I’ve always avoided Hotmail, but I’ve used GMail almost as long as it’s been going. I like GMail. It’s interface is of exceptional quality, and it has a long list of great features. However, there are three very good reasons that I’ve moved to ippimail.
- It runs on SquirrelMail, which is Free Software. (that would really be enough)
- 45% of its profits go to charity.
- 10% of its profits go to Free Software.
This is the source of their income. When you are reading your email, they display a banner advertisement at the top the web page. This is not chosen by looking at the content of your email, like GMail advertising, but as a result of a questionnaire you filled in when signing-up.
Advertisers pay for the display of the banner, and pay more because it’s targeted. There are, in fact, two questionnaires you can fill in. The short one to provide basic targeting, and an extended one that allows quite specific targeting. The extended questionnaire is optional, but makes the advertising space much more valuable.
The advertisers never see your questionnaire, but the banner is targeted by ippimail, based on your stored answers.
This is really quite an original idea, and many charities have signed up. I can help support charities (and Free Software), for free, just by reading my email and clicking on the occasional advert. I am very strongly in favour of this. Charities need all the help they can get, and this enables them to tap into the lucrative market of online-advertising.
Your favourite charity
ippimail are showing some real genius. Not only do you support good causes just by doing your normal activities, you get to choose which good causes. There is a default list that you choose from initially, but there’s also a search interface from where you can select your favourites from a long list.
If your favourite charity isn’t in the list, then tell them to sign-up. This is encouraged by ippimail.
How good is it?
The interface is a little basic, and resembles Hotmail before its recent update. An advantage of the basic interface is that it’s fast. However, the ‘unread’ count in the folder list seems to have trouble keeping up with the message display pane.
- To do
- Spam catching (with SpamAssassin) (you have to switch this on in the options)
- Virus catching (you have to switch this on in the options)
- Fetch your mail from Hotmail
- Mail forwarding
- Lots of mail storage (you only get about 200MiB)
- POP access
- IMAP access
- A threaded view like GMail’s (something I really miss)
200MiB is pretty small by today’s standards. However, they have said that as more people join they will be able to afford to expand this.
Coming from GMail, the lack of a similar threaded view is a real drawback. It’s funny that what took longest to get used to, when starting with GMail, is the thing I miss most. I may even try to add this feature to Squirrelmail and wait impatiently for ippimail to upgrade .
ippimail have not been resting on their laurels. They have found more imaginative ways to find profit:
They do web search, powered by Google, that gives them profit through adsense. It would have been nice to have seen it powered by Free Software, but you can understand their decision.
You can get your own blog, powered by WordPress. They display a banner-ad at the top of the page.
I even considered moving this blog to ippimail. They have a nicer interface than Blogsome, and a seemingly more standard WordPress install. However, they lack a few of the Blogsome features (I couldn’t find a way to customise the templates), I would get http://blog.ippimail.com/cuttingfree/ rather than http://cuttingfree.ippimail-blogs.com (or similar), it would be the second move in this blog’s short life, and there are now quite a few links to this url.
I would definitely recommend checking out ippimail for those who want to start a new blog, though.
[EDIT: See ippimail: Shopping does work to see why I was having the issue I describe in the next paragraph.]
I don’t know if I’m just not seeing something, but I can’t actually find a way to get to the sites through ippimail. The link just seems to take me back to the ippimail site. That’s a shame, ‘cos I would use it.
Read the news headlines. Supported by banner-ads. The summaries are a little brief for my liking.
There are some niggles with the web-mail interface, but I’m prepared to put up with those. One, because I’ve now got Free Software web-mail, and two, because good causes benefit.
Hopefull, this will also be of great benefit to SquirrelMail, with users working to make their web-mail service the best in its class.
- ippimail: Shopping does work
- ippimail: Backstory
- ippimail: An interview with co-founder Simon Martin