Home Forums Welcome Hello! which web based email provider?

This topic contains 13 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Avatar of ArtGal ArtGal 2 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #159678
    Avatar of mili
    mili
    Member

    I am in the process of tidying up all my online identities and online accounts so it all works more cohesively and interacts more seamlessly, while still letting me remain anonymous/pseudonymous where I need it that way, and eponymous where I don’t :-). Don’t worry, I’m not up to anything dodgy! It’s just that there are things I would like to be able to put online without having to worry about them being accessible to any person nosey enough to google my real name (think the neighbor, the tax guy, etc lol). I do a lot of artsy stuff too, mainly writing and photography, so some of it is the more soul-search-y or experimental stuff that I’m not keen on just any Nosey Parker making a real-life connection to me. I would just keep it offline, but sometimes you just need more feedback than you can get from one or two local contacts (and for some things there’s not even that much lol).

    As part of this reorganization I’m looking into changing the email I think of as my Real Name address (ie for in-person exchanges of contact details and facebook), because I’m not totally happy with either the username, which I picked years ago in different circumstances, or the provider (it’s yahoo; not terrible but I hear there’s better :P). So I thought I’d ask for your recommendations, as y’all are sure to already understand about at least one of my two main criteria: the need to keep the process of dealing with email communications clutter-free, in particular by having mail from all addresses/accounts land in a single inbox (in my case the one on my mac’s and iphone’s Mail apps).

    For a better idea of what kind of use I’m talking about, this is the address that I give out to anyone to whom I am introduced with my real name, rather than an online handle. It could be in a social setting, a professional setting, or the modern young urbanite’s oft-uneasy combination of both; it may be a face-to-face or telephone exchange or an online communication. Whichever it is, it’s a case of, ‘Hi, my name is Real First-Last’, not ‘Hi, I’m mili’. So, something totally lame like fanofdrmcdreamy2009 @ yahoo.com or whatever wouldn’t work :P, but at the same time it’s not an email address for a business, a professional practice, etc, so my own domain name might be overkill (and even backfire by looking a bit too ‘takes self too seriously’ for this context).

    The main thing it needs to do is allow me to easily set it up so that I can work it ENTIRELY from my mail.app on my Mac and iPhone. How it works on the website isn’t much of a concern as ideally I would never use that beyond the setup stage – I’m rarely far from either device for reasons far beyond email.

    Other than that, it’s just the privacy issue – it just needs to be completely separate from other email accounts, to ensure that the stuff I need to post pseudonymously STAYS that way :P So, no having me enter another email address for password retrieval or any other stuff that might connect my Real Name addy with any of the UserName addies.

    Recommendations/thoughts/cautionary tales?
    :-)

  • #201485
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    which web based email provider?

    I use https://beta.runbox.com/

    They allow one main email address and up to five (I think) aliases for free, after which you can pay for more. The login name is your main email address (login at runbox dot com) and you can use it as a normal email address or you can create aliases to avoid using your login for other than precisely logging in.

    Runbox works well as web-based email, but you can also use IMAP or POP. On the iMac, I’m importing to Thunderbird via IMAP and on the iPhone to Mail via IMAP.

    I use almost all of my aliases; a real name one for bureaucratic purposes (tax, bank, optician, etc.), two for the company, two for hobbies. You can make all emails land in the main inbox or you can create sub-inboxes for each alias; I use the latter and it works like a charm. If I reply when “inside” a sub-inbox, the from/reply-to info becomes of that alias, that’s how I set it up.

    When sending emails, you have to pay attention to where you are, from which inbox you send something – and yes, I have screwed it up a few times when tired, but that’s my own fault. This is such a minor weak point in comparison with how efficiently corralled the emails are that I gladly pay the price for a few screw-ups. I have set the system up the same way in Thunderbird, but haven’t tried it in Mail on the iPhone yet.

    I love how streamlined it has become to use multiple addresses. I use the smallest package at Runbox and it’s fine, I’m nowhere close to max storage, but that’s also due to frequent deletion of uninteresting emails. The only thing I miss from Gmail are the labels, more like tags than categories, but it’s minor.

  • #201494
    Avatar of herisff
    herisff
    Member

    which web based email provider?

    I use G-mail, Google’s webmail service, which is free. I have one address for family only, one for “public” use, and one for bills/statements. The Mail program automatically uploads to my iMac, so I don’t even have to go to the web to get my messages. Works great for me.

  • #201495
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    which web based email provider?

    Upon rereading your OP, I’m actually more confused than as I read it the first time. Now I think I don’t know at all what it is that you’re looking for. Do you need complete anonymity from also the email provider? Then I suggest you scatter your accounts over many providers and stay away from even Mail or Thunderbird, so that not even Apple will know anything.

