Why does Web Mail have advertisements?

Advertisements generate revenue that helps us continue to invest in our web mail application. Features like spamBlocker and our recently launched Anonymous Email Addresses are possible in part because of that advertising revenue. There is no setting that allows you to turn the advertisements off in Web Mail. Of course you could bypass the advertisements completely by using software like Outlook Express or EarthLink Mailbox to check your email. But then you wouldn’t get the extra benefits and features of using Web Mail.
Advertisements shouldn’t slow down Web Mail, as they are programmed to always load last and all features are fully visible and usable without waiting for an advertisement to load. You can click any feature in the page and use it whether or not an advertisement has loaded, and you don’t have to wait.
The ads have been a feature of Web Mail since we first launched it several years ago, and they have never been optional. Web Mail is one of the products that we offer free to everyone. But as a paid user you also get Internet access, email service using any software you like (without ads) and all the other things that come with the service, and you also get the convenience of using Web Mail. We understand that ads can sometimes be annoying, but we work hard to maintain a good user experience even with them.
UPDATE – On June 11, 2008 we added an Ad-Free Web Mail Option. Read about it here.

97 thoughts on “Why does Web Mail have advertisements?

  1. I frequently lose text i am typing because the resources are going towards loading our offensive ad videos. They’re disgusting. We might as well be using free email like hotmail or gmail. We’re the fools for continuing to give earthlink our $$.

  2. Please STOP the annoying pop-up ads. I could care less where the nearest NAME BRAND gas station is! I DO NOT want to pay for a internet service and get annoying ads! I am on the verge of cancelling my subscription as soon as I check out other alternatives. I do not pay money for service to get unwanted ads. So, please stop them ASAP! Thank you.

    We do not allow popup ads at EarthLink, but we are aware that one for Arco slipped in for a day or so before we caught it and removed it (from an ad agency). Please let me know if you see any more.
    Email Guy
  3. Thank’s for agreeing to do something about web mail ads. I am a long time (i.e. paying) earthlink customer, and the ease of using Webmail was what kept me here. The dancing people nearly did me it, but this week’s ad (the golden ring thing?) it beyond believable. As I sit waiting for focus to return after the eventual (and I mean eventual) ad finishes loading. I could have gone somewhere else and picked up my mail.
    Please hurry, and don’t forget us paying customers.

    I can’t locate the ad you refer to. But you should never have to wait, you can click on anything before the ad loads in the background, and just move on to your next task. That should always work except with really old browsers. If there is a badly-behaved ad that interferes with this, let me know (in enough detail to find it).
    Email Guy
  4. I notice that there are some people who are aggravated by unwanted ads (among them – me :)).
    Would it be permissible here to suggest the use of the [redacted] on [redacted]?

    Sure, but I don’t have to publish those tricks here. 🙂
    Obviously we can’t instruct on or support such hacks, which would confuse most users anyway. Clever users can find many ways to suppress advertising in all web sites if they are so motivated. We’re going to offer an option very soon for ad-free Web Mail.
    Email Guy
  5. All the ads are as bad as pop-ups. If we have a choice for NO pop-ups without a charge then we indeed should have a choice of NO Ads without a charge. Those animated ones are the worst and really look stupid. I agree with a lot of other users who say they never buy anything from those ads. I’m with them!!!

  6. I also want the option of paying extra to get rid off the ads. I often have the the Web email window open when I am at work, and I don’t want to worry about some stupid offending ad flashing by just when a co-worker or my boss walks by. I hope Earthlink is listening. I am so tired of the ads that I started looking for alternative email solutions. For example, I already know I can get ad-free webmail with 2GB(!!) of storage from Pobox.com for $50/year. That’s less than $4.20/month.

  7. I understand the need for ads. Please stop the butterflies and the dancing ads. They are distracting and irritate you to the point that you would not buy their products. It does slow the process down too much.

  8. About those ads – ladies’ buttocks on my webmail screen? Please, get rid of it. Also, those annoying ads from PC Advisor, whatever that is, saying that my computer, not yet one and a half years old, needs a tune-up. I will never respond to ads like these.

  9. I realize we have to put up with ads but when you added the large one on the right side of the E-Mail screen it, in many cases, cuts off part of the message. Is there any plans in the future to correct this problem ?

