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Old 18 Jan 2017, 12:19 AM   #16
placebo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BritTim View Post
I think Fastmail could provide the above relatively easily. An interface allowing future changes, or ongoing support when forwarding issues arise would, I think, rule out Fastmail providing this option.
FastMail might be able to simply migrate those users over to its Pobox service.
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 12:23 AM   #17
Quilleron
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Originally Posted by BritTim View Post
My concern is that the people who paid $12.95 or $14.95 15 years ago, and expect never to need to pay another cent for their email service are just the kinds of people that will feel entitled to free support on complex forwarding issues whenever they should arise. My gut feel is that it would just be setting Fastmail up for future grief.
There's plenty of excellent software that I have bought that offers a lifetime licence and unlimited upgrades. I sing the praises of such software whenever I can.

The business model is one which seeks economy of scale by expanding the user-base thereby covering the cost of the onging support of existing users and generating plenty of goodwill along the way.

Unfortunately consequent to broken promises I'll never be able to recommend Fastmail to anyone ever again.

PS What sort of complex forwarding issues exist? a@fastmail.co.uk => b@goodbye.com is all that would be needed isn't it?
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 12:46 AM   #18
the bishop
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Hey BronG, I see the $15 credit (thank you, that's way more than many places do and I greatly appreciate it).

Have a question. I was one of those weirdos that paid the 5 years in advance so I have an enhanced account that doesn't expire until mid 2021. Is that plan going to still be honored or would i need to move to another one? It's not a huge jump in cost ($18 more a year so literally $1.50 more a month) just wanting to know.

FWIW I like paying into the future as much as I can at as many places as I can, but understand that you can't always be grandfathered forever (just saw AT&T up my unlimited grandfathered unlimited iPhone data plan another $5/yr for the 2nd year in a row and I can't do boo about it.
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 01:30 AM   #19
jhollington
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Originally Posted by Quilleron View Post
There's plenty of excellent software that I have bought that offers a lifetime licence and unlimited upgrades. I sing the praises of such software whenever I can.
Well, to be fair there's a difference between standalone software and an online service. Most importantly, if the company were to go out of business, or simply stop providing upgrades for whatever reason, it wouldn't necessarily break what you already had — you could keep running the software you'd paid for as long as your operating system continued to support it.

The costs of running an online service are considerably higher than the costs of providing a single software package. Companies can provide upgrades according to what their budget allows for, and if they've promised "unlimited upgrades" that's probably going to factor into how often you see new free upgrades. FastMail has to keep the servers running and provide ongoing support for a live system every single day — they don't have the flexibility of budgeting and scheduling when and how to spend their money in the same way a software developer does.

That said, just to be fair I can think of at least one other online service that I paid for a "lifetime" subscription to 10-15 years ago that I'm still grandfathered in on (dyn.com — I still have hosting for seven domains there and I haven't paid them a nickel in about 15 years), despite their switch to a regular subscription model for everybody else not long after that. So I'm not necessarily defending FastMail here – just saying that I can kind of see both sides — but at the same time I really don't feel that comparing an online service to a standalone software package is a fair comparison.

Quote:
PS What sort of complex forwarding issues exist? a@fastmail.co.uk => b@goodbye.com is all that would be needed isn't it?
The complexity comes due to the tendency of modern Internet anti-spam measures to sometimes cause forwarding to "break" depending on what provider you're forwarding to.

In a nutshell, many email domains now publicly list which servers are "allowed" to send mail on their behalf (technically, these are known as SPF records and are published in DNS). If you forward mail through FastMail, all forwarded messages received at your new mail provider will be coming from FastMail's servers, rather than the original servers "authorized" by the original sender. This will cause them to fail anti-spam checks on many services. A search through these forums will reveal many users who have had these problems in both directions — forwarding mail from FastMail to other services, and forwarding mail from other services into FastMail.

Best case scenario is that your messages forwarded from FastMail have a higher spam score and are more likely to end up in your junk mail folder. Worst case scenario is that you lose forwarded messages entirely. Which scenario you end up with will depend entirely on how you're new mail provider (e.g. "goodbye.com") chooses to handle these types of validation failures (and how much control they give you over the rules for that).

