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Fast, Free, No Ads Email -- what more do you want?

Dec 20, 2000 (Updated Dec 20, 2000)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Free email; Advertisement free; FAST!; Access using any/all of these web client, POP, IMAP, WAP/WML

Cons:Minimalist web client

Ok, let's be honest... Most of you who sign up for free, web-based mail services such as Hotmail or Yahoo mail are after ONE THING -- email that you can get to from anywhere. You probably aren't really using anything else other than the simple email capabilities so that you can have an anonymous email account (for job hunting, e-commerce, alternate-valid-address, etc.). What sets MyRealBox apart from those others is three fine points: FAST, ACCESS EMAIL YOUR WAY, and ADVERTISEMENT FREE!! Choice is truly a beautiful thing!!

MyRealBox is based on a Novell product called the Novell Internet Messaging System (NIMS). The product is completely Internet standards based and is truly ultra fast!! For those impressed by the sheer technology, you might be interested to know that at one time they were supporting ALL of their users with a single, one-processor server (during it's beta phase). You can even see stats and a picture of the single Dell server at

The service is so fast in fact, that I have my ISP's email messages (on a "regular" unix based IMAP4 server) has it's mail diverted over to MyRealBox. This capability is called Proxy (more on this later). The point is, that instead of waiting for 60-90 seconds to authenticate and download my email from my normal email account, I have MyRealBox download my mail to it and then I'm able to get it from MyRealBox instead. The end result is that I get my mail much faster, and I can also view it using their web-based interface...

Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself. With MyRealBox, I can use any number of email clients to get my mail. In addition to the web-based email interface, I can also use any POP3 or IMAP4 compliant client. This means I can use Eudora, Outlook, Outlook Express, Pegasus, GroupWise, etc. as my client. Depending on the client I can also choose to leave my messages on the server -- that way I still have access to the messages via the web. Personally, I use Outlook Express and the IMAP4 method to get my mail. It works great! And it was very easy to setup. The instructions to configure your email client are easy to follow and all available at the web site. If you're security conscious, you can even ask for all your MyRealBox sessions to be sent using SSL.

Here's the coolest part: You can also use a WAP enabled or WML enabled cell phone or PDA to get to your MyRealBox email!! Unfortunately I don't have one yet, but I'm fixing to get one soon. Then I'll be able to get my email even when I'm on the go...

Of course (as I've mentioned) there's also a web-based client. The web client is not the prettiest I've seen, but it works well enough. It may be a little less flashy than you're used to, but that's because they intentionally designed the client to NOT REQUIRE Java, Javascript and be HTML 1.0 compliant (which basically means you can get to your email from ANYTHING)!! The worst part of it is that it does not parse HTML, so if you send me a URL and I view it with the web client it does not show up as a hyperlink. This is a function of the client, not MyRealBox itself. If I view the message using Outlook Express, I then see the link as a hyperlink and can click on it to go to that site. Other than that, you can do all the normal types of web client things you'd expect to do: Create/Delete folders, send/receive/reply/forward emails, etc. There's also an address book which you can configure yourself, or use it to do query's against any publically available LDAP directory server -- such as,, or perhaps even your own company's internal LDAP server. The address book is very simple (again a function of the client), and one feature I wish they'd add is the ability to share an address book with another MyRealBox user.

There are also several things you can do that I haven't seen anywhere else (although I haven't checked others recently). You can do the account proxy to another POP or IMAP email server, which means that periodically will effectively login to your other email accounts and download the mail to your account. The benefit to doing this is that you now have a central place to go and read ALL your emails. They've also included a Rules engine, so you can set up forward, move, delete, or carbon copy rules for email based on parameters you define -- such as email from a certain person or with a certain subject or body. This is pretty handy for helping you get organized. Another cool feature is that you can switch languages of MyRealBox on the fly. Choose from 26 different languages - from English to Chinese to Arabic to Spanish to... Now, this does not actually translate the messages itself into various languages, but rather changes the menus and lets you type in new messages in that language. Handy if you're an international secret agent!

A couple of other handy features are Auto-forward (lets you forward to any other email account), the Auto-Reply/Vacation (which lets you respond to all incoming email and let everyone know you'll be ignoring their emails for a while), and Signature (which lets you tag a consistent message or your contact info on to all your emails).

MyRealBox is also Advertisement free. There are NO BANNERS of any kind permitted at MyRealBox. There is also no annoying message added to the bottom of all your emails (like other free services do) -- It's just pure email, plain and simple. Registering for the email service is also quick and painless -- asking only for your name, password, and security question. It takes all of 10 seconds to register and you're up and running! They also claim to have an anti-spam filtering capability, and truth-be-told I have not received any spam at all really -- except of course for opt-in spam.

For the longest time, the service was in "BETA", but that changed this week. Now that they're no longer a beta site -- and officially open for business... existing users will notice that really nothing has changed except for the fact that the home page no longer says beta.

Free, pain-free, ad-free = what more do you need?

Recommend this product? Yes

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