    Normal email text should always wrap to the viewing window, and we also have that viewing space set to never reduce below a minimum size that can accommodate a standard line length of 80 characters. Highly styled and formatted messages, such as advertisements and newsletters, are often full web pages sent in email, and not really email messages. Those often require a full browser screen to display properly without using a horizontal scrollbar, and most email programs can’t accomodate them without scrolling. But there should always be a horizontal scrollbar at the bottom allowing you to see everything. And if you sometimes need to view a particular message full-screen, just click the Print button, and cancel the Print dialog that pops up. That will give you a full window with only the message displayed, and no ad showing.
    That said, there is a small bug for plain text messages where sometimes they don’t wrap properly at window sizes less than 1024, and you have to use the scroll bar when you shouldn’t have to. That will be fixed soon. We also will be modifying the layout in Web Mail 6.0 to allow you to toggle the folder panel hidden or visible, giving you a lot more viewing space. And lastly, there will be an option for ad-free Web Mail introduced very soon, and you will hear more about it when it is ready.
    Email Guy
  10. Dear Email Guy,
    I have used the generic earthlink feedback form (which I REALLY dislike – I want to know that I’ll get a response from a REAL PERSON, and not some 3rd party support company in India). I would also like to join the chorus of folks complaining about the obnoxious ads on your webmail service. I, too, have paid for Earthlink service for many years. There are some things I am only able to do on Webmail (like delete large files that are too big to download with our dial-up service). I also have to use Webmail to delete old messages from my account, so I don’t exceed my space limit. Having no alternative, I find it HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY (I would use some profanity here, if it didn’t make you reject my message!!!!) OFFENSIVE that you LITTER MY visual environment on Webmail with your ads! I find this blatant pandering to commercial scumbag companies (like your recent “no money down, no credit history home loans – can you say, “Subprime Enabler!”?) so offensive that I have started looking for another ISP. I also mention every time the subject of ISPs and email comes up among friends how angry and dissatisfied my wife and I are with your webmail ads. I also agree with one of the previous posters who says that for everyone like us taking the time to complain, you can be sure there are thousands or even tens of thousands of folks who were equally incensed by your ads, but just don’t want to waste their precious life energy telling you about it. You REALLY tarnish your reputation with these ads! Why don’t you have a way to post messages directly to your marketing folks? They are the ones that need to get this message. I’ve worked in marketing for a big company and I know what those folks are like (yes, I’m generalizing, but I’ve been there and worked among them for so long, I feel my generalization is accurate). They get promoted by showing how they can make profits, usually at the expense of the customers – while convincing customers that it is really in their best interest…). Why the heck should we pay MORE for webmail without ads, when we are already paying for your service?
    Sincerely Disappointed,
    a long-time customer

  11. I oppose having to pay a significant monthly ISP fee and still having to endure advertising. I request a two tier ISP pricing structure. Low fee say $9.95 per month with ads, or $49.95 per month with NO ads.

  12. Earthlink web is good except for the annoying ads. I WILL NOT GO TO THE SITES offered even if I wanted to. The space on the screen is limited. Why irritate the users? I know the money that you generate adds to the bottom line, but there is the irritation factor that motives people to NOT use their service.

  13. OMG…these other bloggers have just made me think…of course we all pay for this email service!…..Why do we need to see the ads that are annoying me on this?
    I understand the need for advertising…but I’m with Christine…add a little money to our fee and keep the email free….of ADS!

  14. when I see the ads in my personal email, I feel like someone is eavesdropping. I hope earthlink will understand it is a great annoyance before they force people to change by their lack of a listening ear.

  15. It seems to me that email guy is missing the point, people do not like ads on the mail accounts they are paying for. The use of webmail is one of the reasons I started using mindspring/earthlink back in ’97, to say that it is free therefore ads can be placed on it, is wrong. The ads are resource drains, and are annoying, very distracting from the task at hand. IF I was geeting your service for free, I would not complain, but as a paying customer for 10 years I find the obtuse statement that it is necessary for a “free service” to be just doubletalk. I use webmail daily, and on several different pc’s everyday as I travel around my company, so to tell people to use a mail client to avoid ads is just plain patronizing.
    One thing you should keep in mind, is that for everyone of us bloggers complaining there are probably hundreds others that come here, read the same ad justification non-sense and just decide there is no hope, so why not just cancel service and go with a free account like gmail and put up with the ads?
    My company had several hundred mindspring accounts that we we paying for, we generally liked using webmail instead of troublesome clients like outlook, but lately we have been canceling and moving our mail to free accounts since we are going to be subjected to ads anyways. Is there any hope whatso ever that someone will make an executive decision and fix this problem?