Of course, when things break, who does the end user go to, and whose responsibility is it to fix the problem, or at least explain the problem to the user? Chances are that FastMail support would still end up getting a lot of messages from folks who have no idea what's going on, merely that their FastMail address is "broken" in some way, and expecting FastMail to do something about it.

Further, this only covers the underlying mechanics of forwarding — it says nothing about issues around FastMail creating and maintaining a user interface to set things up and manage forwarding in the future. If FastMail did what BritTim suggests — offer to set up a one-time forward for legacy "Member" accounts, that still potentially opens the door to more work for them, as there are still folks who will expect that because they've basically been paying around $1/year for an email account that FastMail still owes them something, which would include not only support requests but requests in the future to change the forwarding address when things inevitably change for them down the road (e.g. they switch mail providers again for whatever reason).

Honestly, my recommendation right now to all of those folks who thought that they had a "lifetime" email address with FastMail is to go out and buy your own domain name, find somewhere to host it, and then go through the process of moving everything over to it. As much of a hassle as that may be, you'll at least know for sure it will be the last time you'll ever have to do that. This is the only way you can guarantee that your address will never change. Even major providers like Gmail and Hotmail/Outlook reserve the right to pull the rug out from under you. Granted, you'll pay more for having your own domain name — not to mention a provider who will host it for you — but you get what you pay for and this is honestly the only way to guarantee an email address for life.
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 03:57 AM   #20
BritTim
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Originally Posted by jhollington View Post
Honestly, my recommendation right now to all of those folks who thought that they had a "lifetime" email address with FastMail is to go out and buy your own domain name, find somewhere to host it, and then go through the process of moving everything over to it. As much of a hassle as that may be, you'll at least know for sure it will be the last time you'll ever have to do that. This is the only way you can guarantee that your address will never change. Even major providers like Gmail and Hotmail/Outlook reserve the right to pull the rug out from under you. Granted, you'll pay more for having your own domain name not to mention a provider who will host it for you but you get what you pay for and this is honestly the only way to guarantee an email address for life.
My recommendation is the same, with a slight adjustment.

Since they are getting both a refund and 50% reduction on their Fastmail upgrade, why not plan to host your domain at Fastmail in the short term. The incremental cost is pretty little for a 6-month or 12-month subscription. This ensures a longer period to ensure your correspondents are using your new email address before pulling the plug on the Fastmail address(es).
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 04:50 AM   #21
n5bb
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Am I the only person who reads the Terms Of Service? All TOS documents state that the current TOS always supersedes any previous terms, and that the service provider can terminate or modify accounts at any time for any reason. There were never any lifetime guarantee in the TOS or any other written communication from FastMail. Please read the TOS for FastMail or any other service and you will discover that services are provided at the discretion of the provider.

As you can see in the old EMD threads (such as the one posted by BritTim), FastMail considered lifetime features for Full and Enhanced accounts, but you won't find any mention of lifetime Member features. I have my original Welcome To FastMail email for my member account (sent 10 years ago), and there is no mention of any guaranteed period of service. The Member account was just a way for potential customers to try out the service before purchasing a much more expensive yearly Full or Enhanced account.

I think the key point is that all Member accounts received far more value than anyone anticipated 10-15 years ago when they made the purchase. You have been able to use many enhancements to a Member account (such as two factor authentication and many other features) which were not available originally. FastMail has been encouraging you to upgrade your account for years, and they are even refunding the money you paid in years ago to assist you in the upgrade. I can't understand why anyone thinks they are getting a raw deal here, when many of them received email service for less than US $1.50 per year.

