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By making your email something custom instead of @gmail, you're spending some energy, time, and money to protect against a perceived threat.

I guess my real question is, what exactly is that threat, how damaging is it, and how likely is it to occur?

By my mental math, I can't really justify spending even a few bucks, or more expensively, a few hours, protecting against some consequence that I can't really quantify at any real level of risk.

For business, sure, because there are other benefits to having a custom domain, but for personal stuff, I don't really see the cost/benefit analysis making sense. The biggest threat seems to be that the government will have my data and I'll be advertised at, but having my own domain doesn't help either way. Am I missing something?




> you're spending some energy, time, and money to protect against a perceived threat.

Perceived by some but apparently not by many others who are still clueless. I know multiple people who invested considerable time and energy into building up Facebook pages only to suddenly be cut off from fans who had followed them when fb decided to go the pay to play route. I personally lost my YouTube channel, due to sheer incompetence on Google's side after they moved to the single login system across Google, Plus, YouTube, etc. I tried many times over multiple years to get access again but their support is crappy as I'm sure you've heard many times before...

For a short term experiment, it's totally reasonable to give it a shot. But if you're trusting Google, Facebook or any other tech giant (or even small startup) with things important to you, you're making a mistake. Not backing up something as important as all your email history in Gmail would be insane, in my opinion. Even with a backup, you could lose access to a lot of other services if Google ever locks you out, as they have done to many, many people in the past.


>I know multiple people who invested considerable time and energy into building up Facebook pages only to suddenly be cut off from fans who had followed them when fb decided to go the pay to play route.

An anecdote on a similar note, there's a comedian I'm a fan of who had an Instagram account he used to post funny boudoir style photos as a big, bald, overweight man. All of his posts were well within Instagram's terms of use, in that he never showed full nudity or anything overly suggestive. Basically he was doing the same thing thousands of "butt models" do on Instagram. These weren't just cell phone snaps, either; they were staged and professionally shot images.

He gained a few thousands followers with this, until one day when he was locked out of his banned account with no explanation. With the help of a friend he managed to contact someone who works at Instagram and was told his account was removed for "harassment". Since no other explanation was given the only conclusion that seems reasonable is that people reported him for "making fun of" plus sized female models by doing the same thing himself, which is absolutely ridiculous, as he was always positive about what he was doing. He just happened to be a bald fat man while doing it.


You can still host your domain on google apps which is simple and painless. The key is that you can take your domain with you and move it wherever you want later on, if you choose to.


Exactly this. I'm lucky though in that I signed up when it was Google Apps for Domains (and free). I've been using it for years without paying (having been grandfathered in). If I ever decide that I don't want to be on Google anymore, I can take my domain and move to (e.g.) FastMail without having to go through the pain of shifting everything over. I don't have to:

* spam everyone I know to use a new email address.

* go through authorship information in any READMEs out there for projects I may contribute to.

* deal with an invalid email address embedded in public commits (ala Github).

* deal with possibly important, time-sensitive emails ending up in a blackhole.

* updating email information for online accounts. Especially for sites that use a combo of email address/password rather than login/password.

* etc...

I only have to pay ~$12/year (or less if I buy years in bulk) to keep the domain, and I also get the benefit of being able to grant emails on the domain to other people too.


Same here. Having my own domain at least decreases the risk of ever losing access to my email address. A lot of developers seem to do this.

It's a shame that this is not something the average person can do easily. Email addresses are by design linked to specific domains.


In the end of the day it looks like false freedom for me. You think that you can move everywhere you want, but you're still using a closed source platform (Google).

To have an "open web" we have to have as usable, hassle free alternatives. And as I don't see that day coming yet, because you have to invest your time and money to take care of something (e.g., your email) that wasn't a worry to you before, we won't have "an open web" any time soon.

Some may have the perception that they are "free" and "contributing to an open web" when they're not.

Furthermore you may argue that is best to post in your own website instead of facebook. But what if your business depends on posting on Facebook to earn more? Some may write a copy in their websites, but they will be secondary. Or everybody moves out from such closed source platforms (the masses won't), or we won't have an open web.

I'm looking forward to be completely mistaken. Tell me how wrong I am.

p.s.: my entire comment is not necessary a reply to the comment above, only part of it.


exactly, you can protect yourself from a lot of manipulation over time by owning your own domain and always look to build traffic into your personal control, while 3rd parties often offer attractive propositions, the fact that any community built on their platform is not yours to truly 'own' is an issue over time and a risk that is easily mitigated by paying a yearly domain fee.


> to protect against a perceived threat...

It might be too romantic these days, but it you might be better if you see it as a matter of principle...Doing the right thing (Backed by your own thought ofcourse).

Think of it as selling your identity off to a thrid party. If you see that as an improper thing on its own, then you shouldn't do it no matter how much value the third party provides, right?

Things like facebook are essentially saying. "Give us your identity, secrets and your whole life, we will save you some cash and make some (nonessential?) things (slightly?) easier for you"....


> The biggest threat seems to be that the government will have my data and I'll be advertised at, but having my own domain doesn't help either way. Am I missing something?

The biggest threat is that Google removes or locks you out of your gmail account.


Right, many people have been permanently "canceled" over unwitting mistakes they've made.


Yes. My girlfriend has a bellsouth.net email address (it's our ISP). Recently, Tumblr announced that anyone with an email address belonging to AT&T (and yes, bellsouth.net is owned by AT&T) will no longer be able to use said email address to log into Tumblr. I don't have a clue why, it is what it is.

So now she's forced to get another email address to log into Tumblr. I got around that by creating an email address at my own personal domain that forwards to her current bellsouth.net address, and that was good enough for Tumblr.

Enjoy your free Internet.


Details at https://www.att.com/esupport/article.html#!/email-support/KM...

My guesses: Tumblr belongs to Yahoo. Yahoo had some agreement with AT&T to provide them services. The agreement is no more, AT&T customers can't use their AT&T email to login into Yahoo services anymore. I don't see why that should be technically our commercially necessary, but that's it.


One really basic threat that just seems so obvious and i controversial to me is that in another five to ten years when there is a new service that comes out that is cooler and better, you can just switch to it without effort. When you see someone with an AOL or a Yahoo address, it says something about the person: remember that a true one point they had best of breed solutions.


i controversial -> non-controversial

a true one -> at some


So we're doomed to the tradgedy of the commons?




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