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«Return to Blog List Why Your Primary Business Email Account Should be Gmail

The world of email has changed dramatically in the last few years. Gmail has left Earthlink-like email services so far behind that I don’t understand how or why people continue to use them, unless it’s just that they don’t understand the benefits and anticipate a painful experience in making the change. While it takes a little bit of time (10 minutes, maybe) to make the change, the benefits are huge.

I’m going to focus on brief comparisons between Earthlink email services and Gmail, because I have personal experience with both. To be fair, Yahoo has Ymail, very much a "me-too" service similar to Gmail, but I know less about that. If you have a warm spot for Yahoo, you might want to look at Ymail instead. One comparison I can’t make is in reliability; I just don’t have the information necessary to make that comparison. However, I can tell you that Google is extremely reliable, and that I can recall only one hour-long episode of slowness in more than two years. I don’t recall any serious reliability problems with Earthlink, either.

Also, let’s distinguish between Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and email providers. Earthlink (and many companies like them) provides both ISP and email services. Gmail is strictly email service. If you use Gmail, you will still need an ISP such as Earthlink, Comcast, etc., to allow you to connect to the Internet. However, having a particular ISP is no reason to use their email service.

Cost

Gmail is free. $0. No money down, no money monthly, no money, period. Earthlink’s email service is part of their ISP service, so you don’t actually save money by not using their email service, assuming you use them as your ISP. Essentially, cost is the same for email service in both cases.
Edge: It’s a draw

Storage

Gmail currently allows more than 7.3GB (that’s 7,300MB) of storage. After more than 2 years using Gmail, I’ve used less than 25% of that space. Earthlink has dramatically increased its storage since I last saw it a couple of years ago: to 100MB. For additional cost (I cannot find the amount; Earthlink’s website has a lot of asterisks and small, light-colored text), you can increase the amount to 300MB.
Edge: Gmail by more than 70x

Ease of Using Company Domain Email Addresses

The email address I give out to people is an evowebdev.com address. I simply forward that email address to my Gmail account. More importantly, Gmail allows me to respond to people using the evowebdev.com address, even though it is actually being sent from Gmail (there is a confirmation email sent when setting that up to prove you own the non-Gmail address). I have 3 active domain-based email addresses that I forward to Gmail, and I get them all in one place. You can forward your domain-based email to your Earthlink account, but good luck responding from Earthlink with anything but your earthlink.net address.
Edge: Gmail

Spam Protection

When I switched to using Gmail, part of my motivation was to curb the amount of spam I had to deal with each day. Before using Gmail, 70-100 spam emails per day was the norm. With Gmail, I might see 1-2 per day. Earthlink offers spam protection, but you have to configure it, monitor it, and check to make sure you aren’t dumping email that isn’t spam into the spam bucket. And after all that, unless you choose Earthlink’s "nuclear" option and consider everything spam until you approve it (does that sound like a royal pain, or what?) you will still get more spam than you would with Gmail.
Edge: Gmail, easily

Search Capability

Gmail, from Google. Do I really need to say more? Gmail simply has the most sophisticated email search on the planet from the people who redefined search. And, with several years worth of emails to search through, it’s a good thing. I truly don’t know what Earthlink’s current search capabilities are, but there is no way they could match Google.
Edge: Gmail, big-time

Other Stuff

The comparisons stop there. But there are other reasons to have a Gmail account, like having access to dozens of Google business applications that enhance your ability to collaborate (Google docs, Google calendar) and analyze traffic and promote your website (Google Analytics, Adsense, Adwords). Of course you can use these services without using Gmail, but that would be kind of like having a piece of pie, but refusing the ice cream that goes on top. And replacing the ice cream with tofu. Yuck.

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9 Responses to Why Your Primary Business Email Account Should be Gmail

  1. Ray Gulick says:

    Do I think Google mines the data? Of course! I’m sure they mine all the data on their servers: in aggregate. Do I think they read individual emails and compile info gleaned from that to put local businesses at a competitive disadvantage? Dave, there aren’t enough low-paid third-world workers in the entire world to put in the number of hours necessary for that effort to pay off.

  2. Dave says:

    So what if you’re in a business or operating a web site that is or may be in competition with Google? (Isn’t everything a potential competitor to Google?) Would you want your business contacts and information stored on Google’s servers? Do you really thing they don’t mine that data continuously looking for business intelligence?

  3. Ray Gulick says:

    Earthlink user – I think you’re too easily impressed and not really familiar with the alternatives. But as long as you’re happy: great!

  4. Earthlink user since 2000 says:

    I pay $21.99 for an earthlink account and here is why…
    1) I get a free website; and website builder tool !!! It is so easy to use.
    2) I can have up to 8 aliases. I can control these in My Account and change the information easily. I can also control spam on all of them separately Their spam is great.
    3) I have mail forwarding free and it works great
    4) I get 5 free anonymous accounts free
    5) I’ve had the same email addresss for years, and this helps me in job hunting; personal contacts and more. 1
    6) And I use another internet provider, so I always have email up and running when I move!

    Their customer server chat is excellent, and I have been with them for many years.
    I think they are great, and well worth the money.

    Happy Customer

  5. Ray Gulick says:

    Mary Beth – You still need an ISP; that’s your connection to the Internet. Earthlink is a well-regarded ISP, but you don’t have to use the email address that comes with the ISP service. You can use Gmail instead.

  6. Mary Beth says:

    nice article ! I have my own website and it allows me to use e-mail services. SO maybe this is the answer to my question.

    I want to eliminate monthly cost of earthlink – $10. I need a ISP and e-mail service i can use with my mac and entourgae. What are options ?

    I am using one e-mail address with my website. I am hesitant to put all there if “something happens ”

    ??

  7. Dorian C Witcher says:

    Excellent article. I am considering switching from earthlink to gmail. Can you recommend a process?

  8. cdg says:

    Germaine,

    I suggest you set up a website (you can do it free from yahoo.com, and possibly from google.com), upload your file, and let them download it from your website. If you don’t have a website, and don’t want to set one up, you could ask someone who has one to do it for you. Or set up a new gmail account for your friend, send her the file, and give her the log on instructions. If she never uses it again, that’s her affair. Or you could always burn it to a CD-rom (or print it out) and send it to her that way. Or you could find a more co-operative friend.

  9. Germaine says:

    I am trying to get a 23.5mb book doc. in WORD to an earthlink recpient. Because I kept getting failure notices, I compressed it into pdf at 11.4mb. I still got failure notices. I need to get this off to the earthlink recipient but I am at a loss of what to do, and she won’t change to gmail, even though I stressed all the positives and advantages of switching. Anyway you know of to get this document to the earthlink recipient. It is complete with text of poems, photograhy and illustrations.

    Thanks.

    Any suggestions you can give me would be much appreciated. You were right on target with your article, and I wouldn’t have anything other than gmail.

    Germaine