Bill
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 05:30 AM   #22
jhollington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BritTim View Post
Since they are getting both a refund and 50% reduction on their Fastmail upgrade, why not plan to host your domain at Fastmail in the short term. The incremental cost is pretty little for a 6-month or 12-month subscription. This ensures a longer period to ensure your correspondents are using your new email address before pulling the plug on the Fastmail address(es).
Yeah, that's a very good point.... I mean, I'd already sort of figured the idea of hosting your domain at FastMail would almost be a given (except for those who are so disgusted by the elimination of Member accounts that they just want to go away angry )... but it hadn't even clicked that of course you can move your actual FastMail address over to your new "paid" account for a longer transition period while you continue handing out your new domain address. Good thinking
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 05:40 AM   #23
jhollington
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Originally Posted by n5bb View Post
Am I the only person who reads the Terms Of Service? All TOS documents state that the current TOS always supersedes any previous terms, and that the service provider can terminate or modify accounts at any time for any reason. There were never any lifetime guarantee in the TOS or any other written communication from FastMail. Please read the TOS for FastMail or any other service and you will discover that services are provided at the discretion of the provider.
Yup, pretty much the way I've always assumed that any TOS reads anyway. I honestly think that people are being deliberately naive if they truly expected that a one-time payment of $15 would guarantee them an email account for life. Sure, it would have been nice, but as the old saying goes, "you pays yer money...."

Honestly, I've always felt more fortunate that some companies are good enough to do things like this. As I mentioned earlier, I signed up for DynDNS back around 2000 when they actually were promising one-time payments for lifetime DNS hosting. I personally consider the fact that I still have seven domains with them and haven't given them a cent in over 15 years to be a privilege, not a right.

Quote:
I think the key point is that all Member accounts received far more value than anyone anticipated 10-15 years ago when they made the purchase. You have been able to use many enhancements to a Member account (such as two factor authentication and many other features) which were not available originally
That's also a really good point.... Even IF FastMail had promised an account for life, they never made any promises about delivering new functionality to those accounts. Maybe FastMail should have left all of the "Member" accounts back in the relative bronze age of e-mail technology

Quote:
I can't understand why anyone thinks they are getting a raw deal here, when many of them received email service for less than US $1.50 per year.
Sadly, in a world of Gmail and Hotmail et al, too many people think anything more than free is too much to pay, but I've always felt that to be ridiculous. Even in today's world where there's an article out every other week about the demise of e-mail, for most people e-mail is still a critically important tool for communications. I don't think most people would honestly expect to have telephone service or postal mail for free, yet they're not willing to shell out even a few bucks a month for e-mail (let's face it, even FastMail's new paid accounts start at $2.50/month).
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 06:00 AM   #24
BritTim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n5bb View Post
Am I the only person who reads the Terms Of Service? All TOS documents state that the current TOS always supersedes any previous terms, and that the service provider can terminate or modify accounts at any time for any reason. There were never any lifetime guarantee in the TOS or any other written communication from FastMail. Please read the TOS for FastMail or any other service and you will discover that services are provided at the discretion of the provider.

As you can see in the old EMD threads (such as the one posted by BritTim), FastMail considered lifetime features for Full and Enhanced accounts, but you won't find any mention of lifetime Member features. I have my original Welcome To FastMail email for my member account (sent 10 years ago), and there is no mention of any guaranteed period of service. The Member account was just a way for potential customers to try out the service before purchasing a much more expensive yearly Full or Enhanced account.

I think the key point is that all Member accounts received far more value than anyone anticipated 10-15 years ago when they made the purchase. You have been able to use many enhancements to a Member account (such as two factor authentication and many other features) which were not available originally. FastMail has been encouraging you to upgrade your account for years, and they are even refunding the money you paid in years ago to assist you in the upgrade. I can't understand why anyone thinks they are getting a raw deal here, when many of them received email service for less than US $1.50 per year.

Bill
Bill, as I mentioned before, what is most important legally is the terms and conditions at the time the Member accounts were purchased. You cannot unilaterally change the agreement by subsequently putting up a webpage. Check back through archive.org and show me where anything prior to about 2007 implied Member accounts were trial accounts, and claimed the right to unilaterally withdraw Member account service. Look at the FAQ of that time where the Member account was promoted as a lower cost alternative for those needing features not available in free accounts, but unable to afford Full or Enhanced accounts.

I entirely agree that those who have Member accounts have received a good deal. I further agree that Fastmail was largely motivated to offer unlimited term Member accounts in the hope that many would convert later to higher level accounts. Pricing was calculated based on projections of the percentage of Member accounts that would do just that. None of this changes the fact that people were purchasing accounts they expected, and were led to believe, they could use as long as Fastmail remained in business under the same, or better, conditions.

