Everyone lately focuses on privacy when talking about email but that just misses the big point. Privacy is assumed when you entrust your data to third parties for a fee. Freedom however comes up rarely as a topic.
When you register a domain, you own the whole name-space of that domain:
- All possible sub-domains of your domain are yours.
- All possible URLs on the domain are yours.
- All possible email addresses on the domain are yours.
On your domain, you are also free to choose the linked services such as web, email calendar etc. If you are not satisfied with one provider, you are free to switch to another one at your own convenience.
This is the freedom granted to you with your domain name and the Internet was built to give you one.
When an email provider rations email address of your own domain name-space at a fee, they are asking you to hand them over control of your name-space. There is zero cost associated with additional email addresses and it is time you learn about it.
When an email provider offers you an email on their own domain, they want to lock you in for good as “your” email address cannot be ported to other providers. Once all your contacts have your address it is very inconvenient to change the address and the providers know it. Moreover, every time you use your email address you will be advertising the provider. While sound business strategy for business-as-usual, it goes against user interests and we, the users, nowadays consider this business malpractice.
When email provider does not offer you standard email protocols that work with standard email clients, they want to lock you in for good. You are tied to using the dedicated applications offered by provider. The freedom of using a better or more suitable application is taken away from you. Protocols were standardized for a reason and today there are hundreds of email clients built for users with different needs.
When email provider alters messages data in non-standard format, they deny you data portability and with it freedom of changing providers.
Email is a collective effort of messaging interoperability. It is built around open, public standards and runs mostly on open source software maintained by folks believing in an open Internet, privacy and personal freedoms. Let’s not give away our freedoms for some Kool-Aid.
Eyes on the freedom.