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Old 17 Jan 2017, 02:00 PM   #1
brong
The "e" in e-mail
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 2,667

Representative of:
Fastmail.fm
Guest and Member subscriptions being discontinued

FYI, we're finally closing off guest and member accounts entirely. Emails are going to users in batches, so not everybody has received a notification email yet. Everybody will get them, and later we will start adding more obvious warnings on login page and webmail screens.

https://www.fastmail.com/help/account/guest.html

https://www.fastmail.com/help/account/member.html

We have already not allowed new signups at those service levels for quite some time. We are offering very generous discounts for upgrades.

Regards,

Bron.
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Old 17 Jan 2017, 02:22 PM   #2
BritTim
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Location: mostly in Thailand
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I do sympathize for this move, but expect some flack for it, especially from the few remaining legacy member account owners. I have a suggestion, that will cost Fastmail little except some administrative costs. As an additional option to the US$15 credit and 50% discount, offer to actually refund the US$15 to those who insist they bought a lifetime subscription and object to paying more. In practice, I think only a minuscule number would take this option.
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Old 17 Jan 2017, 02:32 PM   #3
brong
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BritTim View Post
I do sympathize for this move, but expect some flack for it, especially from the few remaining legacy member account owners. I have a suggestion, that will cost Fastmail little except some administrative costs. As an additional option to the US$15 credit and 50% discount, offer to actually refund the US$15 to those who insist they bought a lifetime subscription and object to paying more. In practice, I think only a minuscule number would take this option.
I'm sure we're happy to refund a few accounts as a one-off.
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Old 17 Jan 2017, 02:42 PM   #4
beeboy
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Sure glad I never bought a "lifetime" account. Would I ever be miffed.

I don't think it's good business but whatdoIknow.
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Old 17 Jan 2017, 03:30 PM   #5
David
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Canada.
Posts: 10,355
The member accounts were introduced at a critical time in Fastmail's development, when they needed serious funding (when they first went paid) I purchased a member account myself but cancelled it shortly afterward, when I received an email (with a huge attachment) that locked my account up. I remember being seriously annoyed at the time but I should not have been, as I could have set up a rule to refuse these.

That Fastmail have honored their commitment (to keep these accounts valid, over all these years) I consider impeccable. Good on you Fastmail for keeping these accounts open; I thought they would have been shut down a long long time ago.
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Old 17 Jan 2017, 04:42 PM   #6
Quilleron
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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How about a class action for breach of contract

Anyone interested in bringing a class action against Fastmail for breach of contract.

A lifetime subscription is exactly what it says (a subscription for the duration of the life of an individual) and for Fastmail to unilaterally withdraw that service is a breach of contract.

The fact that they have not been available for some time and that they were introduced "at a critical time in Fastmail's development, when they needed serious funding" is completely irrelevant.

Fastmail needed the money and should honour those who stepped in to help them out at that time by buying those lifetime subscriptons.

I thought I'd spotted a bargain and was prepared to take the risk that the company would not disappear completely (the only circumstances in which ending these subscriptions would be inevitable) and bought accounts for my children fully expecting them to last a lifetime.

Each got a neat e-mail address which is in use and will be lost if they fail to pay for a new service.

Perhaps the least Fastmail could do is to offer a free and user-configurable forwarding service for those who don't want to pay to stay.
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Old 17 Jan 2017, 06:01 PM   #7
Bamb0
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Thumbs down

Ya really .. who would want to be forced to pay WHEN ITS GOING TO GET MUCH WORSE AFTER 30 JUNE!! (When they force everyone to the new interface)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quilleron
Anyone interested in bringing a class action against Fastmail for breach of contract.
Fastmail has really become a disgusting disgrace..

THEY USED TO BE THE BEST EMAIL SERVICE OUT THERE and now they are becoming just like Yahoo and Google..... Its very sad
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Old 17 Jan 2017, 06:07 PM   #8
n5bb
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Location: Irving, Texas
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I suggest you read the Fastmail Terms of Service (in Help) before getting too excited. Be sure to read sections 6, 7, 8, and 11.

Some people have gotten into the habit of inventing a "lifetime" subscription account. There never was such an account. There was no Guest (free of charge) account at the time when Member accounts started about 15 years ago. Fastmail created a "Member" account with a one-time fee so new users could try out an account before getting a Full or Enhanced account. These accounts didn't expire at the end of a year, so there was plenty of time for Member accounts to consider an upgrade to a yearly subscription account. There was no specific expiration date, but no guarantee of the account lasting for a lifetime. See my post about this (nearly four years ago):
http://www.emaildiscussions.com/show...51&postcount=9

Bill
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Old 17 Jan 2017, 06:47 PM   #9
misc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamb0 View Post
… and now they are becoming just like Yahoo and Google …
I totally disagree on this. I can't see any signs of FastMail collecting user data and sellig it to whoever, what – for me – is the main difference to those you named. And the reason why it's totally okay for me to pay for my account.

Okay, you don't like the new/recent/default interface. For me, it was one of the main reasons why I signed up for FastMail some years ago. I wouldn't mind if they'd maintain the classic interface until kingdom come as long as this doesn't affect the running and development of the service. Obliously, they can't afford this, so I can understand their decision.

