I want everything!
November 25, 2008 5:41 PM   Subscribe

Communications madness... I have an email address that it's time to dump. It's from a dialup service that I used, and had kept around for emergency purposes. But I almost never use it anymore, and it's costing me something like $7 a month just to keep that email address. So in making the switch, I'd like to switch to something more portable, not tied to whomever I'm paying for internet access at the moment.

I tried to get a gmail address, but they had nothing available that I liked. All the ones based on my name have been taken already.

I don't want to use hotmail or yahoo because those domains sound... uncool. And as much as I hate to admit it, I like to have a short, respectable email address. My current one is xxxxx@yyy.net. That's how I like it.

I do own firstnamelastname.com, but that's a lot of typing and looks unwieldy. lastname.name is not available- held by some company with my name as its acronym. And I'm just not willing to pay $1500 to get them off of it.

Question 1- Can anyone recommend a good, free email provider? All I require from them is pop3 and no ads.

Question 2- Does anyone have any experience with using NetZero (or some other free dialup) service? I would only use it maybe 4 times a year when the cable goes out.

Question 3- Any other general tips on squeezing the most out of ones communication dollar?
posted by gjc to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Google offers email for domains. Maybe you can get a first initial plus last name dot-com?
posted by zippy at 5:50 PM on November 25, 2008

Best answer: A few sort of sideways options from what you're looking at....

- If you have your own domain, you could try gmail for domains. Gmail is still free and you could get whatever address and then send/receive using gmail AND have the email be domain branded.
- yahoo has the ymail address which is a little nicer looking
- I like the fastmail option. Pay once, no ads. Then again they have very ungreat storage limits compared to the other two.
posted by jessamyn at 5:52 PM on November 25, 2008

Here is a clue to your answer:

>I tried to get a gmail address, but they had nothing available that I liked. All the ones based on my name have been taken already.

You already own firstlast.com.

You can set up a GMail address based on any variation of your name that you *don't* like, such as "me77777palooza" and then use GMail's tools to set up your incoming and outgoing. These will be more or less seamless once you set them up.

For that matter, 8673905@gmail.com is still available. Use your imagination.
posted by yclipse at 6:27 PM on November 25, 2008

Echoing the above, I would search for another domain of your own. It's inexpensive, and there are plenty of inexpensive hosting plans available from countless sources. And that can be your lifetime email. You can always bounce it to gmail or whatever is convenient, then bounce it somewhere else later if you want.

Just go to a registrar and start looking for a domain that might work. Think johnweb.com or smithmail.com or emailgeorge.com. There's got to be a simple but memorable option that will work.

It worth it to take some time to find a domain that you can use the rest of your life.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:32 PM on November 25, 2008

The only way to have something both permanent and portable is to use your own domain, then move it wherever you like for the rest of your life. Don't forget to renew the domain.

You don't like your existing name domain, so find another one. Even if it seems all the good ones are gone, there are still millions of short, easy to remember domain names out there.

Once you have that half of the problem settled, you can use the free services from Google or Yahoo or others by pointing your domain there. If Google or Yahoo or whoever shuts down or stops being free, you can move it wherever you like.

You will never get a portable/permanent address ANY other way, because nobody, not FastMail nor Yahoo nor Microsoft, is guaranteed to keep offering you an account there forever.

So settle the domain issue first. Find one you like and register it forever. Then deal with the rest.
posted by rokusan at 6:33 PM on November 25, 2008

Best answer: ...what they say...good advice.
FWIW, a lot of colleges/universities in the US offer alumni "lifetime" email forwarding. No email services other than the forwarding, which can go to GMail, your current provider, your business, etc
posted by robotico at 7:13 PM on November 25, 2008

yclipse. shouldn't that be 8675309? ooh Jenny Jenny ??
posted by Frasermoo at 7:44 PM on November 25, 2008

I've been using pobox.com for over a decade. For $20-ish per year you get a yourname@pobox.com address (other domains available) and that acts as a FORWARDER to your actual email address. Then you configure your email program so that you look like your pobox.com address. THEY DO NOT PROVIDE EMAIL STORAGE and reading services like GMail or Hotmail or your ISP; they are just a forwarder.

But using it gets you out of the business of being married to an ISP, or even GMail for that matter, and if you configure your email right nobody will know that you are actually using your ISP du jour for email. You are simply yourname@pobox.com.

FYI, pobox.com is not some little fly-by-night operation. For one, they are the ones who drove the RFC for SPF. A little bit more here.
posted by intermod at 8:02 PM on November 25, 2008

yclipse: No need for the other address -- just set up Google Apps w/domain mail, and usernames utilized will be non-goofy name variants.
posted by liquado at 8:09 PM on November 25, 2008

pobox.com + fastmail.fm . I front-end my email address with the forwarding services of pobox.com . The domain name is fairly neutral and intuitive and this level of indirection allows me to change my email provider in a heartbeat. My email provider is fastmail.fm . They have a very good webmail and can do pop and imap. I have used both of them since 2000 with no issues.
posted by pdxpatzer at 8:15 PM on November 25, 2008

@frasermoo - 8675309@gmail.com is already taken. That is why I suggested that the OP use his/her imagination.
posted by yclipse at 8:17 PM on November 25, 2008

gotcha. my imagination is fried.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:35 PM on November 25, 2008

You can set up a GMail address based on any variation of your name that you *don't* like, such as "me77777palooza" and then use GMail's tools to set up your incoming and outgoing.

Yes, this works, but be aware that Gmail does use the "sent-by" field, so users of certain email programs, most notably the Outlook family will see something like:

     From: me77777palooza@gmail.com
     On behalf of: you@yourdomain.com

If your gmail address is embarassing or private, don't use this method.
posted by chrisamiller at 9:23 PM on November 25, 2008

Best answer: You mentioned not trying Yahoo!, but in June of this year they began using @ymail.com and @rocketmail.com email addresses to work with the normal Yahoo! Mail interface.

Here's where you can register for @ymail.com.

You can buy Yahoo! Plus for $20 a year and have POP3.
posted by trotter at 10:11 PM on November 25, 2008

Best answer: Buying your own domain and then going with Gmail for domains is the way to go. Maximum flexibility as to your email address, Gmail is the best thing going for free email, and if you decide you don't like Gmail down the road, you can switch to another provider without changing your email address.

Also, Gmail provides IMAP, which is rare for a free service, and vastly superior to POP3.
posted by sinfony at 1:02 AM on November 26, 2008

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