Many years ago, at the dawn of the internet era, a company called
iname had the rather good idea of registering a whole bunch of domain
names (you didn’t need to pay for them back then, it was first come
first served) and then getting people to use email addresses which
were prettier than the sort of firstname.lastname@example.org which one
usually got back then. They wouldn’t store your email for you, they
would just forward it on to an address which you gave them.
It was a good idea, and I took them up on their introductory offer
of one email address free for life. No matter which ISP or employer
I was using at the time, I would always have the same email address:
email@example.com. Easily memorable: perfect.
Not much later, Hotmail came along and stole a lot of iname’s thunder
with their web-based system. I think at this point iname started getting
a bit sloppy, and its servers would sometimes suffer nasty latency:
emails wouldn’t arrive until hours after they were sent. Eventually
they wound up merging with mail.com, but even that didn’t seem to
solve the reliability issues.
To make matters worse, the merged company decided that it wasn’t
bound by iname’s promises, and announced that it was stopping all
access to its outgoing mail servers unless I paid them a monthly fee.
I didn’t want to pay, of course, so that had a nasty effect: while
email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org would continue to come to
me, any replies would have to come from whatever address I was using
at the time: email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. No longer could
people see "email@example.com" on the From line of their
emails, and any replies they sent would bypass the whole iname service
entirely. I sent iname an email asking them about this, and they sent
me an automated reply which didn’t answer any of my questions.
By this point, however, the fact that most of my email was going
nowhere near iname was quite a good thing.The latency issues were
not going away, and a short-lived attempt to use firstname.lastname@example.org
as my main email address failed within a few days of my leaving Bridge.
The emails were just not getting through, and I reverted to the email
account I have with my ISP: email@example.com.
All the same, a lot of people would still write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org,
mainly because it’s so easy to remember, and eventually, their emails
would get through. Well, they won’t any more. Iname sent me another
email today, saying that they’re now going to start charging for the
forwarding service. All their promises of a lifelong email address
have gone out the window.
So don’t use iname, don’t use mail.com, and if you want to get in
touch with me, don’t use email@example.com. Use firstname.lastname@example.org
instead: I own the domain name, so I know I won’t get shafted this
(Oh, and are you interested in what iname has to say about all this?
Here you go: "Thank you for your comments and suggestions. Customer
feedback is our most valuable resource for making improvements to
our service. We will consider your feedback as we make decisions on
improving our service and bringing you new features.
You will not receive another reply to your message.Thank you again
for writing.Sincerely, The Mail.com Team.")