Just my two cents…
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Old 17 Jan 2017, 07:02 PM   #10
Terry
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Bill Try this http://www.emaildiscussions.com/show...member+account
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Old 17 Jan 2017, 08:04 PM   #11
BritTim
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Location: mostly in Thailand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n5bb View Post
I suggest you read the Fastmail Terms of Service (in Help) before getting too excited. Be sure to read sections 6, 7, 8, and 11.

Some people have gotten into the habit of inventing a "lifetime" subscription account. There never was such an account. There was no Guest (free of charge) account at the time when Member accounts started about 15 years ago. Fastmail created a "Member" account with a one-time fee so new users could try out an account before getting a Full or Enhanced account. These accounts didn't expire at the end of a year, so there was plenty of time for Member accounts to consider an upgrade to a yearly subscription account. There was no specific expiration date, but no guarantee of the account lasting for a lifetime. See my post about this (nearly four years ago):
http://www.emaildiscussions.com/show...51&postcount=9

Bill
Bill, I think much of the motivation for the Member account was to encourage sign-ups by those who might upgrade later. However, it was clearly understood at the time the Member accounts were introduced that "one-time payment" meant "lifetime" Fastmail subsequently regretted providing Member accounts, but they did offer them. Whatever the terms and conditions say today does not change the implied terms under which the accounts were offered at the time.

As you say, Fastmail considered and rejected extending one-time payment to Full and Enhanced accounts. The main thread discussing this is instructive:
Quote:
Originally Posted by msulloway View Post
Yet you do with the member account - which I have purchased for myself & other family members. There is as much risk on the user side as the provider with any lifetime account. I am also pleased you allow one-time purchases of additional email space which allows the account to grow & does provide additional income to your firm.

Lifetime plans appeal to people like myself - which is why I purchased an ASO lifetime hosting acount.
Quote:
Originally Posted by robmueller View Post
True, we have done that with the member account, and not made any changes to it over it's life.

The actual original motivation for the Member account was as a stepping stone way to get people to pay for an email service. Yep, when we started the concept of paying for something on the Internet was still a bit radical I'd say
...
Rob
Source: http://www.emaildiscussions.com/showthread.php?t=42971

I sympathize with Fastmail on this, and think the old Member accounts are quite impractical for any current real email use. I cannot really imagine why anyone feels strongly about keeping such an account. However, Fastmail may be on shaky legal grounds here if a few people want to be bloody-minded.
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Old 17 Jan 2017, 10:40 PM   #12
jhollington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BritTim View Post
I sympathize with Fastmail on this, and think the old Member accounts are quite impractical for any current real email use. I cannot really imagine why anyone feels strongly about keeping such an account. However, Fastmail may be on shaky legal grounds here if a few people want to be bloody-minded.
Well, just to play devil's advocate for a moment, I think the issue for some is more the email address associated with the account than the account itself — I believe that's what Quilleron is suggesting above near the end of their post.

From that point of view, I can understand it, and perhaps the suggestion of a forwarding service isn't all that far off, although I can understand how that might be a pain for FastMail to maintain, I definitely think it's something they should at least consider, as this is also going to be a nuisance for anybody who expected to sign up and get an email address that would never change.

Now, that said, while I can understand that point of view, I've always been a firm believer in getting what you pay for. Personally, the only way I can guarantee an email address that will never change is to register and pay for my own domain name — then I can host it at any service that I like (and have done so, over the years).

Again, though, I do feel their pain when it comes to the email address issue — anybody who expected that their FastMail address would exist in perpetuity is going to be forced to either start paying a regular fee or go through the headache of changing away from an email address that they've had for possibly a decade or more. It looks like there's a six-month transition for people to sort this out before the Guest/Member accounts go away, but it's clearly going to be a headache — I know it's something I wouldn't want to have to deal with, considering the vast number of places that have my email address — I still occasionally get relevant emails to a domain name that I haven't used in almost a decade (I still own the other domain as I have some friends and family using it, but I switched away from it for my personal email about a decade ago).
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Old 17 Jan 2017, 11:20 PM   #13
BritTim
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Join Date: May 2003
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@jhollington I agree with the points you make.
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Old 17 Jan 2017, 11:37 PM   #14
BritTim
The "e" in e-mail
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: mostly in Thailand
Posts: 2,552
What about the forwarding idea, with the following provisos:
  1. you set tthe forwarding address for your account name and aliases when closing the account, but cannot change it again thereafter; and
  2. the forwarding is at your risk. It is assumed you test it before closing the account, but no support will be provided if, and this is not unlikely, things like DMARC cause it to start failing in the future.
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.

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.
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Old 18 Jan 2017, 01:07 AM   #15
jhollington
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Quote:
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.
Yup, I agree with you there. The very fact that we're hearing people use phrases like "class action" suggests that there's an unfortunately aggressive sense of entitlement here, so I can totally understand if Fastmail just wants to "cut bait" to avoid future problems in this area, but it would be nice to see a middle ground that would be reasonable for both sides, as I can totally understand the point of view of folks who felt that they were paying for an unchanging email address that would exist at least for the life of Fastmail —*to again play devil's advocate, there's a valid point to be made that some of those folks would have been better off using Hotmail for free.

All of that said, however, while I recognize that 2002 was a totally different era for the Internet (heck, Gmail was only a gleam in Google's eyes back then), I really do wish more people would understand that you get what you pay for, and expecting any online service to be sustained for little or no money is unrealistic — they're either making money by advertising or they're making money from the users.
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