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Free e-mail alternatives to Yahoo and Hotmail...

Posted By : Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on April 8, 2002 12:00 AM

Question

Both Yahoo! and HotMail seem to be increasing their advertising and are starting to

charge for certain services associated with their free e-mail accounts. Is there

another web e-mail service that is not so full of advertisements that is truly free?

- Roger

Answer

This question was answered on April 8, 2002. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Free web-based e-mail systems have been widely popular because they provide a number of valuable services for the user.

They are great for those that travel and want to stay in touch without having to lug around a laptop, because the account can be accessed from any Internet connected terminal.

If you make purchases online or participate in online auctions, free-mail accounts are a great way to keep the volume of ‘offers’ from the etailers and sellers from clogging up your primary personal account. When you start getting too many unsolicited messages, you can simply stop using the account and create a new one!

Of these free web e-mail services, Yahoo! Mail (>http://mail.yahoo.com</b>) and HotMail (www.hotmail.com) have had the largest number of users reaching into the tens of millions and both are moving towards ways to make money from these users.

They have both recently changed their service agreements in an attempt to move users to ‘premium services’ for which they charge an annual fee and to allow advertisers more access the users of the system.

For the most part, you can expect to see more and more of the free services that helped the Internet gain a critical mass become fee based or limited use services.

Remember, free services are generally advertiser supported, so expect some level of advertising with any of them. With some services, an alternative is to pay a small one-time or annual fee ($10 to $20) to eliminate the ads completely.

Mail.com (www.mail.com) has both free and pay services that will determine whether or not you are bombarded with ads when you are checking your mail. A unique feature of this service is that you have a choice of a couple dozen domains to use for your address such as @mail.com, @usa.com and doctor.com. These domains include various professions, interests, hobbies, countries and cities that can be used as the back end of your address.

If you don’t use free-mail very often, Eudora Web Mail (www.eudoramail.com) only requires you to login to the account once every six months (most others will delete an account if it has not been accessed within 45 days) and they seem to keep the ads to a minimum. It also has some basic Spam filters built-in including the filtering of known junk e-mailers.

Fastmail (www.fastmail.fm - be sure to type .fm and not .com) is one of the faster systems because it has no graphics in the interface (which means no ad banners!). In addition, it provides a vacation auto-reply feature as well as a spell checker. Advance features can be added for a fee.

There are a number of other free web based e-mail services from companies such as

Netscape (>http://webmail.netscape.com</b>)

AOL (>http://my.screenname.aol.com</b>) and

Lycos (>http://comm.lycos.com</b>) that have no real notable features but they’re certainly worthwhile alternatives to the Big Two.

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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on April 8, 2002

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