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Yahoo email not in the bag

The leading Net portal hits a speed bump as 20 percent of its free email customers lose service for several hours.

Leading Net portal Yahoo hit a bump in the road today as almost 20 percent of its free email customers lost service for several hours.

The outage began early this morning and continued until service was restored between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. PT today, according to Katie Burke, senior producer for Yahoo Mail. She attributed the outage to a "technical problem" but declined to elaborate, citing company policy. She noted that Yahoo has not experienced this particular type of glitch before.

Burke said that, although there would be some delay in email that was sent during the outage, no messages were lost.

"I have been trying to log in to my account, and I am getting this stupid error message every time," one irate user posted on a Yahoo message board. "And there is no help available. They suck! Is this why it is called 'free' email service???"

Some postings on the message boards complained that the service has been troublesome for a few days, though Burke said the technical problem that caused the outage occurred this morning.

She said Yahoo does not disclose subscriber numbers.