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Sunday, March 30, 2008

The way to a users heart is through their inbox

Byte and Switch has an interesting post speculating why Google is giving away hundreds of thousands of dollars in free email services to colleges and universities. Oberlin College in Ohio is the latest Gmail conversion success story, along with Arizona State University, Northwestern, Hope College, Sarah Lawrence, Macalester College, Pomona College, Hofstra, University of North Carolina (Greensboro), Clemson University, University of Texas (San Antonio), Kennesaw State University, Arkansas State University... among many others.

Google is hoping that by subsidizing free email for students will put the Gmail brand in front of their face for four years. Given that Google has massive data center resources to support email storage needs, this is probably a good investment considering the potential brand loyalty.

Plus it allows schools to spend more money on education instead of spam control.

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