If you believe this to be untrue, find a single post on the forums from 2002-2006 where Jeremy or Rob M contradicted people who spoke of their lifetime subscription. There are none because, while Fastmail regretted it later, early Member accounts were purchased with that as the main selling point.

Saying the Member account was some kind of trial subscription is post facto rationalization, not supported by the facts.
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 06:42 AM   #25
brong
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhollington View Post
Honestly, my recommendation right now to all of those folks who thought that they had a "lifetime" email address with FastMail is to go out and buy your own domain name, find somewhere to host it, and then go through the process of moving everything over to it. As much of a hassle as that may be, you'll at least know for sure it will be the last time you'll ever have to do that. This is the only way you can guarantee that your address will never change.
Assuming that the DNS system still keeps working the same way forever, and nothing comes out to replace it that's not compatible.

I do this, I have my own domain (a couple of them actually), but I'm not sure that in 50 years they will still work the same way that they do now. Nothing is forever, particularly in something as new as the internet with so much churn.

I can't even buy spare parts for the Ikea shelves I bought 4 years ago. There's a new model out, and they have different connectors.
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 07:44 AM   #26
Terry
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People cant expect to pay $15 and think it's going to last 20 years, it was a good deal at the time.
But Fastmail changed so many things in the member accounts and made them almost unusable, it had minimal storage and you were only allowed one alias, plus a lot of other features did not work and when you tried to use them you were asked to upgrade. I deleted my account a few months ago. I just use my local ISP for my back up mailbox.

Personally we have got fed up with all the Fastmail changes and the bits that are now missing in the current UI.
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 08:13 AM   #27
jhollington
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Assuming that the DNS system still keeps working the same way forever, and nothing comes out to replace it that's not compatible.
Heh, that's a valid point, I suppose, but honestly I feel that if we get to that point, the very nature of e-mail as we understand it today will have fundamentally changed such that it won't really even matter anymore .... we'll probably be onto neural networks by then

That said, I'm fairly confident that if anything is going to last on the Internet, it's those things that have already stood the test of time and become standards because of their venerable age. I figure any RFC with a number that originated below, say, 2000 that's still in widespread use today is probably going to be around for a while

Let's face it, few of the major Internet players are otherwise interested in actual "standards" anymore, and with so many fiefdoms pushing for their own proprietary implementations, it's the open protocols and standards of yesteryear that survive as the single common denominators across the entire Internet. That's why I laugh at all of these "death of email" articles that pop up every so often.
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 09:29 AM   #28
BritTim
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Originally Posted by jhollington View Post
That's why I laugh at all of these "death of email" articles that pop up every so often.
We are getting off topic, but I cannot resist a short response to this point.

I believe email for personal communications is slowly dying. For the most part, the younger generation do not use it, and are dragging their parents into social media applications as the way of keeping in touch.

In business, there is no imminent prospect of email dying out, but I am not sure about the longer term even there. The increasing use of collaboration software, supporting teams including both internal and external participants, is supplanting email markedly in some organizations. We shall see.
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 09:55 AM   #29
horatio8
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There are people in this thread threatening a class action lawsuit because they $15 spent 15 years ago and want lifetime email? 15 years in internet time is a lifetime. You got lucky paying only a $1 a year for a great service. Now let's move on and stop being ridiculous.

Please appreciate that Fastmail has found a sustainable business model and is still around unlike many other things purchased that long ago.
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 01:08 PM   #30
brownb2
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As a member user I have a few questions about the upgrade offer:
  1. Is the 50% off a lifetime promise or just for this year?
  2. On the basic account does 50% off + 14.95 credit I originally paid mean I get the first year ($30) nearly free?
  3. Are FMs funds so bad they're charging for 16MB accounts they could probably hold on a USB stick?
  4. What guarantees are there about pulling the plug if I stop paying again in future (due to lack of funds etc)? I am currently guaranteed FM won't delete my data I would like this to continue (but expect no email sending/receiving)
  5. I don't need any new features/account upgrades - can't FM just charge for the account features I have at say $5 pa (call it a new account type if that gets you off the hook legally)?
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