Acronym Update 11/19/07

Dear Friends,

Some quick info for you on Yahoo Mail….

Those Yahoo Mail servers were acting really crazy this weekend!

As almost all of you know, Yahoo Mail is a free mail service put out by….Yahoo (big surprise).
It is primarily accessed through web mail, but some of you may have AT&T DSL for an Internet Service. Their e-mail is processed through Yahoo servers. Ha ha ha, that’s why you’ve had so many problems with your AT&T DSL e-mail in recent months. Ok, I’ll be fair — its a large part of the problem.

Finally, some of you may have Yahoo Mail Plus. It’s a pretty good service, if you are married to your @yahoo.com email address. The $20 per year subscription allows you to download the email into a local software application such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Apple Mail, etc. For some people who never got used to web mail, this is a nifty option.

I understand some of you don’t like to use an email account provided by your ISP – ie. @sbcglobal.net, @att.net, @comcast.net, etc. What if something happens to your ISP and they lose the rights to keep their domain name? You all fondly remember when your email address changed from @home.com to @attbi.com to @comcast.net within about 18 months. This was not a good way to do business and Comcast knows this. I hope they wouldn’t let it happen again — ever! One positive aspect to AT&T’s DSL service is that they grandfathered in all of the old domains from previous ISP’s that merged over the years to form “The New at&t.” Some of you may have emails ending in @prodigy.net, @pacbell.net, @sbcglobal.net, @snet.net, or even @att.net (what new customers are offered), and are all customers of ATT DSL. Y’all know that I don’t have too many positive things to say about AT&T — so I really mean what I’m saying here. It was a nice gesture on their part.

If I were to rank web mail providers in terms of reliability and features,
1) Google (Gmail)
2) Yahoo Mail
3) Hotmail (although they are coming of age and could be better than Yahoo soon)

Back to my mail point…..
Yahoo Mail had major delays sending and receiving mail this weekend. If your life depends on your Yahoo Mail account (even for those DSL customers whose email is processed by Yahoo), its a good idea to check out the “Y! Mail Blog.” This is an unofficial blog, updated by team members at Yahoo, that notifies the public of serious issues that may affect their service. For all I know they could have said the sky is green and Hillary Clinton would make a great President in the past, but they were dead on accurate this weekend notifying by letting Yahoo Mail users know on Fri. 11/16 that Yahoo was having serious issues with their mail servers. I don’t think you need to check that website every day, but every once in a while wouldn’t hurt. You can find a link to it at
http://www.theacronym.com under Helpful Sites or simply go to http://www.ymailupdates.com

If you are running a business, don’t depend on free web mail. I think your company is too valuable to rely on an e-mail service that you really don’t have the right to complain about when something goes wrong. Yahoo Mail Plus offers some (non-US based) telephone support, but how much fun is that going to be? Gmail is a step in the right direction, but still there is no accountability. Google Apps mail for businesses is a better option, $50 at a year. You can use your own domain @yourcompany.com and you get 24/7 support.

I think most people in business would not want to use the email that their ISP provides for them. @comcast.net or @att.net doesn’t say much about the IMAGE THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO PROJECT CORPORATELY.

So what I am really saying? I think if you’re in business you’ve got to have your own domain name. Seriously consider a hosted e-mail account with the company that hosts your website (if you have one), Google Apps, or get a personal Exchange account that syncs your e-mail, calendar and contacts flawlessly between the host server and Outlook or Entourage. None of these choices would run you more than $15 a month; they are really pennies in the bucket when you think about how valuable having reliable e-mail is to your business.

As always, I am willing to discuss ANY of these topics with you.

Technically yours,

Kevin