If you’re sick of spam email and everything it takes to control it, it’s time you signed up for a Gmail account. I’ve been using Gmail for a little over a year, and it’s practically eliminated spam email for me. Sure, a few sneak through now and again, but nothing like the hundreds of bizop, porn, SEO and other spam messages I used to receive DAILY. It got to a point where I couldn’t let my daughter use the computer until I first had a chance to sanitize my Outlook Express inbox.
Anti-Spam Software Stinks
I had tried a few different spam filters, like Vanquish, but none of them really eliminated the spam problem. Yes, they “controlled” the problem, but they also gave me an additional task of checking the emails they filtered out to make sure none of them were messages I really wanted, which happened more often than I liked. I was still a victim to spam. Plus, there was the annual subscription fee. Not much, mind you – Vanquish is about 25.00 per year – but in a small business, why spend money when you don’t have to?
But Gmail Isn’t as Professional Looking as a Me@MyDomain.com Emaill Address
I know what some of you are thinking. “I can’t use Gmail. I have my own domain name, and it wouldn’t look professional using a firstname.lastname@example.org email address.” I know this because I just had that conversation with my best friend, a small business owner with her own website and corresponding email address (she’s now a happy Gmail user).
Never fear, you can still use Gmail and it’s super spam filtering mojo. All you have to do is forward your mydomain.com email to Gmail. I have 5 different email addresses, and they all dump into my Gmail account. Gmail filters out the spam, and I get my real, spam-free messages downloaded into Outlook Express.
You can also set up Gmail to reply to messages using another email address. In other words, if someone sends an email to email@example.com, it goes into my Gmail account. When I reply to the message Gmail will automatically use michael@solostream as the reply address, rather than my firstname.lastname@example.org address.
What Else Can Gmail Do?
If the spam filtering feature isn’t enough to convince you, there are some other cool features I love about Gmail. Like the ability to search past email messages. See, you can set Gmail to keep an archive copy of all messages you receive, and if you ever need to track down a certain message, you just use Gmail’s search function to find it. It’s just like doing a Google search but only on your email inbox.
Also, the archive and search features allow me to have two copies of all email messages. One on Gmail (accessible from any computer with an Internet connection) and another copy on my own hard-drive at the home office.
And storage space isn’t a problem, because Gmail gives you more than 2 gigabytes of storage. I’m currently using about 10% of the storage space Gmail has given me. With all that space, you can also use Gmail as a temporary file storage server. Again, let’s say you’re away from your main computer, and you find a file you want to keep. Just do a draft Gmail message, attach the file and save it in your draft folder. When you get back to your main machine, go ahead and download the file to your hard drive.
I could go on and on about Gmail, but I won’t. Do yourself a favor, and get a Gmail account. If you need an invitation (you can’t open an account without one), email me, and I’ll send you one.
Update 07/27/06: This timely article just appeared on BBC News: More than 95% of e-mail is ‘junk’ .