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Robert Puddy Fed Up With Hotmail, Favors Gmail

August 20th, 2007

Robert Puddy posted an entry to his blog last week about the problems with Hotmail and many other free email providers. Apparently Hotmail is now disabling links in even plain text emails and is also automatically placing mail that comes from any new IP address into the spam folder. Puddy’s latest email to his subscribers in the UK resulted in a massive bounceback from every Hotmail and MSN email address on his list simply because it contained a single URL. Since these kinds of issues are obviously a problem for Internet marketers, Puddy is recommending Gmail for people who need a free and reliable email service.

I can certainly agree with his sentiment here. Although I have never used Hotmail, I have been experiencing similar issues regarding automatic filtering and bouncing with Excite, another one of the free email services. Excite has become so unreliable over the past few years that I have been forced to move away from them for any serious money-making endeavors and am now gradually making the transition to Gmail. This has been a real headache because I have been with Excite for many years, all the way back to the days when I thought that Spam was something that came out of a can and consisted mostly of ham and pork shoulder. This means that I need to go through hundreds of PTC sites, email lists, traffic exchanges, survey companies, and all of the other programs that I am still registered with under the Excite address and switch them over to Gmail one by one.

The problems with Excite go beyond simple filtering of spam or rerouting of mail into a bulk folder. After I got my Gmail address set up and figured out that I could forward a copy of any messages arriving at that address to my main Excite address, I discovered just how extensively Excite’s draconian filters have been affecting my email communication. Not only does Excite dump mail into the bulk folder that is not spam even when the filters are set to a low level, but they will outright block messages from reaching your inbox at all even with the spam filters turned completely off. I have also had countless instances of emails coming from family members living in the same household that did not show up in my inbox until three or four days after they were sent.

What makes this even worse is that Excite does not tell us that they are doing any of these blocking, bouncing, or delaying tactics even when we explicitly choose not to filter the mails at all. But if we do choose to turn the filters on, things can get even more messy. Originally I had the spam filter set at “Medium” because this is where it was set by default. When I started getting reports of bounced emails from family members and list services, I decided to turn off the filters and deal with the spam manually. Over one year later, I went back through some of the paid survey companies that had not sent me any surveys for several months, and after logging into the sites I discovered that many of them had deactivated my account because of bouncing emails. In other words, I was actually losing money because of Excite’s stupid, fascistic nonsense and I did not even know it!

As you can probably tell from the title of this site, I am both a Libertarian and an Internet marketer, so this kind of thing really rankles me to the core. Experiencing this type of behavior from a major email provider is a brazen insult to the principles of free speech and open communication that Karlonia (or any other libertarian society) is supposed to stand for. To add even more insult to injury, Excite’s pages are often cluttered with slow-loading banners and images, which means that every time I delete an email, move to the next email in the list, or simply return to my main inbox page, I have to wait for all those banners and other graphics to load before I can even see the text of the next page. Because of the sheer volume of mail (usually about 60-100 per day), those extra seconds spent while waiting for the pages to load can add up to a lot of lost time over the long run.

Fortunately, Gmail seems to offer much better service across the board. Instead of deceptively blocking emails, anything that Google’s filter sees as spam is directed to the Spam folder but is still viewable by the user. From the Spam folder, we can mark individual messages as “Not Spam” and place them back into the regular Inbox, or we can simply delete them. The Gmail interface is also much cleaner and loads much more quickly than Excite ever has. Meanwhile, I have not yet encountered any of the annoying server slowdowns that sometimes affect Excite and there never seems to be any interruption in the service. Another nice feature of Gmail is that when composing a message, it automatically saves drafts as you’re writing it, much like Wordpress does. This really comes in handy when writing longer messages that may not be completed in one sitting, or in the event of unexpected occurrences such as power failures.

Although it will take some time because of the sheer number of programs that I have to go through and change the settings for, I hope to eventually get everything switched over to Gmail, at which point I can afford to dump Excite altogether. This will be a great relief because as one might imagine, my old Excite address has picked up lots of frequently recurring spam (which interestingly enough still gets through their filters even while they are blocking some of my legitimate mail), and I have managed to keep my Gmail address almost completely spam free. The only thing that I will need to do after fully completing the switch is to acquire another address for use as a backup because I will no longer have a secondary email address after getting rid of Excite. I will probably use my hosting account for this since I am supposed to have the ability to create something like 100 email accounts as part of my original hosting package.

Update 9/16/07: About two weeks ago, I went back to my old Yahoo account that I had not used for a long time and managed to reactivate my old email address there. So far, it has proved to be a good backup email and “spam catcher” for using in conjunction with paid offer sites like Treasure Trooper.


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