Hopefully, you’ve realized that e-mail is free. The explosion of the Internet has increased your choices and decreased your cost ... to nothing. But some of the original e-mail service providers continue to charge unknowing customers for a service that is now free. So consider this a public service announcement: if you’re paying for e-mail, you’re getting ripped off.
The early days
Let’s have a little history lesson. Some early adopters of e-mail entered the game when e-mail was only available on a subscription basis (usually it included a dial-up access, too). Companies like AOL were acting as both Internet Service Providers and e-mail providers. This was a great deal at the time — everything was bundled into one easy-to-pay bill. All we had to do was write a
check once a month and listen for the “you’ve got mail” messages.
Enter high speed Internet
But since dial-up is rarely used anymore, most consumers opted for free e-mail alternatives as they switched to broadband connections. Even service providers like AOL stopped charging for their e-mail*. You can check it anywhere, and you don’t have to pay a dime.
We forgot to mention ...
The problem is that some of the providers didn’t tell their customers that the dial-up connection they had been paying for (as a part of their e-mail bundle) wasn’t needed anymore. Why would you need a dial-up connection when you are already connected to a high-speed connection full time? So as a result, some people continued to pay those monthly bills, thinking that they would lose their e-mail if they stopped. They were (and many still are) paying for their e-mail.
*Technically, the “e-mail” is free. But the other stuff in the bundle isn’t (even though it’s obsolete). So if you have a parent, a co-worker, a friend, or even just an acquaintance who is still paying for their e-mail service, do the right thing. Send them a link to G-Mail and a copy of this article.
And as always, The Computer Guys USA are available to help you get up and running with whatever [free] e-mail service you choose. For a free consultation, give us a call at (928) 468-0000. We can make sure your computer is virus-free and that you’re getting the most from your Internet connection.
It’s time to leave the paid e-mail in the ’90s where it belongs. If you want something fun to help you remember that time period, go get yourself a Vanilla Ice tape. Those should be free now, too.
Daniel Taft is the senior network administrator and member/owner of Computer Problem Specialists, LLC and CEO of “The Computer Guys USA” with a degree in applied computer science. His career spans more than 20 years.