This week Microsoft has officially shuttered the Hotmail.com domain. In email marketing circles, this has been announced as the “death” of Hotmail, and in a way it is. The reality however is that Hotmail is still kicking and will be for quite some time. It is smart to begin to proactively think about the exit plan for your Hotmail.com users right now.
Microsoft has been pushing the new Outlook.com domain for the past few months. They began the transition of moving 150+ million users over to Outlook. That transition from Hotmail is now complete.
What this means to end-users is that now when you login to your Hotmail account, you are using the Outlook.com interface. You can still use your @hotmail.com address. Microsoft has said that you will never lose your @hotmail address and it will always work.
How should you approach this from a sender perspective? This is a fairly common practice in the industry as ISP’s have been bought and sold. We’ve also seen a similar change as Earthlink and Comcast users moved from .com to .net. The reality is that as time goes by fewer and fewer people will use their @hotmail address. Once the brand recognition goes away, people will stop identifying with Hotmail. Some users will transition to Outlook.com and some might use other email services.
This does not mean that Hotmail will not continue to be a major force in the pecking order of email domains. You can possibly even expect a bump as many customers add an Outlook.com alias to their account. You may now have users with multiple addresses that are actually the same account. Senders will now have another thing to study when thinking about engagement, re-permission, and list management.
Stay tuned for future developments, and don’t make any funeral plans just yet.