ISPs Should Exit The E-Mail Business

Hey check it out.  Comcast is ticking people off again.  :o)

Stop The Cap! – HissyFitWatch: Frustration XFINITY – Comcast’s Nationwide Sporadic E-Mail Outage

Of course, I should probably give Comcast a break here.  All the e-mail nonsense I’ve dealt with in the past year has had one thing in common.  ISP ACCOUNTS!!!

On my own Death Star account when AT&T slapped DSL and U-Verse customers with bandwidth caps last year I immediately began the process of “De-AT&Ting” everything so I could leave AT&T without having to switch a bunch of stuff around.  One of the ways I “De-AT&Ted” was by setting up some non-ISP mail accounts and finally joining the GMail Revolution.  In its early days GMail was only for folks willing to tie the account to a mobile phone (maybe to plug Google Voice?), but when the service was opened up to everybody I set everything up and immediately observed that the GMail account worked better than the AT&T account.  The AT&T account had outdated POP-based mail technology, GMail was up to date with IMAP and worked much better when accessing e-mail on multiple devices.  The AT&T account is very much a backup, if I even want to use that account anymore.  I actually have another backup account from my pre-AT&T days that I could use instead of that one if I really wanted to.

Then there’s the e-mail schtuff I’ve been dealing with when helping my Dad out with technology.  He’s a tad old-fashioned, and still using AOL Dialup for everything (I’ll wait until you folks stop laughing  :-D), but the last time I helped him out with computer stuff we both wound up all worked up over….. ISP-provided e-mail that wasn’t working right.  😛

Why do ISPs even bother with e-mail accounts anymore?  They might as well stop dealing with all the hassles of running and maintaining e-mail servers and just recommend third-party mail-only services to their customers.  I was reading once where some cable internet packages offered 4 or 5 e-mail addresses as part of the bundle.  Seriously?  Do I really want the whole darn family to have ISP e-mail accounts and then later on everyone will have to send new addresses to all their contacts if I ever change ISPs?  😛  ISP mail accounts these days are better as a backup than a primary account, and ultimately more trouble than they’re worth.  After all, why would anyone want to have an e-mail address that would need to be replaced if they moved or didn’t like their ISP or got banned by their ISP, etc.  Sure mail services can go out of business (one service I used in college as a backup to my college e-mail now no longer exists), but that would be a better reason for someone to have to send updated contact info to everybody than “Oops I’m moving” or “Oops I got sick of my ISP.”  😛

Meanwhile, if ISPs would stop trying to use this bundled service stuff third party mail providers like GMail could get more business, heck maybe even sell more premium service where if someone liked a mail service enough they’d be willing to pay a few bucks per month for a larger account or something.  At the end of the day though, this Comcast mess isn’t the first time I’ve seen ISP mail accounts mess up, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.  😛

One wildcard here would be GMail for Google Fiber if Google Fiber started going places, but Google Anything these days seems to hold its own quite well despite Google being a huge umbrella in the tech world these days.  🙂

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