Talk about the death of email may still be a little premature. But the fact that some very high profile web entrepreneurs are even having this discussion is portentious.
When we think about the loss of productivity and the damage that has been wrought by bogus email and embedded nasties over the first fifteen or so years of existence of the Internet, it is surprising that nobody has entirely solved the problem of wayward emails. Even more surprising is that desktop software providers have retained email client applications within their offerings, because the writing is on the wall – email must die.
As long as email remains free of any cost, and networks are largely unfettered, there will always be some idiot quite happy to steal your address and use it as a proxy to send out a million ads for pharmaceuticals. The Internet has always been a double-edged sword in this respect. It offers huge potential to scale a business for both good and bad purposes.
So what are the alternatives to email and are they safe? When I set up my consulting business in 2002 I found an ISP that could both host my website and offer me a webmail service – great. I’ve never used Outlook since. What was not so great was that during 2007 my ISP had a major server meltdown and somehow managed to lose 5 years worth of my email. Had they not heard of system back-ups? Fortunately I have heard of backing up and had long sent all my active mail and a list of email addresses to a separate account. So the loss was minimal, but the nuisance factor was considerable.
That episode got me thinking about how trustworthy all sorts of hosted applications and automated services really are. Banking, sharemarket, any e-commerce or eftpos transaction, even this blogsite…we trust that the provider has sufficient resource in place to deal with our precious data. But how can we really be sure? When we consider where email is likely to go in the future, there is still some cause for concern.
Some young people don’t even use regular email any more. Why would you do so when you can create your own social network online and be specific about who you choose to invite aboard? It is surely only a matter of time before someone builds a really useful networking site targetted at enterprise. Gmail is great and I have to admit I have yet to see a single piece of spam through my Gmail account. So why can’t I have a secure, low cost Gmail style hosted email system that only lets in only those who I invite but which can be personalised to fit my business brand?
Bookhabit Authors Competition – Last Orders Please
Speaking of leveraging the Internet for good purposes, we are entering the last weeks of the Bookhabit.com authors competition. Know any budding authors out there? Have them upload their unpublished work onto the site in time for a crack at $5,000 in prize money. Popular selections from each week go forward to the final panel. For readers there are now over two hundred e-books to choose from, selling for as little as $2.50. Bookhabit is further evidence of how the Internet is continuing to change the way we live our lives and that a sensible idea well executed is worth a great deal indeed. Enjoy!