Every month, you pay some company to provide your internet service. It might be Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Adelphia, BrightHouse, or whatever your cable or phone or internet company might be. One of the things they include in that monthly purchase is the use of an email account. Don’t use it!
It might not seem to make sense to pay for something, and then not use it. But there are several reasons why it is to your advantage to NOT use the email account that your internet provider gives you:
1. It’s temporary. Yes, I know you don’t have any plans to change your internet provider. But trust me, it will happen. There could be some new technology that comes up and you decide to switch to it (that was my last ISP change – we went from cable internet to FIOS). Or you might move, and your current provider doesn’t service your new area. Or, your ISP might get bought out by a bigger company and change everyone’s email address (that actually happened a few years ago in Maine). Whatever the reason, when your internet provider changes, you will no longer have the email account so you will have to change email addresses. The really silly thing would be to change to an email that’s provided by the NEW internet company, because that one is ALSO temporary.
2. You get limited server space. The amount of space you get on the internet provider’s email server will vary from one provider to another. But as an example, here in the Tampa Bay area if you are a Road Runner customer (BrightHouse), the standard email account gets 100 mb of space for emails. That is very little space. That means you need to either check your email regularly and delete most of them, or you need to use an email program such as Outlook and download them regularly to your computer. If you get a fair amount of email and don’t check it for a few days, you reach your 100 mb limit and any further email that gets sent to you just bounces back to the sender. You can get more space, but of course that means buying a more expensive package.
3. Spam filters are probably weak. Internet service providers are not known for their stellar spam-blocking capability. So you will either end up with a bunch of junk email in your inbox regularly, or you will have to be very selective about where you give out your email address. You might even use a second email account for “junk” in order to keep it out of your “real” account. But in reality, it’s just a matter of time before your primary email address gets invaded by the spammers too.
There are other reasons, but these are the 3 big ones.
So if you don’t use the email account that you get with your internet connection, what should you use? What I recommend is a web-based email account. I use Gmail so I can vouch for that service personally – it’s practically perfect as far as functionality. Of course, there are other web-based email services such as MSN, Hotmail, and Yahoo. And Microsoft recently introduced Outlook.com, which is being talked about as the first real competitor to Google’s Gmail service.
If you own a business or have your own website with your own domain name, that is another good option because you own it. For example, since I own the domain “ComputerTutorFlorida.com”, I could have the email address “Scott@computertutorflorida.com” or really ANYTHING@computertutorflorida.com. I don’t use that email because the domain name is a little long for people to type out. Back when Gmail was first introduced in 2004, I was able to get the email address “firstname.lastname@example.org” and that has been my primary email account ever since.
How does Gmail handle the 3 points listed above that are problems with the ISP email account?
1. It’s NOT temporary. When you sign up for a Gmail account, it is yours for life. It does not matter what company supplies your internet connection, and it doesn’t matter where you live. So you can switch to Gmail one time, and you don’t have to worry about sometime in the future having to change your email address.
2. You get LOTS of server space – probably more than you will ever use. Every time you are in your Gmail account, you will see a little bar at the bottom of the screen that shows how much of your available space you have used. I have had my primary Gmail account for about 9 years, and I get a TON of email. And if it’s an email that I think I might need to refer to in the future, I don’t delete it from Gmail’s server. And still, after all that time and all those emails, I am currently using 35% of my available space (using 3.6 gb out of 10.1 gb available). I have been at 35% for years, so I’m not worried about running out of space for my emails.
3. Spam filters are excellent. There have been times in the past where I have used “throwaway” email accounts in order to divert the spam away from my primary account. But over the years I have learned that with Gmail I don’t need to do that. Gmail has such intelligent spam filters, I use my primary account for everything. In fact, a lot of internet marketers will tell you, “never put your main email address on your website, because it will be harvested by spammers and you’ll be inundated with junk emails”. But I don’t even worry about that because Gmail filters that garbage out and I hardly ever see spam in my Inbox. I do still check my spam folder sometimes, just in case something ends up there that shouldn’t. That happens sometimes, but not often.
One other point to consider. Usually, when I suggest switching from the ISP email account to Gmail, the first excuse I hear is, “Yeah, but I’ve had that email address for so long – everyone I know has it!”. Trust me – that doesn’t matter. First of all, as I mentioned in #1 above, you are going to have to switch eventually anyway. But more importantly, Gmail has this great feature that allows you to get all of the email that comes into your OLD email address to automatically come into your new Gmail account. So you will never miss any emails, even if people still email you at your old account.
If you need help in making the switch to a new email account, give me a call – I can help.
(Thanks to Door from Podnutz.com for calling in with the question for this week’s blog/podcast. If you would like to call in your own question or comment, call my Podcast Voice Mail line at 727-386-9468 – it’s available 24/7 and never answered by a human.)