  16. Please stop the ads in web mail. It loads last but my browser (latest versions and all) don’t free up the window to move on until the ads are fully loaded. There’s no opportunity to move on to view other messages, or any other action, until the ads complete. Web mail is the slowest thing I do on the web and it seems to be due to loading the ads.
    I cannot believe that 100% of the ad money from display on web mail is put into development of the web mail tool and related infrastructure. Surely some part of the ad money from web mail displays benefits other parts of Earthlink. That is not fair.
    Listen to the masses – stop the ads in web mail.

  17. Bwahaha- ads load last indeed. you are running an old browser and need to update indeed. I could be wrong but I think I am running the latest update to firefox and I have the same experience as others- ads load somewhere other than last. not first, but in the middle just when I want to put in my log in and it totally screws up my log in typing. So I have to wait and wait while my extra slow dial up loads the dang ads Of course I could try broadband and fix it IF EARTHLINK EVER GOT ON THE STICK AND OFFERED BROADBAND OR A COMPETITVELY PRICED SAT CONNECTION IN MY AREA (Caps intentional shouting after 4 years of complaint, I am entitled to shout at earthlink and you email guy)
    Sort of like rubbing salt in the wound as it were.
    Slings and arrows, Chuck

    As I’ve mentioned a number of times, the login page is an exception to ads always loading last. Once you are in Web Mail, they always do. We intend to fix this on the login page too. Thanks for the feedback.
    Email Guy
  18. The change to the ad on the side decreased the message preview space, which I consider a very bad change. Now a new ad has appeared recently that flashes constantly and is even more annoying than the regular ads. You say that WebMail has more features than accessing your e-mail other ways; what are they?

  19. My experience has been the opposite of what you claim. The ads always load first, and the rest of the screen waits until the ads have loaded. I cannot do anything else until the ads have completed loading. Since I have dial-up access, the wait can be frustrating until the ads load.

    In that case you are running an old browser and should update it. Browsers released in the past few years will behave as described. Some older browsers don’t run the page scripts the same way.
    Email Guy
  20. Another brickbat for the terrible new ad placement in webmail. Unlike the earlier top ads it steals screen real estate right from the guts of the application we’re trying to use and imposes its twitchy-flashy-garishness right next to the content we’re trying to read.
    Put a book you’re reading next to a monitor showing one of those blatty annoying cartoons and try to concentrate on the book; you’ll get the same feeling.
    Its bad enough that we have to deal with advertisements in a PAID application (I’m certainly not getting webmail for ‘free’). But when Earthlink arbitrarily decides to move those ads into the most blatantly conspicuous, unavoidable, distracting, space stealing spot on the page short of laying over the center… that is terribly inconsiderate. Put the ads back where they did not interfere with the application, please, if you can’t do the right thing and eliminate them completely for paying customers and only punch ads out to folks who are NOT paying for their service from Earthlink (are there any?)…
    And that login issue where the flash ads steal input focus? Thats a security issue as well as an annoyance; there have been times when the ad didn’t load for 5-10 seconds. Long enough to type in the email address, tab to the password field and enter a character, then *poof* you’re suddenly typing your password VISIBLY on the tail end of your email address. Don’t notice that that happened? Hit return and your email address and appended password are suddenly in the browser’s autocompletion history. NOT a good thing on a shared computer…

  21. Your comment is #66 above is very inaccurate. I just came from that link and I read only 2 users who were happy about the change in the ads. You yourself in #1 at the top of the screen even said that this would only be an improvement for 15% of the users. It is obviously clear that you did not consult with your customers prior to making these changes. I see this as an insult to your long term customers and nothing but a bid to get more advertising revenue to increase the CEOs bottom line and get them more $$$$ in their pocket. I pay for this service. Also remember that once we leave you will not be able to get us back, at least not easily.

