ASSOCIATES (vol. 5, no. 1, July 1998) -

Linda Putnam
Documents Department
Florida State University

One of the major problems with electronic mail is that most of our accounts come with conditions. Usually the condition is that you have to work in a particular department or unit to get an account. This account is often specifically for work use, and many times employers have virtually full access to an employee's account to make sure they are not abusing the privileges.

Other times you are restricted by geographic area such restrictions come with the use of a freenet. If you are not within the general geographic area, you either have to telnet or pay long distance charges. These can add up fast if you get lost in cyberspace the way I do. Another limitation is the hassle you have to go through to change your e-mail address if you decide to change jobs or move.

Soooooo . . . I went looking for an alternative to help solve some of the frustrations which can and do occur. I have been hearing about the free e-mail accounts that are available on the web. If you know where to find them, almost all web services can be obtained for free. There are companies and organizations on the web which provide free electronic mail service so that you can hand out one address and that address will forward your mail to whatever server you are currently using.

The big catch is that you must have web access before you can use them. This means that you must either visit a local library with web access or have some type of account from an Internet provider. If you can access the web, then one of these e-mail providers would be wonderful for you.

This is not a complete list of all providers of free e-mail accounts because the Internet is changing so fast no one can keep up with them. I would recommend that you pick several of these listed below and check out the various restrictions as to number of messages allowed, times of the day use is allowed, appropriate use agreements, etc. After studying several of them, pick the one that best suits your needs.

If you are not sure about something, each site has a contact person to whom you can write and ask questions. Good luck to you all, and I hope you have fun finding an account, or two, or three. I know some who have separate accounts for each type of thing they use on the web for . . . how do they keep all of those passwords straight?????

Return to table of contents