Don’t go anywhere near iname or mail.com

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 100235.9972@compuserve.com 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:

felix@journalism.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 felix@journalism.com would continue to come to

me, any replies would have to come from whatever address I was using

at the time: salmon@ideaus.com, or fsalmon@bridge.com. No longer could

people see "felix@journalism.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 felix@journalism.com

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: fsalmon@nyc.rr.com.

All the same, a lot of people would still write to me at felix@journalism.com,

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 felix@journalism.com. Use felix@felixsalmon.com

instead: I own the domain name, so I know I won’t get shafted this

time.

(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.")

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26 Responses to Don’t go anywhere near iname or mail.com

  1. willie Mponda says:

    Super. Good.

    keep it up.

  2. Mark Cantrell says:

    Iname stopped free forwarding services probably due to cost constraints, but you can still receive email to iname and send from the iname email if you log into the iname site. I have been using iname for about a decade with superior service to other email services that simply disappeared.

  3. Robert Keel says:

    I’ve had the same issues – three times now I’ve had to be the thorn intheir side in order to get them to back-up their initial claims.

    Any lawyers out there? How about a class action on this?

  4. Very Annoyed says:

    Mail.com has been down for 2 days now.. I know this is an old post but I guess they haven’t learned. I hope everything is in tact at least when / if they come back online. Once they do, I’m taking all my contacts and switching – this is the last time I go without email.

  5. Bart says:

    Jan 22 and Mail.com is still down.

    Maybe they are going away. Maybe that’s for the best. I know I will take everything off that I had if it ever comes back up. And I’ll never go back.

  6. Jenny Powel says:

    Who is Jenny Powel, and what does she drink in the tub?

    Itwitis

  7. David Fischer says:

    My mail.com forwarding (iname) has been down for over a day. Anyone experiencing the same problem and know if it will be fixed?

  8. Mike W. says:

    I experienced the same B.S. with iname, and would certainly not recommend them. Between the probelms described above, the interruption of pop-up ads in between answering emails has on a number of occasions resulted in the loss of replies I was about to send. Iname = Inuisance; don’t use their non-service.

  9. Mike W. says:

    I experienced the same B.S. with iname, and would certainly not recommend them. Between the probelms described above, the interruption of pop-up ads in between answering emails has on a number of occasions resulted in the loss of replies I was about to send. Iname = Inuisance; don’t use their non-service.

  10. rex says:

    I’m trying to transfer a domain and just realized that the email associated with the domain is an iname email. Guess I took their lifelong promise a little seriously. Anyway, now I have to fax my old registrar an email change request, a copy of my Driver’s license and a utility bill on which the address matches the ID. I hate iname and mail.com

  11. goldfpond says:

    Hi! What is this?!

  12. Toby says:

    I actually got on board with this as well when they were offering free mail forwarding for ‘life’. Well apparently my ‘life’ was only a few months because I got the same correspondence as you did offer me the ‘option’ of now paying for my free forwarding for life at something like $9.99/yr. The lease they could have done was offer a one time payment to keep the promises iname made, i very well may have paid a one time $50 to keep that email, but no way was i going to be paying them for the rest of my ‘life’.

    Interesting point however, the email i registered with them is still ‘active’ in-so-far as it’s still pointing to a now defunct email server which i have no access to but no one else can purchase that email address as i do still ‘own’ it for what it’s worth now which is nothing!

    I did try contacting them with my opinion of their business practices using a few choice words that made it clear in no uncertain terms that what they had done to so many people was not just reprehensible but blatantly bordered on blackmail!

    I feel your pain, and defiantly concur that staying away from this company and anything they touch is a good idea!

  13. Toby says:

    I actually got on board with this as well when they were offering free mail forwarding for ‘life’. Well apparently my ‘life’ was only a few months because I got the same correspondence as you did offer me the ‘option’ of now paying for my free forwarding for life at something like $9.99/yr. The lease they could have done was offer a one time payment to keep the promises iname made, i very well may have paid a one time $50 to keep that email, but no way was i going to be paying them for the rest of my ‘life’.

    Interesting point however, the email i registered with them is still ‘active’ in-so-far as it’s still pointing to a now defunct email server which i have no access to but no one else can purchase that email address as i do still ‘own’ it for what it’s worth now which is nothing!