    No, I said that for that 15% of users, it was an especially welcome change. Many other users still like this layout better, and we do talk to them through a variety of channels. For another approximately 35% of users that run larger displays than 1024×768, the change is not even really a factor, they have lots of screen real estate either way. But for the users of 1024×768 (47%), opinions are definitely split. There was no increase in the number of ads or any increase in revenue, so you are mistaken on that. This was moving an existing ad banner to a better placement for most users. Obviously we can’t please everyone, and you have seen a vocal minority speak out here (which we still take very seriously). This layout is also a step towards the new 6.0 design, which will allow you to increase the amount of horizontal real estate. See the preview in the Plans section.
  22. I also am a long term Earthlink customer since about 1998. PLEASE MOVE THE ADS BACK TO THE TOP OF THE SCREEN. I pay $50.00 a month for Cable internet and another $30.00 a month for phone service why should I even be getting ads.
    Why do you insist on upsetting your long term customers. Everytime that I have moved I have taken you with me. I have continually upgraded and updated my service with Earthlink and I find the ads on the right side of the screen very intrusive and distracting. Also I am unable to now read the complete subject on my screen. I use web mail to weed through all of my emails to include my suspect mail prior to using Outlook or Microsoft Mail to down load my mail. This is even more important now since I am 1200 miles from home and have to work on a slow dial up connection. Please note while I am on this painfully slow dial up connection I am still paying the $80.00/month.
    I like earthlink, but Time Warner keeps sending me information on how I can get everything cheeper through Roadrunner. Don’t ask me to pay $4.00 more each month for ads that I should not be getting in the first place. Put the ads back at the top of the screen or delete them completely.
    Yes I have read the complete blog to this point. I am currently in the middle of another move right now and for the first time in many years am seriously thinking about dropping Earthlink.
    A very frustrated customer.
    Pete Merry

  23. Let me just get to the point. The ads on the right hand side of the web mail are ANNOYING. The flickers and the movement and the flashing are distracting. Aside from the fact that it is taking up my visual space that was used for text. I’m not sure that it matters to you Earthlink, anymore but I am starting to feel cheated. You are catering more to the advertisers than to the subscribers. I feel the experience I am getting with all those ANNOYING ads should be a free email experience. If I wanted a free email experience I would have joined yahoo. I never thought I would leave but after 9 years of being with earthlink, I find myself looking elsewhere so I can once again enjoy my webmail. I hate webmail now.

  24. I am really disappointed with all of the advertisements that has inundated my email page. It makes my field of view to freakin small. The constant change of flashing ads are distracting and annoying. It’s actually messed up my whole page( I use to have a clock at the bottom of my screen). You could have at least made them small and at the bottom of the screen. BAD MOVE…REALLY BAD!!!!!

  25. I really do not like the ads on web mail as well… Now that the ad was mover to the right side of the page makes me start to hate web mail. In the work place using the web mail client and the Victoria Secret ad is up dose not look good when someone walks by. This is also an issue with the viewable space to read mail. If you are not going to remove, the ads altogether than put it back at the top or allow use to minimize the ad space.

  26. I too am a long time earthlink subscriber and one dependent on WebMail. And I too object to the new ad position on the side. An ad position at the top lets me scroll away as needed — this position takes up real estate and makes the subject lines uselessly cramped. Yes the posttion at the top had its problems. some of those could have been solved by setting a standard size for the banner ad.
    But that is not to say that I like the damn things. The fact that advertising has been there from the beginning is no excuse. As the internet evolves that which folks are willing to put up with evolves as well. The world is not static and the fact that you haven’t seen mass defections yet is more an indication of the cost of switching than an indication that your custoners are happy.

  27. WHY are there ads??? I am paying $50 a month for earthlink DSL, and I should NOT be forced to look at commercials! This is one question that is on this blog over and over again, and it never gets answered!

  28. I would like to take part in the testing email guy refers to earlier.
    At the moment I don’t actively use Earthlink because 100mb is not sufficient. Over at Fastmail.fm I have got I think 2 gb of email space altho I’m only using about 150mb. This space issue really does need your prompt attention.
    Earthlink has one good thing going for it and that is reliability.
    Although unfortunately at some places Earthlink has been placed on a block list which is annoying because a return message ust says Earthlink is blocked at the other end. Is this because some people are using Earthlink to spam? If so, this needs your attention.
    I have noticed that even on DSL there is a delay when loading up the inbox. This needs your attention.