    In the end someone will always know, especially in this day and age when the internet is increasingly censored by the internet providers; we just have a completely ridiculous situation going on here in Finland where the providers pretend to be god and don’t allow access to certain pages, like it’s any of their business where I choose to click and where not. Should be my own choice to “conduct illegal business” should I so desire. But anyway, someone will always know something unless you keep it in your own head, you know?

    Apple has designed a backdoor in all of their deviced, by the way, so the US government can step inside without fuss, if they feel like it. Great.

  • #201504
    Avatar of Jude2004
    Jude2004
    Member

    which web based email provider?

    I have 11 email addresses. Four are with gmail, two with my real name, one for an organization I belong to (but it’s my email address), and one for a company (with the company name); I still have two Yahoo addresses (one real name, one totally pseudonymous); I have two email addresses with my ISP; and three work addresses. This might seem crazy, but I’m happy with it. Most of them come into my primary gmail account and I check even the infrequently used ones weekly so that they remain active. I use all of them for different things. Gmail works fine, and it is what I’d recommend.

  • #201507
    Avatar of Astreja
    Astreja
    Participant

    which web based email provider?

    When I decluttered my old Internet provider, I also dumped the webspace and a bunch of e-mail addresses. I currently have 2 Gmail accounts (one for my Web persona and one under my legal name), and 1 work e-mail address.

    The big advantage of web-based mail is that I can change from one computer to another and have all my messages available from anywhere in the world. I also don’t have to worry about losing important messages if my computer crashes. With decluttering, I also don’t hang on to a lot of messages and delete them as soon as I’m done with them. Overall, things are much more streamlined and I tend to check my e-mail more regularly.

  • #201519
    Avatar of loripax
    loripax
    Member

    which web based email provider?

    I have a dozen or so email addresses for different purposes. I forward my main personal address and my main business address to a Gmail account, even though they’re run through my own domains, just for the spectacular spam filtering capabilities. I use Mac Mail as my email client, and it can fetch and send mail from all my accounts without a hitch. You just have to take time and train yourself to double-check the “from” address before hitting “send.” I have different signatures for each account, and that helps make it easier to see if I’m about to send a message from the wrong account.

    I do go in via the Gmail web interface twice a day to make sure nothing ended up in the spam folder that shouldn’t be there. It happens once or twice a week — but I send and receive dozens of emails a day in the course of doing business, and sometimes potential clients end up there. It’s still a ton better than Mail’s internal filter was doing.

    The best thing I did late last year was create two more email addresses: one for commercial mail and one for discussion list mail. It took a couple of days to change all my promo mail and discussion list mail over to these addresses and set up filters to shunt them off into a completely different inbox, but my main inbox is now a thing of uncluttered beauty. I can check up on the other stuff when I have time.

    I can’t speak to the privacy issue, because I’m basically an open-book person, and if some Google drone gets a kick out of reading my mail, well, they can go for it. Pass the No-Doz. I don’t think it’s possible in this day and age to be completely anonymous, at least without paying someone a hefty fee. Most services make you enter an email address for password retrieval, but why not set up two pseudonym accounts and have Pseudonym A be the backup for Pseudonym B, and vice versa?

  • #201534
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    which web based email provider?

    As an aside, GMail will let you send mail that has a different return address as well. I had to look for how to do it, but like Lori says, as long as you look at the “from” address before hitting send, you can have it appear to be from whatever address you like; nice way to keep things separate. I also like it’s labels/tags so I can find all the emails on a topic without knowing who they were from (I belong to a couple of organizations that send out email notifications from several people)

  • #201562
    Avatar of mili
    mili
    Member

    which web based email provider?

    Ninakk and others, on the privacy issue – I’ll try to explain it better this time but you’ll have to bear with me because it’s a bit tricky to explain I guess – it’s a lot about degrees of reasonable risk and statistical probabilities :-) In short: yes, I *am* concerned about the issues ninakk mentioned re: internet censoring and governmental snooping – but in a general, engaged global citizen sort of way. But, on a *personal* level, I am more concerned with run-of-the-mill snooping by people with no particular specialized skills getting, let’s say, farther up in my business than I want them to, simply by googling my name and maybe following a handful of hyperlinks.

    Basically, from where I’m standing our real name is the most public/least private of all our personal details – even more public than our *face*, since it can be shared and searched for much more easily than a photo. Anyone we meet, even passing acquaintances, will often have this information, and using it they can find out other personal details about us by googling that name, no more specialized skills required. All I want is to ensure that this information that they can find so easily does not include any artsy stuff I’m not yet ready to share with everyone (only with some people). Does that make sense now?

