Why You Should Not Use the E-mail Address Provided by your ISP

Saturday, January 20, 2007 8:07
Posted in category Internet

Just about every home has the Internet. It may come via DSL, Cable Company or even *shudder* Dial-Up. The company which provides you with Internet access is called an Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP commonly provides you with e-mail accounts of your own choosing. You may be bob@comcast.net or even alice@aol.com. While seemingly convenient, using e-mail addresses provided by through your ISP should be avoided.

Locking You In

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Your ISP isn’t there to make your life more comfortable. They exist for the sole purpose of making money. To keep you on their books, they’ll do just about anything to make their service extremely attractive. Some ISPs may require a commitment (contract) when you sign up. Others may provide you with a subscription to software which protects your computer. But the simplest and strongest string to tie around the customer is an e-mail.

How could an e-mail address contain so much power and control? Well, there’s a simple answer. Have you ever needed to switch your e-mail address? It’s one of life’s least pleasant experiences. First, you need to hunt down the e-mail addresses of everyone you know and regularly correspond with. If you’re lucky, you’ve kept your address book up to date. Next, you need to formulate a nice e-mail stating your changing your e-mail address. Last of all, (and this part is completely out of your control) the recipient of your notice needs to remember the e-mail change.

E-mail isn’t just for sending and receiving electronic letters. Many websites use e-mail addresses as part of the login. So, let’s say you have a Amazon, Paypal or Newegg account, if you’re switching your e-mail address, you need update all your affected profiles.

This is why e-mail, something so small, becomes the center of your universe. Changing your e-mail may be too much of a tedious task and makes it easier just to stick with your current ISP. (I can’t tell you how many people I know refused to leave AOL because of this.)

Just like a clothing store, you should feel like you may only obtain your internet service from one local. ISPs come and go. Other ISPs get bought by bigger companies. Higher quality services pop up, and better deals arrive. As most people stay in one home or apartment their entire lives, their current ISP may not be available in their new home.

Free is Free

There are plenty of alternatives when it comes to e-mail. (I’ll tell you my personal favorite later on.) Best of all, many e-mail services are free. As you already know, I’m a huge fan of Gmail. Other good choices include Hotmail and Yahoo. They make their money from advertising. If you don’t mind ads, then you don’t have to pay a dime. However, if ads perturb you, for a small annual fee, you can be ad free.

When you’re looking around for a free e-mail provider, be sure you find one that’s been around for a while. This will point to a bit of stability. If you like using an e-mail program on your local computer (such as Microsoft Outlook Express, Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird), make sure that the e-mail service provides POP/SMTP services. Some of them charge money for this privilege. (Gmail doesn’t charge money for this, but be sure to have a look at the information carefully on how to set this up.) Also, have a look at the message size limits. Most services let you send and receive e-mails up to 10MB in size (including attachments.)

My Solution

I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for this one. I like to control my destiny. So, I purchased the domain wortmannfamily.com. I of course have my own e-mail address, myname@wortmannfamily.com. This means no matter what ISP I use, no matter how many times it changes, my e-mail goes uninterrupted. Now, that’s not all I do. I’ve found that most web hosts don’t provide an idea e-mail interface that I can use via the web. I also like to download my e-mail to my computer at home via Microsoft Outlook. The best solution I’ve found is to have e-mails sent to myname@wortmannfamily.com forward to my gMail account. I can then use Gmail to check my mail on the web, as well as download all my messages from Gmail into Microsoft Outlook. Most importantly, I can use the Gmail to send e-mail, pretending that it’s sending from the wortmannfamily.com. Finally, since I choose where myname@wortmannfamily.com forwards e-mail to, I can switch e-mail services any time I’d like.

Well there you go. You have the facts and do with them as you will!

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