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floatinghermit 11 Jan 2022 03:28 PM

Why do you pay for email in 2022?
I am having a really hard time justifying paying for email in 2022. I had a discussion with my spouse who raised some great points. Hoping some of you that pay can answer with your thoughts on this. Note that this is from the perspective of a personal account. There's no doubt that a business account should be on their own domain on a paid account.

There are a few common reasons why everyone pays for email, but I don't find them justified in 2022 as much as they used to.

Your provider might go away/You might lose your address
This has indeed traditionally been a big risk. But if you are on gmail, I just cannot see this happening. 99% of people seem to be on gmail as their primary. Even if gmail does go away, pretty much everyone in the world just lost their primary email address and the world will figure out how to go from there. There have also been cases of people losing their email accounts, but again this is so rare that it almost seems like planning for an apocalypse.

You lose privacy with free email
This is certainly true, but even if we pay for email, do we _really_ have privacy? Facebook, Google, and Amazon still have all of our life info. Our friends are on these platforms even if we are not, and having our data in them irrespective of where we are. What are we _really_ gaining? It seems like a drop in the ocean with no meaningful result.

You get to use your own domain
I definitely like to use my own domain name, but this has definitely caused me to lose emails by the other party not understanding my email address, and assuming something that ends in It has also caused some raised eyebrows (and maybe eye rolls). Overall, I'm going to call this one a wash.

Overall, I feel like there's no tangible reason to pay in 2022 unless that $5 a month or whatever is completely insignificant to you. What are your thoughts? What am I missing?

FredOnline 11 Jan 2022 04:16 PM

All the reasons quoted are perfectly valid.

You could also ask:

Why spend hundreds on an iPhone 13 instead of a cheap Android 'phone?

Why spend thousands on a BMW M760i instead of a Kia Rio?

It's all personal circumstances and choice.

TenFour 11 Jan 2022 07:34 PM

I'm a big Gmail user, and I do basically agree with you that for most people it is the best option. But, I disagree with this statement:

There have also been cases of people losing their email accounts, but again this is so rare that it almost seems like planning for an apocalypse.
I don't know of any statistics on this, but you can find plenty of people who have been locked out of their accounts on the official Gmail community forums, on Reddit, and wherever people discuss email. I once was locked out when Google's mysterious algorithms decided that something was suspicious about me logging into my account from my living room using the same laptop I always use. Then when I tried to get in they would only send codes to an old phone number that had been removed from my account. I eventually recovered the account, but it made me realize how you are completely at the mercy of Google's automated systems with no human being to appeal to when things go wrong. So, if you use Gmail be extremely careful to have a current recovery address, phone number, and alternate methods setup like one-time codes, etc. Though, be aware that Google doesn't always offer you the option to use those other methods--they frequently seem to default to sending a code to whatever phone number you have registered.

Also, these days it is extremely hard to get a short, memorable Gmail address that can be typed in easily. If you happen to have a good Gmail address you created a long time ago you are good to go, but anyone signing up today will end up with a long one.

ioneja 11 Jan 2022 08:50 PM

Welcome to the forum! Great question. The primary reason to pay for email in 2022 is indeed privacy, but there are other reasons too.

Here are various reasons... I might have missed a few:

1) No tracking, no ads, no aggregate personal profile connected to or generated from your email. The counter argument always seems to be that if you are emailing people at google/gmail anyway, then google still knows what's in those emails obviously. So it's true that you're still generating a profile to some degree with google by emailing other people who have gmail addresses, BUT not everyone uses gmail, not everyone you receive email from uses gmail, *especially* services that you use such as financial institutions, online stores, service providers, etc. (which is a huge aspect of the profile being generated). And so you're therefore taking more control of what they are collecting and how it's aggregated. i.e.: Google won't have access to your Amazon receipts, your bank alerts, your social media alerts, your service provider info, etc... In any case, using a paid provider keeps a *lot* of personal information out of the hands of the profiling big tech algorithms.... and so the saying that "if you are not paying for the product, you ARE the product" is still largely true in this case, even if you still email a lot of your friends who use gmail.

