November 9, 2004

Gmail – I Don’t Get It, Part II

Gmail – I Don’t Get It, Part II Back in June, I blogged about Google’s new Gmail service, how I didn’t understand the fuss, and how its features would ultimately be replicated and true usership stalled at a couple million.  I stand by those assertions (just look at what Yahoo, Hotmail, and Lookout have done to the landscape since then), but my company Return Path published some data today that’s interesting on this topic. We run the largest Email Forwarding and Email Change of Address service around, so our data on email switching is pretty solid — we’ve had about 16 million consumers register a change of email with us in total, and about 25,000 new ones come in every single day to report a new ISP.  So our numbers are probably pretty good relative to each other (ISP to ISP or month to month at the same ISP), but they’re certainly not meant to be correct on an absolute basis. – In July, we saw 375 people join Gmail, in August, 802, and in September, 2,396.  To put these numbers in context, we see 50,000-100,000 new users every month at Hotmail  and Yahoo, and even 5,000-15,000 new users every […]


November 4, 2004

Caught In Their Own Underwear

Caught In Their Own Underwear This is, as Brad says, priceless. According to PC World, verification emails sent by the challenge/response anti-spam technology from Mailblocks, Inc., which is now owned by AOL, are being blocked by…you guessed it, AOL (and Earthlink, too). Read the full article here. This is a little embarrassing for AOL, but it really underscores the continuing problem in the world of email, spam, and anti-spam systems: false positives. It’s almost impossible, with the moving targets of technology, consumer complaints, and aggressive spammers, to get filtering right 100% of the time. We all know the multi-faceted solution […]


August 5, 2004

Challenge Response: Oy!

I don’t think the news about AOL buying Mailblocks and its challenge response anti-spam product is such a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But it does give me a quick opportunity to rant against challenge/response. First, I don’t think the world is in danger of mass adoption of challenge/response. Earthlink, which in general has much more sophisticated customers than does AOL, has had a hard time gettings its adoption level of this up to the 7-10% level over a period of at least two years. I think it will be even tougher for AOL. I applaud AOL […]