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Microsoft has announced plans to pull the plug on the popular free email newsletter service ListBot in order to encourage small businesses to use its paid service, List Builder.

In an email to users, Microsoft said the ListBot service would shut down in August.

A FAQ on the subject, which can be seenhere, states: " effective August 6, 2001, all ListBot email functionality will be disabled. From August 6-20 ListBot users will be able to download their subscriber lists and copy their archived messages from ListBot. On August 20, the ListBot service will be completely discontinued."

As an alternative to ListBot, Microsoft is offering the $149 a year List Builder service, which has been available from its bCentral small business portal since its launch in February. Microsoft claims List Builder provides the business functionality lacking in ListBot, including the ability to target emails and better subscription management - great news if you're into sending mass marketing email, not so good if you're running a discussion forum.

Hobbyists could look to run free lists through MSN Communities, Microsoft has suggested.

ListBot, which is paid for by advertising, has around 100,000 customers (10 per cent of who pay for an enhanced service) and the closure of it will doubtless anger the many community organisations and charities currently use the newsletter service.

However given Microsoft's drive to create more of its revenues from services delivered over the Internet, the move doesn't come as too much of a surprise.

Microsoft obtained ListBot as part of its November 1998 acquisition of LinkExchange. ®

External Links

ListBot
MSN Communities

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