2) When you do exchange emails with friends/family/colleagues outside of gmail, google in this case won't see any of that exchange, and for those of your friends/family/colleagues on the *same* paid email service, those emails won't even go outside the servers of that email provider (depending on the provider, but that's usually the case).

3) Many paid email providers give you dozens or hundreds or even unlimited aliases. This is hugely useful for managing different accounts and controlling who sees what email address. This increases your potential for privacy, security at other services you use, anonymity to some degree, and separating other profile aggregators, and increases your control of spam by allowing you to see who is selling your address and easily blocking them.

4) Some paid email providers have varying levels of additional encryption features that add an extra layer of protection to your email... this is a big topic on its own with many nuances of what/how/when the encryption takes place, and how useful that is for your use case scenarios and threat levels, but it's a major reason why some people use paid service providers. See other threads for encryption info.

5) Some email providers have vastly superior jurisdictions where their email servers are located. This may not be important to most people in 99% of situations, but it matters to some people and is worth paying for those services in better jurisdictions. Once you understand what your government (and by comparison various governments around the world) can and can't do with your email even just on principle alone, this might also become a point of consideration for you.

6) Email is only one aspect of the services you're using that are being tracked by providers like Google built into their email service... for example, your calendars, contacts, files, documents, notes, etc.! So all the above can apply to those other services that you use connected to your gmail account too! Coupled with location info in your smartphone, IP address tracking, etc., google (or fill-in-the-blank big tech provider you use the most) knows far more about you than you may realize. So you can further reduce your footprint since many paid email providers also have calendars, contacts, notes, files, etc... so again, taking those services outside of google further reduces your profile in google, in this example.

7) Some paid email providers have all sorts of great additional features that are worth the price of subscription by themselves -- some allow super easy management of domains, DNS, simple website hosting, WebDAV features, aliases (already mentioned), advanced filtering, screening, productivity, other collaboration tools, various cool privacy tools, etc., etc...

8) Customer service... some paid providers are good at customer service... you'll actually get a response back by a real human in a reasonable period of time. Imagine that. I know of several people who have lost control of their gmail accounts or have been hacked. It's a myth that google is great at handling those situations. The effort and time to get control back if they've been hacked is significant. Having a paid account with superior, responsive customer service can be a life saver.

9) All the above, coupled with using other good privacy/security practices, using a good password manager with good passwords, using two-factor authentication, limiting your social media exposure, using other services such as VPNs, etc., can significantly improve your safety profile on the Internet, and reduce your risk to other security concerns such as being the victim of targeted phishing, account hacking, identity theft, etc...

10) By paying for email services, you're also supporting a different business model instead of the profile-aggregating ad-based big tech companies... and you get what you pay for... you pay for the product instead of being the product.

11) Email is still very important in our daily lives. Your digital life is connected to it, but your real life too -- your financial accounts, your personal services, your shopping receipts, your job applications, your personal/family info that you don't choose to share in social media... why trust all that to a free service? All companies have to make money somehow, and it makes sense to pay for an email service that is in the business of email alone, not an email service that is actually an ad-revenue profiling company, right?

12) Yes, while it's true the "gmail" email address will likely be around for a long time, just buy a domain name and then you can have service portability and move away from a paid email service provider if you're not happy with them or they go out of business in the future.

Anyway, best of luck, and again, welcome to the forum. This is a great place to get questions answered, there are lots of experienced folks here.

TenFour 11 Jan 2022 09:28 PM

There is no getting away from ad targeting, whether or not you use Gmail. You are still tracked by Google, Facebook, and many others as long as you interact with the Internet. For example, every store you purchase something from online gathers information and uses it and sells it, along with your bank, your credit card companies, every forum you sign up for, your car loan company, insurance, newsletters, social media, etc. etc. The main way to avoid seeing ads is to use ad blockers, but if you don't you will see ads targeted towards your profile that may or may not include information from Gmail's services. I have experimented blocking as much as I could and I just see crappier ads--really scammy stuff. If I just use Gmail normally I don't see any ads within Gmail but I do have slightly better targeted advertising. As to security, Gmail is really good at it, and I think many people are fooling themselves that their small email provider has anywhere near the same level of security. That is more important to me--I don't want a hacker to be able to break into my email account, or steal all the passwords from some unsecured database. Billions of users are testing this security at Gmail every day, but with a small email provider you have no way of knowing if someone isn't sitting in their basement reading your emails for kicks.

