Most Popular Email Providers in History

Almost everyone in the world now has an electronic mailbox. This internet service is now 50 years old since Ray Tomlinson had ARPANET installed. Arpanet was a computer network, created 2 years earlier in 1969, which became the Internet in 1983. But what are the Most Popular Email Providers from 1997 to 2020? And how many users are there? In today’s article we are going to learn about these very data.

Most Popular Email Providers – 1997/2020

Let’s start with an initial data point. What is the most popular email provider in 2020? As of today, Gmail is the most used service worldwide. In fact, in the second quarter of 2020, there are almost 1 billion and 700 thousand active users. At the second place of this particular ranking we find NetEase Mail, a Chinese internet company, born in 1997 and in continuous strong growth. In third place is, Microsoft’s email service, which was launched on July 31, 2012.

And in 1997, what was the situation? Definitely different! For example, there was no gmail, a service that was launched only from 2004 onwards. In first place there was MSN Hotmail with a figure of over 11 million, followed by AOL Mail, with almost 10 million. Far behind these two services were Yahoo, NetEase Mail and Docomo. MSN Hotmail also dominated this ranking for many years. Despite the strong growth of Yahoo Mail, it wasn’t until 2012 that Gmail managed to overtake (which in the meantime had replaced MSN Hotmail). From 2012 onwards it was a domination for gmail: it has been leading this particular ranking for 9 years now.

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Pro Tip: When you are sending bulk emails, you have to scrub your email list very often. It will boost your email delivery.

Arpanet and the first email

To remember all the victims of the Second World War here is a video with the deaths in each nation.The inventor of electronic mail is considered, worldwide, Ray Tomlinosn. Tomlinson was able to develop, in 1971, the ability to send and receive mail between different users and on different hosts through ARPANET. Through the use of the famous snail sign, @, it was possible to send a message to another user with a destination server.

The Arpanet project was possible thanks and above all to the United States Government that had decided to create a research institute dedicated to this project (ARPA Institute – Advanced Research Projects Agency). During the ’70s the project continued and developed. But the real turning point came in the eighties when, with the development of personal computers, its use began to grow.

The ARPA Institute in 1983 was essentially closed and became MILNET. In the meantime the Arpanet project, in the meantime named Internet, in the ’90s had its boom. With the development of the World Wide Web invented in 1989, the Internet finally took off.

The birth of commercial email companies

The first e-mail services as we know them now developed from the 90s onwards. In 1992 Microsoft Outlook made its debut, in 1996 Hotmail and the following year Yahoo Mail.

Microsoft Mail.png
Microsoft Mail Client for Windows NT:

It is in 2004 that we see the arrival of gmail: the email service that still today is by far the most used in the world. The product made by google, faster than competitors – using the Covid JavScript – has allowed this service to grow its users since the beginning.


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