    I did try contacting them with my opinion of their business practices using a few choice words that made it clear in no uncertain terms that what they had done to so many people was not just reprehensible but blatantly bordered on blackmail!

    I feel your pain, and defiantly concur that staying away from this company and anything they touch is a good idea!

  14. Toby says:

    I actually got on board with this as well when they were offering free mail forwarding for ‘life’. Well apparently my ‘life’ was only a few months because I got the same correspondence as you did offer me the ‘option’ of now paying for my free forwarding for life at something like $9.99/yr. The least they could have done was offer a one time payment to keep the promises iname made, i very well may have paid a one time $50 to keep that email, but no way was i going to be paying them for the rest of my ‘life’.

    Interesting point however, the email i registered with them is still ‘active’ in-so-far as it’s still pointing to a now defunct email server which i have no access to but no one else can purchase that email address as i do still ‘own’ it for what it’s worth now which is nothing!

    I did try contacting them with my opinion of their business practices using a few choice words that made it clear in no uncertain terms that what they had done to so many people was not just reprehensible but blatantly bordered on blackmail!

    I feel your pain, and defiantly concur that staying away from this company and anything they touch is a good idea!

  15. j s says:

    Mail.com is a lot more reliable than it used to be, but that’s probably because the actual mail traffic is now handled by Outblaze.

  16. j s says:

    Mail.com is a lot more reliable than it used to be, but that’s probably because the actual mail traffic is now handled by Outblaze.

  17. David Taylor says:

    Review of Mail.com and Outblaze, probably illegal activity!! Read this before you use their system.

    Mail.com did an upgrade disabling premium services for customers on email.com. They could not resolve it, would not reply to customer service emails, and did not provide a phone number to speak with a live person.

    Wait, it gets worse. We went online to cancel our accounts and to our amazement they also removed the cancellation option for the account!

    Our only course after two weeks was to contact our credit card company for every account, stop future payments, and dispute the charges.

    The poor ethics of this company are amazing and I’m suprised their actions are not illegal. I would highly recommend anyone considering subscribing, read all the horror stories first. A very unprofessional and unethical company.

  18. David Sloat says:

    I also was an early user of iname – and still am – but they have gone through many changes – most for the worst. When I first signed up I was cautioned by our IT dept to never send anything ‘personal’ because iname was based in Singapore (or some such) and they didn’t have the same ‘ethics’ as US companies. And yes, they changed from free forwarding and started charging, but they offered free web-mail – so I took it. When my wife wanted an easy web-based email account I got her a teacher.com name – and she loved it. But then they started having so many annoying ads that we opted for the paid-for account just to get email only service – especially avoiding the bandwidth guzzling ads that had to download over our dial-up line. Yes there were years when service suffered, but we are troglodytes that demand fast service, so still we hung in there. I finally bought my own domain name, but kept the free iname web-mail account to use for old contacts that didn’t know about the new name – and my wife loved hers too much to change. Then came the 1000 lb gorilla: AOLwas the latest company to purchase the many-times sold iname business. The worst part was that there financial gurus saw the value of ‘desirable’ names (like teacher.com) and sold the domain name out from under us. Poof – my wife was no longer happy – so I bought her an ‘almost as good’ domain name of her own – but she still grumbles about AOL and the hatchet job they did to her on-line life. I still use my iname.com (and a usa.com – there were a few domain names they did not sell). AOL has tried to upgrade their user interface, but like all high-powered tech geeks that use the latest computers with T10000 lines [ :-) ] their idea of a ‘quality’ interface and mine differ: still packed with bandwidth hog ads, lots of java-like interactions that all have to load before the actual mail list pops up, and using their java makes it impossible to access my mail from my LG Rumor II (it worked fine prior to their ‘upgrade’ – grumble, grumble).
    Bottom line: I still use both my iname.com and usa.com accounts – but only for trash collection (my godaddy web mail has my spam mail forwarded to it), and for those inevitable contacts from someone who saw an old genealogy post using iname.com and uses it to convey valuable info I wouldn’t get otherwise – but I only check the painful AOL interface about 1 or 2 X per week (at most). So the free account still serves a useful purpose – but I’m not recommending the high-overhead AOL interface to anyone who can now buy their own domain name for about the same $$ as paid service at any of the mail.com/AOL site (mail.com now being the owner of iname.com).

