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back to article Postmaster kills off 'free for life' webmail

Postmaster will shutter its free webmail service from the middle of next month because it has been unable to win enough advertising revenue. The service, which launched in 1996 and was Europe's first free webmail offering, used to be advertised as "free for life" by former owner Bibliotech. From August 14 users will have to pay …

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Anonymous Coward

"Offering ad-supported webmail is now a game for the likes of Google and Yahoo!, he added."

"Offering ad-supported webmail is now a game for the likes of Google and Yahoo!, he added."

yeah, because hotmail is rubbish

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Anonymous Coward

Need kit for other things?

Like sorting out other Spider Networks balls-ups, perhaps?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/04/19/breathe_email_upgrade_snafu/

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

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at least they're trying

Rather than other ISPs who lose their mail for weeks at a time.. It's free - what does everyone expect? You have to make money somehow!

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And the next one to charge is...

Providing a "free" service is purely a numbers game - if you have big numbers of users (Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail and so on) then advertisers will pay. If you haven't, they wont. That's it.

It would take a really big player (say BT?) to try and break into that now.

Personally, I would happily pay a few pounds a year not to have adverts, but I don't seem to get that choice.

What I really would like is to be given the 8mps BT promised me - and for which I DO pay - but that's another story...

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Free for life - but you wouldn't want it anymore

I used to have a postmaster account. It was the address I gave to everyone. I developed email software, so it seemed like an appropriate address to have.

Over time, I got more and more spam. There were no spam filters - or if there were, they appeared to do nothing. I had to wade through hundreds of spam messages looking for my legitimate email. The user interface was clunky, which made this incredibly tedious.

Then they started adding animated adverts to the site.

I'm surprised they've kept going this long.

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I wonder if those 14 users...

...have been told what to expect.

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Faster and more reliable?

If you kill off 80% of your user base of course it would become faster and more reliable.

Ye gods, lets state the obvious as a selling point, we have no users, our service is fast and stable because it isn't pushed to any real degree of load.

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Poor Bibliotech

for those wondering about the email spam problem, we used to do daily spam management, then after the board coup those looking after such things were let go. I wouldn't have minded but I came in during my vacation time to give out Christmas gifts and got "leg go"; thanks for the memories.

It is a shame because the technologies are really valuable... or were when perl was a leader in cgi. and their exim management tools where rather nifty.

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Anonymous Coward

no ads?

"Personally, I would happily pay a few pounds a year not to have adverts, but I don't seem to get that choice."

Doesn't Gmail offer that service? I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure they have a pay-for ad-free version.

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@ Matthew Darroch-Thompson

"Personally, I would happily pay a few pounds a year not to have adverts, but I don't seem to get that choice."

I use Fastmail.FM, which is a subscription email service. It might not be to everyone's tastes, and it has had some major outages in the past, but it now has full replication which should insure against any repeats of previous problems.

It's a major service, with tens of thousands of subscribers. It does also offer a basic free plan with limited storage space - so you could give it a test run - but many of the useful advanced features are only available to those who pay up.

And no I don't work for them - as can be seen from the above I give them money!

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re: no ads?

If you want no ads, just firefox as your browser, and install the Adblock app. Works for me.

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Silver badge

You'd pay a few pounds, eh ?

Then why not get your own domain and web site. Domain names are cheap, and you can certainly find web site deals with 5 email addresses for a pittance.

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been with postmaster since near the start

my first web based email accounts have been with postmaster, never had any problems with spam, or any other canned ham products.

i have emails going back to when i started with them, they are all there, and as for speed never seen any issues on any of the 3 accounts, its just a shame you cant have a bulk account system ie pay for more than one account, as in relaity i can only view 1 page at once.

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PEMail

Back in 1997, about the same time Postmaster started, I signed up with The Personal E-Mail Company (pemail.net) who promised "Get a unique E-mail adress FREE for life. The latest web-based E-mail service provides you with a personalised E-mail communication solution for the rest of your life."

It lasted about 4 years and then just suddenly shut down with very little communication to subscribers other than a weak story on their web site stating that a serious technical fault meant the service could no longer be continued. It seems rather ambitious to claim your service will operate 'for life' if you don't even have the cash to replace failed equipment.

Thankfully soon the ASA will soon be able to take action against ridiculous claims and unfulfilled promises made on company web sites.

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@Gerard Krupa

I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for the ASA - the same people who are happy to allow companies to advertise "unlimited" services that are limited by ill-defined "fair use" policies,

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re: no ads?

If you don't want ads then use Firefox and add the Adblock Plus AND Adblock Filterset.G Updater add-ons. It's that simple.

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Free for life

Back in '96, there was a service (can't remember what company though) that gave you "email redirectors" with a lot of "cool" domains, like 2die4.com, rocketship.com, et al. They promised back then that those of us who signed up would get the service for free. And that I did, I even could send e-mail thru their SMTP server, provided I used my e-mail addy set up with them.

SMTP went for-pay sometime around '98. Then sometime around 2000-ish, my "free" service was dropped out entirely, much in this current Postmaster fashion. Thing is, I used that address as my "main" e-mail addy because of its redirecting properties. *sigh*

Oh, if you want to block ads, do what I do: set up a squid proxy, and set it to filter out atdmt, googlesyndication, campaign.indieclick.com and such. All banners will silently dissappear, regardless of what browser you use ;)

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Another.com

Was the service you were referring to Daniel

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