Why pay for email when Gmail is free?

This is a question we are often asked:

Why should I pay for email when I can get Google Mail for Free?

There are many reasons for this; we usually don’t need to mention more than a couple before people understand the importance of paid versus free email.

Firstly, I believe that if you use email for business then it is not a good sign for your business if you use insecure free email to keep customer data. The fact that you can’t or won’t attempt to look professional and keep the basics, email, secure as possible, is a big indicator of other parts of your business where you may not have adequate standards and for many that mean potential clients will be put off. I personally will not use anyone who uses a free email address for any type of business. Using your own domain and email is not necessarily expensive and is no guarantee of anything, but it is the first hurdle and if you fail here it doesn’t matter that you have any awards for this and that and customer comments and reviews because I will not entertain the idea. This is shared by many people that I know. Remember that fraudsters generally don’t bother to use their own domain name as they need to keep costs down and be able to change at the drop of a hat, so they use free email. Most people who sign up to us with free email accounts were just fraudsters trying their luck with us, that is why we no longer accept free email account signups.

Even if you don’t use it for work or business then it’s better to have your own domain and email that you can control. Anyone can get a free email from Google and most fraudsters use Gmail or some other free email account to con people all the time, so you really will put some people off from even looking at you if your email address is a free account. I know that I will not entertain any business that uses them and one of the main reasons is below.

It is important to say that if you don’t care about your email and who is reading it then you may be able to use free email account such as Gmail. I have a Gmail account myself. I use it mostly for testing purposes, sending and receiving test emails from/to servers that I am testing so I can be sure that email is getting in to and out of our network correctly. The only thing that any one will find is test emails, so I am not concerned with who else reads it.

Why would you be concerned with who else reads your email?

Well, it surprises me just how many people don’t bother to read all of Googles various, complicated and hard to follow and sometimes hard to find terms of service and all the addendums that you agree to in order to use their services. Google does own some 50+ companies and is listed, at time of writing, as the third biggest company in the world by turnover, or at least its parent company Alphabet is. Do you think they are that big because of the free services? Well actually yes, they are in part. If you have the time to read all of their T’s and C’s then you will note the following:

(Concise version) – By using their services you give Google and anyone else they want, UNLIMITED LICENSE TO USE, MODIFY, RESELL, AND ANYTHING ELSE THEY WANT WITH ALL YOUR DATA. Yes every email you send or receive, they can use, including the attachments to do whatever they want with. If you send your latest play or movie script using or receive it in your Gmail account, you allow them to use it as they want. They can take your idea, change it and make the movie themselves. They don’t even need to change it as you gave them unrestricted license to do as they please.

You can read the full details here: https://policies.google.com/terms?gl=UK&hl=en but below is the extract verbatim that I refer to, I have underlined the interesting bit, they do their best to make it sound soft and cuddly but read it carefully:

When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.

The last line is particularly important as you must have the rights to the content you are sending/receiving in order to be able to grant this license to others or you are in breach of the copyright of copyright holder who can sue you for breach of copyright because you sent it using Gmail.

This happened recently on another free service, Flickr, where a model had some pictures taken by a professional photographer, uploaded them to her account, but she didn’t realise that she did not hold the copyright to the pictures of herself but the photographer. As there is a similar granting of license to them as with Google as with all the other free services that I have looked at, she was promptly sued by the photographer.

This sort of thing is not new, Microsoft’s Hotmail used to have in it’s terms and conditions that anything you uploaded, sent or received actually belonged to them and not you at all. This was challenged and they backed down after some media attention and replaced it with you granting them an unlimited perpetual license to do as they please with it which is now used by everyone. Free just means you don’t pay up front, but they make their money out you. It’s better to retain control over how companies make money from your custom rather than letting them run freely to do whatever they like behind your back.

Also the new GDPR (or Data Protection Act 2018 in the UK) can cause a business using any free service a hassle. That is because you are required to keep personal data secure and you can’t do that if you send any personal data through a free email account as you grant the right to Google and anyone else they see fit to do with it they please, leaving you, not them responsible and quite likely in breach as you have effectively lost control of the data.

There are many other reasons to add to this discussion as well but I think there is enough to think about here.

CritchCorp Computers Ltd offers email accounts from as low as £1.50+vat per month. With cloud accounts you have many more features to help you secure your email, using encryption etc. Keep your business or home email safe by making sure you have control over your email.

Keep Safe

CritchCorp Computers Ltd