Indiatimes.com's e-mail service, Indiatimes Mail, has stopped accepting new users from today and it will completely shut down by 18 February, 2013, as per a notice on the site.
What this means is basically as of now, you cannot sign up for an Indiatimes account and the service can only be accessed by existing users.
The message on the site reads: 'You will no longer be able to send or receive mails or access your account for the purpose of reading mail and/or transfer any data (i.e. emails, tasks, documents, folders, appointments, and/or contacts) currently saved in your account post 18th February, 2013 â€“ 12 P.M (Indian Standard Time)."
It, however, added that existing users can continue to log in to all Times Internet Ltd (TIL) network sites using their Indiatimes.com e-mail address.
Asked whether TIL would start another similar service since it has the expertise and technology, Archana Vohra,VP, said, "No, not really. We have a lot of new products in the pipeline and we will continue to focus on those," she stated.
"It's not really that simple a decision. We are constantly trying out new strategies, products, and technologies. Sometimes we will succeed and sometimes we will not, but we like to keep on experimenting and building," she responded to a query on whether the slow usage patterns were the reason behind the shutdown.
"There was a cash burn, but that wasn't the point. We didn't see a great long-term future business case in free consumer e-mail, so we decided to stop it," Vohra said, adding other business models were not considered as it wasn't a revenue-led call.
This will bring the curtains down on one of the two prominent local email services (the other being rediffmail) which tried to stay relevant even as Gmail shook the global e-mail business. Recently Microsoft launched Outlook.com, a new e-mail service replacing Hotmail.com.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)