ioneja 11 Jan 2022 09:52 PM

There's that argument again that since you can't get away from it 100%, you might as well just cave in and let it happen. I do understand that argument and why most people are fine with it. And while it's true that you can't escape *some* profile being generated by the big tech companies, you can absolutely reduce your footprint and change the kind and depth of profile they generate about you. You can take more ownership of it instead of surrender, and more and more jurisdictions are making laws that improve your control to some degree. In fact you were already doing it to some degree by using ad blockers and thus getting crappy ads. But like others have said, it's a personal choice how far you want to go. Obviously, to get rid of all tracking, you need to get off the grid, which is not what we're talking about, and very difficult to do.

As for the "security" issue, that's a different discussion than privacy of course.

And whatever email service you use, you have to trust them that someone is "not sitting in their basement reading your emails for kicks." It's very true, that just because you pay for email, that doesn't necessarily make them more trustworthy or secure, but likewise just because they have a billion users, doesn't necessarily make them more trustworthy or secure either. Google has been the subject of plenty of security breaches, as have other free services like Yahoo, Microsoft, etc.. And if years of experience and security experience counts (which it does) frankly some of these small paid third party email services have been around for longer than GMail, and some have contributed extensively to the open source code that powers most email providers.... or in some cases they release most or all of their codebase as open source, which is then open to all to scrutinize. Gmail, MS, etc., certainly don't do that.

But with everything, YMMV and everyone has different needs and preferences.

emoore 11 Jan 2022 10:33 PM

1) Support. Not just a support ticket system but an attitude that its worth investing serious amounts of money/effort to prevent customers from ever losing a message.

2) More functionality. My Fastmail account supports Sieve (mail filtering language, much more powerful than normal rules), CalDAV, and CardDAV. I use Thunderbird (a email client) and am looking forward to replacing my Fastmail IMAP account with a JMAP account when they add support for it (its on their current roadmap).

3) Gmail appears to be the gold standard for spam detection. But most free email accounts seem to do a poor job.

Its hard to envision Google killing or crippling the free version of Gmail but look at the list of the 245 products they've killed off so far in . Some were very popular/successful. Long term you just can't rely upon Google.

4) I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket. Lots of services now rely upon you logging in via either Facebook (I refuse to have an account with them) or Gmail.

5) The possibility of getting your email provided by a company whose only business is email. That avoids many potential conflicts of interest, and focuses their efforts on providing good email service. You can get free email from your ISP but they view it as just a cost center. With Gmail you're not the customer, you're the product.

Bamb0 12 Jan 2022 01:35 AM

Alot of email providers are worried of thier server being used for spam now,I think thats why they dont want FREE accounts mostly.....

Welcome to EMD floatinghermit,I hope you like it here :)

hadaso 12 Jan 2022 04:56 AM

Why do I pay for email when I can get it quite reasonable service gratis from Gmail?

Well, why do I buy coffee and tea when my employer supplies unlimited tea and coffee and I spend most of my day there? Well, I like the tea that I bring from home better than what I am supplied there.

The real reason that I pay for email is just that I like the service that I get from Fastmail better than what I can see at Gmail. There's really no other reason. If I had no choice I could certainly manage with just a Gmail account or just a Hotmail account. My wife uses her Hotmail account that she has for almost 25 years despite me paying for her Fastmail account (that she uses for some rare circumstances that don't work well with Hotmail).

truemagic 12 Jan 2022 10:53 AM

I hated Gmail as they can't recover my deleted account on their policy, but I'm still using Gmail as my primary email with a not-so-preferred username, also it goes without saying is so easy to say your email addy to the bank staff and what not...without the need to repeat.

Recently I'm also back to ZOHO mail, seems pretty neat, could well be my secondary/backup email for now ;)

EricG 12 Jan 2022 12:28 PM


Originally Posted by ioneja (Post 624311)
And if years of experience and security experience counts (which it does) frankly some of these small paid third party email services have been around for longer than GMail, and some have contributed extensively to the open source code that powers most email providers.... or in some cases they release most or all of their codebase as open source, which is then open to all to scrutinize. Gmail, MS, etc., certainly don't do that.