  29. I’m very disappointed in the Web Mail experience that EarthLink is providing, and I’ve been a subscriber since 2002.
    The positioning of the ad now on the right side of the window is actually an improvement, from my perspective, because it at least narrows the e-mail message area width, making it easier to read, and ensures the vertical spacing of the page remains fairly constant, which was not the case when banner ads of varying heights were employed at the top of the screen. HOWEVER, it is erroneous for this FAQ topic to state that the ads load last and do not disrupt the page loads or browsing experience. In fact, the last thing to load on my WebMail login page is my user ID and password, which are stored in my browser preferences (Firefox). This means that, without adblocking, I have to wait as long as 10-15 seconds for the page to fully load before I can login, and that just negates the $45 I pay for high speed Internet service doesn’t it? I expect ads on most Web sites and services that are truly free to the user, but as EarthLink charges for their services — and e-mail is among them — I would expect to not have to deal with ads.
    Furthermore, the new default Web Mail actions that have been implemented — routing users to the News Headlines page when they login to Web Mail (ridiculous – if I wanted news headlines then why would I be going to my e-mail account?), and routing users to the EarthLink landing page when they logout — are just exasperating in their lack of regard for the user experience. At least I was able to find a way to turn off the News Headlines in my user preferences. I have not yet found a way to return my WebMail signout to the WebMail login page, as used to be the case. If I’m logging out of one e-mail account, I have to click on the WebMail link again to get back to the login page to login to another. This whole business — the ads and routing — just smacks of advertising motivations, and, again, a lack of regard for the user experience or for paying customers. Well, I’m just about ready to switch providers or go to my gmail account full-time.

    Brian – the login page is the exception that does not load the ad last. Everywhere else in Web Mail, it does. We plan to fix that one too. I didn’t realize the autocomplete in Firefox made you wait, in IE you can use it immediately without waiting. We’ll take a look at Firefox and see if we can do anything.
    There will be an option in the next few weeks for you to control the logout destination. We also plan to add a toggle in the future to allow you to read multiple email accounts within Web Mail while logged in, if you are the master account.
    We do try hard to balance user experience with the ads, and the new position of the main banner, as you noted, is an improvement for most users.
    Thanks for the comments.
    Email Guy
  30. Email guy:
    Why did earthlink decide to move the advertising bar to the side?

    For many users this is a better layout. Of course not all users agree. See this post on that change and the comments.
    Email Guy
  31. This new layout stinks. I am quite sure there is another way to advertise. Will it be better if the advertisement is on the bottom and not on the side? It is very distracting.


  33. The ads which appear on the right side have cut down on the readable area which is a big problem for me. These are terrible. Count me among the masses who hate these.

  34. Add this to your list of complaints.
    I pay tooooooooooo much for my last add free place to be taken up by ads on the right hand side. I like the others will consider taking my high speed fee somewhere else.

  35. I agree with the other posters that the new ad running down the RIGHT side of the webmail screen is VERY annoying and makes me quite angry. I have to note that not even my FREE Yahoo mail account subjects me to this mess. It is nearly impossible to concentrate on writing or reading webmail with this ad on the right side. This is unacceptable for paying customers. Please remove!!

  36. add me to the list of customers that absolutely HATE the new webmail advertisements. if i wanted to see ads while viewing my email online i’d set up an email account with one of the free mail services.
    as a paying customer i have expectations — such as not being inundated with ads while checking mail on the web. the animated ads are extremely distracting and the relocation of the ads to the right-hand side of the webpage overwhelms the page.
    i’ve read the ground rules for this blog and i’m not posting this “out of anger”. i’ve had an earthlink (mindspring) account since 1997 or 1998. i also have a broadband account through my local cable company (with email). the ONLY reason i’ve kept my mindspring account was because of the webmail feature — i always thought it was the best. the recent advertising changes does not distinguish your service as the best anymore. it does not put you above your competetion. it does however give me the incentive to convert my email to my cable company’s service.
    earthlink made a poor business decsion in my opinion.

  37. Please get rid of this NEW ADVERTIZING on the right of the screen!! It narrows the screen, it is intolerable and makes it hard to focus on the work. Ads horizontally, above the inbox are tolerable, but PLEASE do somehting IMMEDIATELY.

