a free (google) service is worth exactly what you pay for it

I note from a recent register posting that that some gmail users are objecting to the fact that google’s mail service has failed yet again. El Reg even quotes one disgruntled user as saying:

“More than 30 hours without email…totally unacceptable. I’ll definitely have to reconsider my selection of gmail for my primary email account. It may be I have to pay for an account but hell will freeze over before I pay one penny to Google after this debacle.”

Umm, maybe it’s me, but I fail to understand how anyone can complain when a free service stops working. There is a good reason why people pay for services. Paying gives you the option of a contract with an SLA. If the service you are paying for includes storage of your data (as in the corporate data centre model) then your contract should include all the necessary clauses which will ensure that your data is stored securely, is reachable via resilient routes in case of telco failure, is backed up and/or mirrored to a separate site (to which service should fail over automatically in case of loss of the primary) etc. The contract should also ensure that you data remains yours if the hosting company fails, goes out of business or is taken over,

All of that costs money – lots of money in some cases.

Anyone who entrusts their email to a third party provider without ensuring that that they have a decent contractual relationship with that provider (though a paid contract) is, in my view, asking for trouble. Most email users nowadays are heavily dependent upon that medium for communication. I know I would have real difficulty coping without it. Outside of my work environment, I pay for my personal email service. And I am happy to do so. In fact, on some domains I own, I even run my own mail servers (with backups). That costs time and money, but it ensures that my email is available when I expect it to be.

So, google users, stop whining and think again. A proper email service will only cost you a few pounds – and there are plenty of other reasons for not using google’s email service (not least the fact that your email is scanned by google to enable them to target you with their adverts).

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/11/01/a-free-service-is-worth-exactly-what-you-pay-for-it/


    • Peter on 2012/03/12 at 2:35 pm

    That Google is free is an illusion. Unless, of course, you consider your privacy to be of no worth whatsoever, in which case the continuous brainwashing over the last decade or so has indeed worked..

    Personally, I find that an incredibly high cost, as I would no longer be in control of my own information. Facebook has even plans to go one further and use client onformation in their marketing campaigns. So, if you’re a convinced vegan you may still find your face used in a sausage ad – totally legal, even though it will make it seem as if you endorse the product in question.

    It seems very few realise the true cost. It’s a bit like people taking money from loan sharks – the pain will come later..

    • Mick on 2012/03/12 at 4:47 pm


    It’s a price I’m not prepared to pay. That’s one of the reasons I run my own mail server. Not many people would go that far, but paying for a commercial email service from a trusted provider comes a close second.


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