Verizon is Out of the Email Business Leaving Many Out of Luck

For several months now, users of Verizon’s email platform have been receiving emails indicating that the communications giant is no longer going to support its 4.5 million email addresses. Verizon stopped issuing new email addresses in 2015 and has been indicating for years that hosted email was never really its first love. Users are now at a point, however, where they are no longer receiving “Important notice regarding your email service” emails, but rather “Act Now or Lose This Email Address” messages. Users are now beginning to see the true reality of End of Service/End of Life as it pertains to and some procrastinators are freaking out.

What can I do? VS What should I do?

You can migrate all of your email to the AOL Mail platform. Verizon bought out AOL for a cool $4.3 billion in 2015, which is part of what is making this whole situation somewhat workable for users. Accordingly, account users have been offered the opportunity to establish their accounts on AOL Mail and keep their addresses.

Should you do this though? No, not as a long term solution, anyway. Though many Verizon execs and even some affected users have seen migrations go well, the AOL choice may not be the best one. As free email goes, AOL may be one of the oldest on the block, but it is far from the best. Like all things AOL, their browser based interface and app are crammed with advertisements. Ads or not, their entry into the app game has been a day late and a dollar short. Unlike Gmail, Outlook and even Yahoo!, AOL did not come out with a mobile app to handle mail on Android and iOS until 2015. Accordingly, it is still missing some assets that the competition sees as old hat by now (a calendar, for instance). What’s worse is that the AOL app is not just for mail. You have to put up with the entirety of AOL, because at its heart, AOL has always tried to present itself to users as the alpha and omega of the internet, like a planned Utopian community. Therefore, you will have to contend with a homepage filled to the brim with non-news news headlines from clickbait articles to Man Bites Dog to whatever Kanye is up to. Furthermore, though AOL Mail’s spam filter is better than the non-existent spam filtering of Verizon, they still have issues filtering mail that is not actually spam. AOL’s attitude towards security and spam seems to have always revolved around building bigger filters as opposed to smarter ones.

So, what should you do? It makes the most sense to do a little work up front in exchange for less stress down the road. Now would be the time to move to one of the two strongest providers in the free email arena:  Gmail or Outlook. No one is throwing more money and technology at email (specifically security) than Google and Microsoft are. If you are worried about people losing track of the online you, temporarily set yourself up on AOL Mail if only to establish a vacation responder to make your contacts aware of your new Gmail or Outlook email address.

The Long Game

Regarding the more basic aspects of technology, we are at a point now where many people have been using a smart phone for about a decade and most folks have been using email for about two decades. We may not know what will be two decades from today, but many of the winners have already likely been chosen. It’s safe to say that if you are choosing tomorrow’s technology today, you should be betting on companies known for recent and continual innovation such as Microsoft and Google as opposed to AOL, known to most as the direct mail CD-ROM kings of 1993.

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