PBS commentator Robert Cringely has a post up this morning detailing some of the problems that large ISPs are having doing simple things like delivering their customer’s email:
Link: I, Cringely . The Pulpit . In a Jam | PBS.
Since June, he was told, Earthlink’s mail system has been so overloaded that some users have been missing up to 90 percent of their incoming e-mail. It isn’t bounced back to senders; it just disappears. And Earthlink hasn’t mentioned the problem to these affected customers unless they complain. The two groups affected are those who get their mail with an Earthlink-hosted domain and those with aliased e-mail addresses like my friend’s Blackberry.
Were they thinking these thousands of affected customers simply wouldn’t notice? And what about those customers whose livelihood depends on e-mail communication? There are both ethical and business questions here and Earthlink doesn’t look good on either scale. Fortunately the company says it is installing new software and hopes to have the problem resolved before the end of the year. Lucky us.
The real scandal here, as Cringley points out, is the fact that the email delivery failed silently without notifying either the sender or the receipient that something had gone wrong.
I’ve pretty much given up on email from my ISP. It makes no difference which one I’m using at the moment. I’ve had much better luck getting my own domain (like http://www.entangledstates.org or http://www.wnknisely.org) and then setting them so that email for those domains is sent to a service provider that specializes in email.
The two that I specifically use are Fastmail and Tuffmail. Fastmail works great for individual accounts and is relatively cheaper per year. Tuffmail is great for business email accounts (it handles multiple users on one domain more easily) but is a little more expensive. Both are less than $200/year with all the bells and whistles. (When one depends on email, that’s a bargain for spam free, reliable, industrial strength service.)
Perhaps Earthlink, Verizon, Cox, etc will get their system fixed. But rather than wait around on it, look into getting an email account from one of the above – or even from Gmail. It makes life every so much better.