Newest Review: ... it was bound to mount up, and all because you referred some friends and then sat back and sent email. But there was more - when your fr... more
UPDATED: Tools you can't trust
Member Name: dave27
Date: 22/04/01, updated on 06/10/01 (30 review reads)
Advantages: Not any more
Disadvantages: Slow loading, unreliable, starting to charge, broken promises
I checked out TheMail the other day and they're up and offering a free e-mail service again. I joined up because it's a pretty good E-mail program with stuff like autoresponders and the like. You won't make money there but it is a damn fine E-mail provider, so check it out if you do need a decent service.
There are a lot of web based e-mail providers around, but when TheMail started a couple of years ago, it kicked off with quite a unique proposition regarding its service. They promised that if you joined their service you would be able to get money from them.
Heard it all before, haven't you? Well, you'd be right, but I think it's important to tell the full story.
The basic premise was that once you had signed up with TheMail you should get other people to sign up by referring them in and getting them to indicate that it was you who referred them. This is done by using a unique URL which includes your member ID and links any new member to your account. Those referrals in turn will sign up other people underneath them and so on.
TheMail offered payment for referrals up to an astonishing 16 levels deep and the deal was that you would earn $0.0025 for every e-mail read by someone you had referred and $0.001 for mails read by all the other levels. In classic pyramid sales style, the way to generate big money is getting about six people to sign up under you, and getting each of those people to sign up six people and so on, all the way down the chain. If everybody in the chain were to read say 10 e-mails per day, and you had just five levels deep in your chain, you would be earning more than $90 per day - sounds too good to be true, right? Right.
A number of other e-mail programs offer payment deals as well, but no one can match anything like this, especially the number of referral levels. The normal level is three or four at most.
I got well into TheMail's program and within a month had a total of about 150 people signed up underneath me and my account was actually starting to fill up with money - not as much as the hype promised, but certainly about $2 per day. Just before Christmas 2000, the balance on my account had reached the minimum payment level of $30, so I requested my payment and waited...... and waited ....... and waited ....... and waited ....... and waited ....... AND NOTHING. Oh well, it'll be along soon, I thought, so I carried on.
Then in January I got an e-mail sent out from the people who run TheMail saying that they had reviewed their terms of condition and henceforth the rates would be reduced to $0.000025 and $0.00001 respectively. Now that made any money that would be earned pretty much irrelevant, even if you ever got it, which you don't.
Two months on, further announcements. TheMail wrote out saying that their introductory stage was now over and henceforth you would have to pay to use your TheMail account, not a great deal, but paying nonetheless.
Clearly, TheMail had set themselves up to fail, and had promised far more than they would realistically ever be able to deliver (how unusual!) and were now rapidly covering their tracks and getting back into a more realistic option.
Okay, leaving aside the financial implications of the program, let's now consider how good TheMail is as an e-mail provider.
Well, initially it was actually pretty good, so I was pleased with it. It offered autoresponders, filters and the option of setting up your own separate folders so you could store the mails in various ways. It has several other quite snazzy options and I was soon making good use of them. Altogether it offered most of the options that one could want with any e-mail account, although you couldn't get the mails via Outlook Express, only via your account on TheMail's website, but I was comfortable with t
hat because I was now on AOL flat rate 24/7 Internet access.
However, as TheMail started changing terms and conditions, there started to be several glitches with the program and e-mails started disappearing quite randomly, it became impossible to clear dead ones out and the site started hanging at a moment's notice. Clearly, TheMail's offering was rapidly falling apart, both in terms of payment and functionality.
In the end, the program just became unworkable and I've since stopped using it altogether. It's a shame because it was fun while it lasted. If you do want a good web based e-mail account, I'd recommend either AOL, Hotmail or Zwallet, each of which is free and provides a pretty effective service. Zwallet also pays you for every mail read or sent by you or anybody else you refer in and it looks like they might actually live up to the promise because they haven't overreached themselves and have sent out some cheques.
If by any chance you do still wish to check out TheMail, you can find them on http://www.themail.com - however, I cannot think of any reason why you would want to sign up.
Six months ago, I would have been recommending TheMail - just shows you how quickly things can change in the world of the net.