  38. The adverts were bad enough as they were, but now they’ve been moved from the top of the page to the right hand margin; this cuts off the subject line of my emails. This is unacceptable. If I weren’t a paying customer, I’d grin and bear it, but one of the reasons I’ve stayed with earthlink for years is because the advertising, although there, didn’t interfere with using web mail. Now it does….

  39. Email Guy:
    I have been an Earthlink subscriber since 1998. I am considering other web mail options to escape the advertising. http://www.trafficexcess.com promises advertisers “60000 Targetted Emails — 3% Clicks Guaranteed”. This indicates to me that those who place ads expect most of us to ignore them. With such a low clickrate threshhold, I think it is foolish to think that ignoring the ads will discourage advertisers and/or Earthlink. However, what would happen in the Earthlink board room if a significant percentage of long-time subscribers such as myself chose to leave Earthlink because of the OBNOXIOUS advertising and ad-delayed signin button issues?
    I use web mail at work. The banner ads are at best a distraction and at worst (Victoria’s Secret) a threat to job security. If a coworker or manager walks by and sees this kind of banner ad flashing does he or she assume the worst? What does he or she then think of me? Does he or she become offended? Can he or she take punitive action? I can tell you for a fact that I find these things offensive and embarrassing. I am a paying customer and I deserve the right to block this content…PERIOD.
    I am currently on the lookout for a better answer. I’d bet you next week’s allowance that there is a hungry market here! I really do not want to leave…Really! But if I find the answer before your board room comes to its senses, then I will leave and take my $49.95 DSL + 6.00/hr Dialup with me! What if hoards of other fed-up subscribers find the same answer?
    Please, talk me out of it! Or give me a sound reason to put up with it. Or with your silence confirm my suspicion that the board room has a tin ear to this problem.

    Jeff – we pay very close attention. If we did something that caused a lot of users to cancel, it would be changed, very quickly. And we do have pretty high standards on ad content, although some slip through sometimes from a network, and then we catch and remove them. The example you gave is an advertiser we consider acceptable. You may not agree with that, but it is a major retailer that is seen everywhere, including all over television. And you are correct that in many cases banner ads are purchased just for impressions, to build awareness, not just to get clicks. That 3% number is way beyond the range of clicks ads on web sites get. A couple orders of magnitude out of range.
    In your work scenario, you could use one of many products available that block banners from loading in your web browser. You are free to do that, although know that some of them work well and some don’t, and might interfere with other things and with desired content if not set up carefully. We are looking at some ways we can offer an ad-free Web Mail later this year, so please do stay tuned and stay with us. Right now the only option is our Premium Email, which is ad-free and costs $3.95/mo. with or without an access subscription.
    The issue you mention on the login page where certain flash ads will interfere with filling out the form while they load, is a known problem that is being worked on. That isn’t unique to our site, it happens all over the web. But we will get it fixed.
    Thanks for your comments.
    Email Guy
  40. I understand the use of advertising but the newest location on the right hand side of the screen is terrible. It has cut the viewing screen of emails down and really interferes with reading emails. Can it be moved to the top, bottom, or left side of the screen?

  41. I almost (just almost) signed up for gmail ….. but then I saw email guy’s response.
    Does that mean that someone higher up must approve the request? What is the liklihood of this enhancement request becoming reality and when? I wouldn’t like to draw comparisons with the 1gb space that was due in q1 2007. Earthlink is it seems to me taking customers goodwill for granted!!
    One other request: is it possible to show time in GMT within webmail and when it downloads via POP into our email client for those of us who are not in the USA?

    Everything always takes longer than we want it to. GB mailbox quotas are coming for all users, and a trial set of users is getting them next month (you might get an invitation if you are heavy Web Mail user). As for an option to turn off ads, that too is coming as part of an ala carte upgrade menu that we are working on.
    Message times displayed in Web Mail use the timezone setting from the computer it is being viewed on. Most other email software does the same thing, including most POP clients. They take the timestamps in the message headers, and adjust them for your own timezone and display that to you. If you want to show it in GMT, then set the timezone on your computer to GMT (0).
    Email Guy
  42. I read all the comments on the banner ads but want to know when they will STOP posting on my webmail page. I don’t use Outlook (I plan on putting Thunderbird back on soon) and these banner ads take up an incredibly annoying amount of screen space — today it is now running down the side of my screen and cuts off half my email messages so I have to scroll and scroll to see my actual messages which I also pay DEARLY each month and I do not want these banners. If I turn off popups completely then I cannot receive any attachments — I use my email for my business — and this is definitely interfering with my business. So please let me know when these banners will disappear or how I can get them to go away and STILL receive attachments in emails which I must have to keep my business running. Thank you.