First, Gmail is NOT a company. Microsoft and Google have made huge contributions to Linux because they use it internally or in products they sell. They also participate in open standards along with Intel. Microsoft has released some open source software. It doesn't benefit anyone to make the rest of their software open source.

chrisretusn 12 Jan 2022 03:27 PM

I don't pay for email. I have considered paying for it. BUT, I have no come up with a rational reason for ponying up for an email account.

I am currently using 14 accounts, using Claws Mail, all free. I rarely use Firefox for email.

*Gmail 1 POP3, 1 IMAP (company account)
* 1 POP3
*Outlook 4 POP3
*Yahoo 2 POP3 2 IMAP (company accounts)
* Check accounts with Andriod App.

One Yahoo and one Gmail are primary accounts.

Switching to another account paid or otherwise would be painful. A lot of folks would have to be notified of the change. While I am a bit concerned with security or privacy, it is not a huge thing for me. I do not send stuff via email I do not want the world to know. Even if I had a paid account, that would me I must trust them to a degree. Most of the the folks I correspond with are to Yahoo or Gmail accounts. So secure messaging is not going to happen. Will I have the ability to use gpg, no one I correspond with has a clue. I do add a signature to all email I sent using my two primary accounts in the hope that someone will know what that is.

Like I said at the beginning I have thought about getting a paid account, also probably my own domain. Yet every year I decide not to do so. I cannot see paying for an account that I would not use as a primary account. Making that account a primary account would mean having to notify a lot of folks of this change.

ankupan 12 Jan 2022 06:26 PM

I have GSuite and Office 365 and Zoho.

But Zoho is lower cost and has more features.

Still, Zoho is underrated in email, but low cost, more feature and reliable too.

For me, the best thing about Zoho........ its admin panel has live chat with support. Anything, they are ready to support 24 x 7.


Originally Posted by truemagic (Post 624323)
I hated Gmail as they can't recover my deleted account on their policy, but I'm still using Gmail as my primary email with a not-so-preferred username, also it goes without saying is so easy to say your email addy to the bank staff and what not...without the need to repeat.

Recently I'm also back to ZOHO mail, seems pretty neat, could well be my secondary/backup email for now ;)

jeffpan 12 Jan 2022 07:34 PM

I have paid for many providers. Include:
  1. Runbox: paid for about 3 years, gave up for bad webmail experience
  2. FM: paid for about 3 years, gave up b/c I have another Pobox account
  3. Pobox: paid for many years, still in use
  4. GSuite: paid for many years, still in use
  5. Tuffmail: paid for about 2 years, they are a excellent provider, gave up for nothing
  6. paid for 1 year, their speed is slow to me
  7. paid for 1 year, a excellent provider, gave up for nothing
  8. mxroute: paid for 2 years, still in use (yes TLS-Mail)
  9. Tutanota: paid for 1 year, have no good experience with them
  10. Yandex Mail360: paid for 1 year, still in use for a domain
  11. PrivateMail by torguard: got a lifetime account from them (100+ USD)

And I have accounts on almost all these URLs:

I am tired I have so many email accounts. Even in the night dream I was thinking I should read email right now...

TenFour 12 Jan 2022 07:44 PM

By the way, even though I use Gmail as my main email management account I do use paid email because I like having my own domains and domain-based email. It is as simple as that. I do use some of the domains for various small business purposes too, but even if I didn't I like having my own personalized short and easy to spell and remember email address that stands out from the crowd. At the moment my email provider of choice is Purelymail, so I get domain email for $10 a year. That's pretty cheap for the benefits I get. The way I have it set up I also get my main emails stored in multiple locations. That means if my free Gmail account becomes unavailable for some reason (most likely if I get locked out) I can instantly move to another inbox and keep in touch via email. I don't actually use my Gmail address (even though it is a good one) for most things to help keep it protected from spam and phishing attacks, but even so it has been revealed in various database hacks since I have been using it so long. Luckily, Gmail's spam and phishing filters remain the best in the industry and I rarely see any malicious stuff in my inbox.

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