The Best Providers and the Worst and Why

Oct 3, 2000

Who doesn't want free email? Heck, if you do not have free email
you are not looking to hard. But, within the numerous options are
a few well known companies that should be avoided. The reasons
why you should avoid these providers vary greatly, as you will
see. So, without further ado, here they are:

1. AOL
2. MSN

First of all, I know that AOL is not necessarily free, but AOL found
it's way onto the list because of the fact that you do not pay for
your mailbox- you pay for the service as a whole. So, why is AOL
on here? I find that the entire service- AIM, email, and the portal
itself- is excellent as a package. However, if you remove the
email from the equation, AOL would be even better.

AOL has a major problem with spam. I mean a MAJOR problem. An
example: recently my girlfriend went a couple of days without
checking her email. When she finally checked it she found 79
messages. WOW, she said, I must be real popular (Please,
withhold comment!). Then she got around to scrolling down the
screen and found that about 74 of the messages were spam.
Now, she is not one to spend much time on the internet (In fact
she still says she is going upstairs to "internet") so I would guess
that she gets less email that is generated from visiting a site than
many others.
Which really leaves me to wonder how/why AOL permits this. The
reason is relatively simple and straightforward. AOL permits spam
because they make money off of those who send the spam.

I would avoid AOL email as much as you can and I have not even
mentioned the problem with opening/sending jpg's or gif's (Trust
me, formatting these things is no fun). You have many other
options when it comes to email.

What about MSN? MSN has many of the same problems as AOL
does. Namely, the problem with excess spam. Yes, they make
money off of the spam also and yes that is why they are hesitant
to stop it from occurring. I find that MSN is not as bad on a daily
basis, but is worse from the standpoint of confusion.

I am not sure why, but a lot of the MSN spam actually looks like
real mail. In other words, the names and the headings look real
and can trick you into opening them. Which, in my mind, is even
more annoying. Otherwise, MSN is not a bad email provider and is
quite easy to use.

Finally, MAIL.COM. The nice thing about MAIL.COM is that there
is no spam. I have never received anything that was unsolicited
in my MAIL.COM account which is a welcome change. However,
MAIL.COM has their own set of problems.

The first problem is that the site is too often "Currently Not
Available", or undergoing "maintenance". Hey, it is almost 2001!
Get with it and upgrade your system to the point where everyone
can get their email all the time.

The second problem is that messages often arrive late- a little
like snail mail in that email gets lost or slides between the cracks.
In other words, the message telling your wife to meet you at the
Tractor Pull might not get through until a few days later. By then,
you have a problem. A similar problem with MAIL.COM is that you
do not get an immediate notice when you send something to a
bad email address. Most email providers will send you a very quick
heads up telling you that the address was not correct or the path
could not be found. MAIL.COM does send the notice, but often
the notice comes hours or even days later. Frustrating when you
are lead to believe that your important message made it to it's
destination when in actuality the message never did make it.

In summary, I would stay away from AOL, MSN, and MAIL.COM
email. Sure, MSN and AOL come with your internet access, but
that does not mean you have to use them as your primary email
account. I have written another epinion that highlights the best
email providers and why they are so good. Take a look for a few
ideas as to what to look for in an email provider.

Finally, who are the best email providers? The best are the best in my mind because they allow you to connect easily, always, and because they do not open your account up to tons of spam. I will admit that I have not found five (as the heading prompts) that are worthy of being "the best".

1. NETSCAPE- Almost no spam, easy to use, always works well, net based, and customizable

2. YAHOO- Little spam, expandable mailbox, fastest for access, web based, great help section for those who need it.

I am sorry, but Netscape and Yahoo are the only two email providers that I have found that are worthy of being called the best. The key is to avoid the ones that are the worst and gravitate toward the ones that are the best.

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