    At this point, I wouldn’t be posting anything likely to put me on the radar of most western agencies that take an interest in snooping. I mean, I don’t even use anonymity to badmouth politicians, let alone I dunno, illegal downloads or whatever else it is that’s rattling their cages these days. Yes, things can change, and if they do I will reconsider/reorganize as needed, but in the meantime, and in the interest of staying sane, basic precautions are a better bet than trying to defend myself against an enemy that probably does not even have me in its sights. Yeah, some governments/organizations overreach their mandate. and that concerns me because I want current freedoms and civil/human rights both maintained and reinforced, but I know that realistically, my privacy is much more likely to be threatened by nosey neighbors or other creeps acting on their own motivation, no government or mega-corporate endorsement required.

    It’s like with crime: I am concerned that there are people getting abducted for ransom, but when it comes to me, I know I am far more likely to be mugged for my wallet and phone than to be kidnapped, so the mugging is what I try to prevent and prepare for by avoiding bad areas, not carrying too much cash, etc. That’s just what I’m trying to do online: prepare for what is a real likelihood, as opposed to something that is frightening, yes, but only a small possibility. Is this a better job of explaining what I meant?

    At this point then, it looks like gmail probably offers the best ratio of sophistication to ease of use. A lot of you guys certainly seem really happy with it, which also reflects the general consensus right now around the web. Now, my question is whether I should have entirely separate google accounts, or if I should use one google account with multiple email addresses. Part of the problem is that like where Astreja said she has one email for her web personal and one for her legal name, well, I have more than one web persona – it’s more like three or four. I have tried to declutter them further, but this seems to be the magic number – any fewer and the compartmentalization starts to break down. thoughts?

  • #201567
    Avatar of nws2002
    nws2002
    Member

    which web based email provider?

    @mili Gmail used to have a habit of showing up as “sent on behalf of” instead of showing the secondary email address when you sent an email from your main account intending it to be from your secondary account. Supposedly they have fixed it, but with your needs it would probably be better to have two separate Gmail accounts and login to each one as needed. More info can be found here: http://lifehacker.com/5326947/gmail-removes-on-behalf-of-for-real-this-time

  • #201580
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    which web based email provider?

    If that is the case then let’s just say i would not go with any free service, not even google. They know too much about people as it is. Hate their ads based on randomly scanning my emails, too. Rather sick if you start thinking about it for real.

    The reason I moved away from multiple accounts was the cluttered state, regardless of the fact that they can all be read in Thunderbird etc. I also have multiple personas online, which I’m trying to unclutter right now. Free is probably just fine but I chose a paid service so they would have some obligations and not just rights.

    It amazes me how much people are voluntarily putting out there. The most horrible example is a photo of a newborn on facebook; talk about protecting a child since their first day.

  • #201599
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    which web based email provider?

    I use Gmail for my personal e-mail (i.e. FirstName.LastName@gmail.com) as well as 2 of my business e-mail addresses. I use Yahoo for my “anonymous” online account, mainly because I’ve had it for a very long time; if I were to choose again, I’d go with Gmail for everything.

  • #201602
    Avatar of mili
    mili
    Member

    which web based email provider?

    ninakk, don’t worry – I understand there’s no complete and absolute anonymity! But thanks for making sure I understood that; I know it’s not clear to a lot of people, that some people think it’s possible to be 100% anonymous even without specialized skills. I know it’s not :-) That’s why I’m not after that, and why instead I prefer to just focus on reasonable measures of protection, and realistic risks instead of far-fetched ones – what I said about mugging vs kidnapping for ransom :-) In any case I know that for most of us, the danger to our privacy isn’t from government or big business, it’s from individuals of our acquaintance who are looking for something that could be twisted to use against us in a social or professional setting. The other stuff is great for a movie, and it is a concern in the general sense, but for this I have to go with real probability :-)

    Besides, I reckon government and big business don’t have to mess about digging up alternate emails and online personas – they have direct access to copious info in the form of things we have no choice but to share with them if we want to be a part of society, such as our banking records (including payment cards), our taxes, our utilities bills, and a zillion other things that you cannot opt out of unless you can find a way to have yourself declared dead and go live in the freaking woods with a shotgun or something :P

    nws2002 – thanks a lot for pointing out this issue for me! I definitely hadn’t heard of it, and it would certainly have been a big weakness to the system for me! it’s like that guy surfmadpig in the comments to the article :P You’re right; it would not be worth the risk, so separate accounts it is :-)

    anita – another endorsement for gmail then :-) I think it looks like multiple gmail accounts would be the way to go for me :-)

  • #201615
    Avatar of ArtGal
    ArtGal
    Member

    which web based email provider?

    I was a big fan of Apple’s email service (MobileMe)…but they change things so often I can’t keep up…you have to do a complete overhaul of systems on everything and heaven forbid if your computer is over 2 years old…then nothing works and they want you to buy the latest, greatest device!!! No thanks, I’m done.

    I’m switching everything to gmail as well.

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