My Gmail address is more or less public and pretty much all the spam is filtered correctly. I’ve had a couple of Yahoo! id’s but they did a smart thing by opening up the namespace with Ymail and Rocketmail. So I have firstname.lastname@example.org now, come spam me! Email = identity, it’s the user’s GUID for their set of services. Email is as important as search if not more.
I still also have my Hotmail account email@example.com which is just littered with spam. This was my first webmail account back in ’96 or ’97? It’s my primary spam account, but I also do use firstname.lastname@example.org for my Xbox Live account ID.
I had email@example.com as a spam account too. I had/have firstname.lastname@example.org which got converted to something else, email@example.com. I think I did have an AOL email account before I joined NSCP/AOL but didn’t have an AOL account when I actually was employed by AOL. rebron2000 is still my AIM user ID.
My primary email account is firstname.lastname@example.org. I access Gmail through Thunderbird via POP. I like how Gmail archives all of my emails so I don’t have to worry about saving them locally via Thunderbird. I don’t use IMAP with Gmail, I did when it came out but it was too slow. That might have changed. What’s cool about accessing Gmail through Thunderbird is that any spam that doesn’t get caught via Gmail’s filters, you can train Thunderbird to catch them. Plus it’s faster.
Here’s my quick rundown:
Email is about identity as well as features with the webmail application. In other words, if a user doesn’t like or can’t get their preferred username doesn’t matter how good the webmail application is.
Gmail – best webmail app right now. Fast, simple, integration with chat, allows access with other applications. Threads messages into conversations which takes a bit to learn.
Yahoo!Mail – Acts like a fat client (due to Oddpost). Integrates with Yahoo!Messenger. Very busy user interface though. Have to pay for other features that probably should be free, e.g. POP access. No IMAP access still? Calendar is still old school.
AOLMail – Like Yahoo!Mail. Simpler, integrates with AIM. Integrates with a better calendar. The old AOL way of doing mail is long gone, the whacky modified IMAP. Better than Yahoo!Mail given that mail access is open so can access email via POP or IMAP fat client of your choice. Deletes your mailbox if you don’t sign-in every six months (others might do the same thing). They’re on the right track.
Hotmail – I don’t have anything nice to say. They don’t program correctly for Firefox. They just need to do a better job all around.
Yahoo!Mail, AOLMail, Hotmail are all moving towards a Zimbra like experience so will be interesting to see what happens in this space in the next few years.