the user 1) informs the service and 2) gets an automated call to the cell phone asking for proof of account ownership by requesting the user to punch in the last 4 CC digits.

    Would that Stage 1 recovery tactic successfully restore most of the accounts to their proper owners, leaving more difficult issues to be handled by your Stage 2 ?

    Just wondering.....
     

  3. Big Dan

    Big Dan EQ Forum Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks Froggy. Happy New Year to you too! :)

    That sounds good in theory but in practice but that $1 charge would kill off millions of accounts. That means less eyeballs on ads and the less Hotmail is able to support itself. It might even lead to slippery slope where Hotmail has to charge more to make up for lost ad revenue. Microsoft could run it for free without ad revenue at all it certainly won't break their bank but it is a business afterall.
     
  4. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    Hi, Dan

    Good points.

    However, I wasn't actually thinking of the $1/yr as including an ad-free experience, but more along the lines of the $1 charge being for the peace of mind of the account owners, knowing that they would have (perhaps) an easier time of reclaiming their accounts in the event of compromise if their CC information was "on the books." No, I really wouldn't expect Hotmail to reduce the ads for a mere $1/yr. So, there wouldn't have to be anything that affects Hotmail revenue.

    (Besides -- shhhh... this is a secret -- I use the webmail ad blocker extension for FF, Opera and Comodo Dragon [Chrome], so I don't see the ads anyway. ;) )
     
  5. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    Even with a credit card you'd still need some other form of identification. It would be nice if consumers also had something in their possession to help identify themselves and protect their accounts. I'm not saying everyone should be required to pony up for an RSA token, but devices like that, YubiKey, and/or the cell phone used to register the account, are nice options at the moment. I use 2-form whenever possible, including Facebook and Google logins. I've been using RSA for over 10 years so adding Google Authenticator for my Gmail services wasn't much of a leap or inconvenience.

    In areas where devices are not available holding a picture of your photo ID when you create the account, and again holding it in a current picture when trying to recover it might be acceptable?

    Last I knew Yahoo free support would accept a faxed copy of a drivers license as proof of identity. Microsoft accepts having knowledge of what existed in an account before it was compromised as part of proof of identity.

    I don't think charging for support to recover a compromised account is terrible (unless the situation repeats often) but the proof of identity problem also needs to be fixed before they are able to charge for such a service.
     

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