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Yahoo!’s free online email service is to grow new tentacles with the company planning to add two domains alongside its existing “@yahoo.com” addresses.

The struggling internet firm said it is to introduce “@ymail.com” and “@rocketmail.com” to give people who use its service a better choice of Yahoo! email address options.

According to industry stats, the company has about 266 million peeps across the globe with a Yahoo! email address, making it the most popular web-based email in the world, ahead of Microsoft’s Hotmail and Google’s Gmail.

"We recognise that people want an email address that reflects who they are," Yahoo! Mail vice president John Kremer told Agence France-Presse.

"We have a lot of user IDs out there and it is pretty crowded. We want to remedy that and make sure users get the ID they want."

Free web-based mail addresses are typically dished out on a first-come, first-served basis, so the likelihood of the John Smiths of this world getting their first choice from the likes of Yahoo! or Hotmail is, well, unlikely.

"This adds millions and millions of new Yahoo accounts out there for users," Kremer said. "Effectively, we are tripling the size of the Yahoo name space."

Yahoo!’s decision to offer up alternative domain names in what is a clear grab for more users of its email service comes in a week when the firm’s CEO Jerry Yang has been attempting to steer his company through choppy waters.

Sliding revenues, a public spat with rebel investor Carl Icahn and the termination of takeover talks with rival Microsoft has proved too much for some Yahoo! execs in what has proved a testing week for Yang as well as the company’s shareholders.

Kremer, however, didn’t mention Yahoo!’s bottom line and instead preferred a little bit of navel gazing when describing the logic behind adding the new domains.

"A happy user is one that stays around and is a Yahoo user for life," he said. ®

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