Free webmail considered harmful

I find it strange that in this day and age, I still have friends using Yahoo Mail or, god forbid, Hotmail. I guess I don’t really get webmail. Sure, it’s great for checking mail when you’re away from home but I can’t imagine using it for normal, day-to-day use. But to each their own, this isn’t really my point anyway.

My problem is the advertising. I don’t care how much storage they’re giving you now or how much they’ve improved their interfaces, any mail system that inserts advertising at the bottom of every message you send out is crappy by definition. Why should I have to look at ads just because you use a poor e-mail service? If you must use free webmail, at least get a Gmail account; they confine the ads to the person actually using the service, the way it should be. Never mind that these advertising footers make your mail more likely to be flagged by spam filters. Hotmail is particularly bad here; I’ve seen a lot of otherwise legitimate mail filtered out because of the ads at the bottom.

It’s particularly confusing seeing some of my more technical friends doing this. You are people who own your own domains, have web sites, and have the ability and resources to set up any mail system of your own or pay for service from someone who offers something better. And this goes for anyone using free mail for professional correspondence as well. There are far superior options now, why not use them?


Danny Howard says:


If you are backpacking then finding an SSH-capable public terminal can be a pain in the ass. And I have yet to meet a hosted web mail interface that doesn’t blow chunks. That, and, frankly, I’d just as soon entrust Google with keeping redundant, HA copies of my data then do all the work to do it myself. The text ads on Gmail aren’t too obnoxious, and I keep a finger on the pulse of what “normal” users are doing.


Kenn Christ says:

Sure, webmail definitely has its uses, and I have a copy of Roundcube installed so I can get to my IMAP box from anywhere.

While I don’t use Gmail because I’m not a fan of using webmail for normal, daily use (my Gmail account is actually forwarded to my regular mailbox), it’s different from what I’m talking about here because while you have to see the ads when you’re using it, they aren’t attached to all your outgoing mail for everyone else to see. This is as it should be: the person using the service should be the one made to see the advertising, not everyone they send mail to.