Guys… We need to have a talk.
This is 2014. What does that mean? We have information on demand. The Internet allows us to access whatever we want. We have 24-hour pharmacies and 24-hour fast food spots. That means it’s also incredibly convenient. And not only that, we are also blessed with the amazing convenience of it all. As if the tap of a keystroke was too difficult, we can speak to our mobile devices and it understands what you want. Everything is fast. And it’s awesome.
It’s called the ISP email. It’s a terrible plague that that complicates the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every day. Please read on.
For those of you who don’t know, ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. These are the people the take your money every month and give you stuff in return. And by stuff, I mean the good, bad and the ugly. Translation: the Internet, the phone, and the television in the respective order.
Most ISPs like Verizon, Time Warner, Comcast, Optimum and countless others offer what they call a triple package deal. This is a bundle of services if you will, but as of late the word on the grapevine is many of these services are un-bundling TV services so you can pay for the premium channels without the extra frill of channels you don’t watch. As good as this is, this doesn’t apply to what I’m about to say.
There’s a reason why I use the line from the classic movie. The internet is “good” obviously, because without it we would be in the dark ages. The phone is “bad” well, because I read the news and I know smartphones are all the rage. If I have a cell phone, do I really need a home phone? The “ugly” is television. Yes, your favorite reality TV star or drama is on your favorite channel, but the TV landscape is a bit archaic. This may be a conversation for a later date, but what I’m trying to state is that you are *paying* for three services. That’s it. As a bonus, these companies like to coax you into believing your getting this world class email so you can use. Some require that you make it so you can sign into their services.
Let me be clear. You are in NO way obligated to use your ISP email in any way.
I was thirteen years old when my mother handed me the phone to speak to a wonderful customer service rep for my local ISP imploring me how beneficial having an email from them would be. The real reason she handed me the phone was because I had been an expert on the Internet for a whole two years. I was a pro. She wanted me to smell BS. And I did. If any ISP is telling you that an included email is an added benefit, hang up the phone and walk away. The person you’re talking to is a moron.
ISP emails are the absolute worst. Let me count those ways.
1. The Interface
We’ve come a long way in the email interface. You would think that the general populace had figured out how email works. The consumer public companies have been creating user interfaces since the early 90s. Somehow, ISP email services continue to disobey the simple rules of the Internet, like how to work properly. If you send me an email, I should receive it. There’s nothing left to discuss. I’m astounded on how the US Postal Service delivers messages better than ISP emails. And what’s worse is these ISPs are getting massive. More companies are adding new user features and benefits, but the layouts for email services are complex and perplexing all at the same time.
2. Customer Service
No one has told me when to go to bed since age seven. Needless to say, I do what I want, when I want. So if my email happens to go down at 7 PM on a Friday, I want to know what’s going on. ISP emails… Good luck. You’ll have have to wait till Monday 9 AM Central Time to get a resolution (no, I don’t care what side of the country you’re living on either). And it’s not like I can just Google to see if there’s something wrong with my emails like other popular services. Again, I live in the land of the now. Not just now. Right now. The fact that I have to wait for anything over than a maximum total of fifteen minutes to speak with a customer service representative is beyond absurdity.
3. And I can’t stress this enough. Ownership.
There are many things you pay for and over time you will own it. Cars, houses, appliances, cell phones all fit the bill. If not, then you and the party that you’re paying are usually in accordance with what your paying for is yours to use for rent. If you’re leasing a car, those payments are helping get a car for the specified term. Same with apartments. An ISP is quite simple. What you pay for is Internet and two of those other things we talked briefly about. You do not and should not pay for an email address. Ever! The only exception is if you have a custom email address. Here’s the downside of paying for this atrocity. Let’s say you have Time Warner Cable Services. You’ve been happy with them for seventeen years. Things are going swimmingly. All of a sudden, you’re in a sparring match with them and you concede. You’re not going to take it anymore. You’re going to switch to another ISP. That’s great. Except you don’t own that email anymore. You paid for three services. Once you stop paying for that, you don’t get to keep the email address. That means anything that may have happened in the meantime, like any accounts you’ve created with banking or shopping and much more will be null and void once you switch. You’ve lost that email address, therefore you’ve lost your identity. If you need to verify your identity by checking your email, guess who’s at a loss?
What I find more puzzling is why ISPs wouldn’t let you keep your email. Imagine this. You’re tired of your ISP so you switch to someone that has a better deal. You chose a random username like firstname.lastname@example.org Now, who’s to say that the email address username you chose didn’t belong to someone before you? Either way it’s bad. Either the ISP allows you to keep it and you get emails from the last person who used it since forever or your ISP keeps it and does nothing with it. To that point I ask, why ISP, why? Why put yourself in that situation? Email should be free and there plenty of places that offer FREE email plus way more features than anything an ISP could ever provide.
Read the list:
Gmail: From the company Google, AKA El Goog or as I like to call them Skynet because they are pretty much building terminators now.
Yeah, they have a cool service, yeah, they read your emails so they can advertise to you, yeah, they are studying humans through you so they can understand all of your weaknesses, but that’s all irrelevant. It’s still much better than a crummy ISP email.
Yahoo/Ymail: From the search engine Yahoo! They offer functional email and other awesome things like a terabyte of free space on Flickr for photos and videos. Who doesn’t want free anything? Except free headaches. No one wants a free headache.
MSN/Live/Hotmail: Ah Microsoft. They’ve had some identity issues in the past…
‘We’re a software company. No, we’re a hardware company. No, we’re both.’ Now, we’re services and productivity software company. Like a teenager going through puberty, you go through changes. I get it. It’s evident in the many different domain names Microsoft’s had. Like I’ve stated before, for all of their changes, they’ve never, ever, charged you for email. They may have taken away storage capacity, but not charge. Why should an ISP?
AOL: America Online… my old friend. You nearly took over the world in the 90s, like dictator style. You had people connect through you, email through you, browse through you, you actually had people browse through you to browse through another Internet browser. If you’re having a problem understanding, that’s like I turn on my Sanyo tube TV to watch my current HDTV. Yes. AOL did that. And many other trivial things. But we were younger then and more naive. We didn’t know any better, so we accepted and couldn’t wait to punch in those AOL keywords that we heard all over the FM radio. You know what I’m talking about 80s babies. Moving along…
iCloud: iCloud is interesting because where it is free to get, you can only make an iCloud email address on an Apple device. But guess what, even if all of your worldly possession are taken by force or burn in a fire including your Apple devices, you still get to keep your email!
All of the listed services are sound examples where you can get the most out of your emails for free 99!!! (Disclaimer: there isn’t a cost, it’s just a thing people say from time to time.)
Ultimately, the answer to those of you who are still reading are, if you have a smart answer to talk back, carry on and may God have mercy on your soul.
If you’re an ISP and you’re reading this, please stop. Just stop. Your services suck. You can do better. Focus your time, money and energy to making the three services better or make emails free for customers after they’ve fulfilled their obligations to paying you.
I usually don’t do this, but go ahead and click or tap the share buttons to let your friends or your grandparents or just someone who just doesn’t know.