It may seem surprising, but it seems a few Xtra Mail customers are unsure of what to do, now they have been stung with the transition. Perhaps Telecom will spring for some cash, but I’d not be surprised if many xtra!mail customers want to leave, but do not know where to go.
Unsurprising because, well, these folk were (locked into) using an ISP for their email.
Here are three reasons why you should not use Telecom, or any ISP for that matter, as your email provider.
A: You lose the ability to easily move Internet Providers
If you move house, find a better broadband deal (e.g. TelstraClear over cable in Wellington ) or simply get frustrated at your Internet Service Provider (ISP’s) poor service, then you’ll either have to change your email address (the one all your friends know you by) or just live with the ISP that you have.
(I’ve had a Yahoo.com address since 1996, and now have a multitude of email addresses from lots of sources. I now never use or even look at an ISP’s assigned email address. Regardless of what email address I am using the most, that Yahoo address is always going to be there.)
B: You tie yourself to a brand that has negative connotations
AOL was hugely instrumental in getting the internet spread throughout America. Unfortunately their service was expensive & shoddy, and they also tried to keep their customers in a walled garden. After a while an AOL.com email address was a highly embarrassing thing to have, as their customers were clearly clueless about the internet.
Telecomms companies the world over have terrible reputations – mainly centered around poor infrastructure and poor service. AT&T is bringing down Apple’s karma with the iPhone, but at Apple is making pots of money out of the deal.
Don’t let your Telco’s bad karma bring down your personal brand.
(My first ISP was Demon, in the UK, Back in 1995. What a great name for an ISP, but unfortunately it took months for them to stop billing me after I left)
C: You miss out on the latest technology
In spite of the terrible handover, Telecom was smart in moving its customers over to Yahoo!’s mail platform. Yahoo! is a professional provider of massive web email services, while Telecom is, well Telecom.
There are a bunch of different web mail clients out there which internet providers can give you, but none can match the likes of Google, Yahoo! or Microsoft. Most of them look like they should have stayed in the 90’s.
So by setting yourself free from your ISP’s webmail you can experience webmail in Web 2.0 style, which is a whole new level of ease of use,
(I mainly POP into OSX Mail at home, and use Yahoo!Mail, & GMail for personal mail, and MS Outlook (which every corporate uses) for corporate mail.)
So which email provider should you use?
Dot Mac is expensive, has solid branding, but does tend to lag behind in technology. It is also IMAP, and not POPable, so I use it sparingly. The backup feature is good, but the mail is Not Recommended
Yahoo!mail is the grandfather here, and has both a nice ‘beta’ version and the ability to use a more basic model. That basic model’s great when I’m checking email over my phone or a dodgy internet cafe with aging computers. I pay a little bit to get a few features, including the ability to POP, and extra email addresses.
But the best of the bunch is GMail – Google has simply come up with a better way to do email, it is free, and you can POP and SMTP.
Going forward you’d back Google with gmail, and to a much lessor extent, Yahoo! to be the ones to keep the innovations coming.
Xtra customers are already with Yahoo! – should they stay there?
I have not seen the final product, but if the email is anything but a clean implementation of Yahoo!mail (i.e. no xtra branding) then I would jump ship. Anything else and you are losing out against points A: and B: above.
By jumping now, when there is plenty of confusion, you will at least be jumping when everyone expects change. You’l also avoid having to learn a new system.
I’d jump to pure mail.Yahoo.com, or, preferably, to gmail.