  19. bob nichols says:

    I was one of the early iname subscribers. At the time (1994/1995?) they offered
    all those teacher.com, engineer.com, for a price, but iname.com was free forwarding
    to up to 5 mail servers. Worked fine for me with a few glitches. I have changed
    employers and ISP’s at least five times in the past 19 years and have never had to send
    out email address change to dozens or hundreds of correspondents. The first glitch
    was when they started charging, but so far I have got my money’s worth at now
    $19.95 per year. Next glitch was when they changed from 5 forwarding addresses
    to one address. Before that time I received maybe one spam per month. After that
    change I was getting 100 spams per day. Now it is a year later and they have an
    adequate spam filter. Also last year they had an outage that lasted a little longer than a day, but the tech support responded to me with the info and I haven’t seen any lengthy outages in the past nine months. Not as great as promised but since email is important for my work, the $19.95 is worth it to me.

  20. Stephen says:

    First of all, it’s interesting that 10+ years later and this thread is still going strong (well, kind of). Secondly, it’s amazing that after 17 years, I’m still an iName customer – still holding on to my “free for life” account. But as Bob (above) says, the convenience factor is there, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it. I didn’t mind @ $9.99 per year… I thought that was fair — less than $1.00 per month for email forwarding. I’ve grumbled each year recently at the $19.99 price tag for the one “premium” service I use. But now, I just got an email stating that the new price is $29.99 (and it may have been $30 last year too). I know this is no longer worth it, but I’m not completely ready to mount a “here’s my new email address” campaign.

    After 17 years and hundreds of contacts, it’s not an easy thing to change. And I have some contacts (pre-Facebook and pre-LinkedIn) that only know me by my iName — two of which have just reconnected with me in the last 6 months after well over a year or two of email silence — only because iName was still active. They each made the comment that they didn’t know if I would get their emails, but were pleasantly surprised that it worked.

    So what am I saying? I have no idea… But I think I need at least two years to successfully transition from iName to another primary address. I’ve been toying with the idea for years, but at $30 a pop??? If not now, then definitely next year I’ll start my quest for iName liberation.

  21. Ivelin says:

    Stephen, Bob,

    It sounds like you are still able to use mail forwarding with iname.com. How do you manage your forwarding preferences. I used to pay for forwarding but lost the URL of the management site.

    http://www.iname.com is now a parked domain without any useful information for users of the iname.com mail forwarding service.

    Thank you for your help in advance.

    Ivelin

  22. Anonymous says:

    I think someone is using my old iname email address for spamming purposes. i cant find the site to login i did a search and it found I still owned the account can anybody tell me where to go to log in to iname emial maccount pls advise ty
    johnny west

  23. Johnny West says:

    I think someone is using my old iname email address for spamming purposes. i cant find the site to login i did a search and it found I still owned the account can anybody tell me where to go to log in to iname emial maccount pls advise ty

  24. midger says:

    I signed up on 13th January 1999 for $49.95 and the promise of a free email address of my choosing (midger@geologist.com) for life from iname (iName??).

    Well, I’m still alive but not been able to access the email for over 10 years, no email queries ever got a reply, no access to the system to change settings, just nothing…

    Story of the internet I guess… Let’s sue! It’s what everyone else does ; )

  25. Jim Beard says:

    Johnny West–

    Go to mail.com. Sign in with your old iname address and password. If that doesn’t work, they may have forgotten about you completely.

  26. Bob Davis says:

    I signed up for “free” davisrs and rsdavis @ iname.com, consultant.com and engineer.com back in February 1988, for life!
    I attempted to reduce the number of $20 “Premium” emails from 6 to 2 on 6-Feb-2013. I succeeded with 3 of them but could find no way to do so with davisrs@iname.com. I could not see paying $120/year for all of these email addys.
    Now they are bugging me for payment under terms I never agreed to in 1998, when I signed up for the one email addy I no longer want and could find no way to change. (So much for “Premium” service!)
    Mail.com’s “Premium” mail has provided me with worse service and more threats than their “Free” mail.
    I don’t mind paying $20 to $40/year for service, but, if the treats continue, perhaps I should find another email service and dump all 6 Mail.com emails I have maintained for 15 years!!! Problem is, they do apparently own engineer.com, making it very difficult to do so.

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