  43. I opened webmail today to find that the entire right side of the window is taken up with new ad space, severely reducing the space available for the subject lines. And now I have an ad flashing in my field of vision that I can’t hide by scrolling down the screen. Very clever. Are you people ever going to get it? GET RID OF THE ADS!!!!

  44. Hi,
    I’m a premium customer — at least I think I am… paying $49.95/month for Earthlink DSL access. My current WebMail page shows a large Edmunds.com ad down the right side. At the top is the small eFax link, and there’s both a NetFlix and a Bank of America ad (small) in the left panel.
    Should I be seeing all those? From your comment in response to ME, it seems like I shouldn’t be seeing it.

    I was referring to our Premium Email offering, which is $3.95/mo. either by itself for email only, or added to any other account type.
    Email Guy
  45. Interesting that emailguy is ignoring emails calling for a total ban on adverts text or others. Why are premium paying customers subject to this? I will vote with my feet.

    I’m definitely not ignoring it. We don’t show the regular banners to premium email users, but we have showed the two little partner ads, which are eFax (on there for a long time now) and the new NetFlix spot, which had Lending Tree in there previously. I put in an enhancement request today to filter those two out for Premium Email customers just like we do the banners. There was no deliberate decision to show those to Premium users, just an oversight that no one ever called attention to before. Now you have our attention.
    Email Guy
  46. I agree with all the previous comments. After taking a world cruise, earthlink won the prize for being the slowest internet and web mail provider on the ship and everyone who used your service complained about web mail advertisments. I spent many precious and expensive minutes trying to get e-mail and finally had to resort to mail2web which operated 10x as fast.
    I also have a dial-up service at home as DSL is not available in our area so it takes a long time to get the web mail to come up. Your company is losing business right and left over this issue and no one seems to pay any attention. I would never click on an ad and my protest is to completely ignore the ads. Unless there are changes, yours will be next as soon as I have time to research and change

  47. Call me a prude if you like, but I find many of the Victoria’s Secret ads especially offensive, and not far from pornography.
    If you’re actually doing the screening you say you are, could you please eliminate these?

  48. I pay a boatload of cash to put up with sllllllllllllllllllllllllow load on my dialup,
    so why does a PAYING account have to put up with ADVERTISING?
    Charge me less, or remove the offending waste of bandwidth.
    You know what? Never mind. You don’t care so why should I.
    Sign me Fed Up

  49. I’m going to add my own two cents to this discussion.
    Technically, Web Mail is not free since we have to have to pay a subscriber fee. As paid members, I fail to understand why we have to be bombarded with ads just to access our email and clean out our spam trap. I remember when web mail was on a trial run and it had no ads. I am positive that I was not the only person who appreciated that feature.
    The frustrating part of this discussion is that I am left with the impression that Earthlink is pretty much blind and deaf to the complaints of their customers. These kind of problems give people like us a reason to start looking elsewhere for internet services.

  50. Yet one more reason to eliminate ads from webmail:
    Besides the fact that it besmirches what should be a very clean and functional service that I pay for dearly, positioning ads into the field at a time that I am entering my name and password, will at times unwittingly move the cursor to the beginning of the member name box when I am typing in my password. As a consequence, if I don’t pay attention, part of my password is integrated into the beginning of my member name and should I then hit return (the log in button is usually either buried or hidden by the caca of the ads) I will get an “incorrect …” message back, forcing me to start over. What a delight! If you claim that ads are a “necessary evil” to ensure profitability and your annual raise, then at least allow me to stay in charge of the meagre cursor while I am entering my name and password.
    Thank you for your attention to what may not be a tiny detail.
    PS: when you decide pro-cons of keeping the ads, keep in mind that these little annoyances multiplied on a daily basis over years constitute appropriate reasons for bailing out of Earthlink …..

  51. Advertisement is fine, for FREE areas of the system, but for PAID Webmail, I disagree. The Ad companies are getting smarter and smarter, learning how to bypass filters, etc. They have to go for paid users. I can move to other PAID services and not have this annoying advertisement. Why do I have to put up with it here. It is inexcusable. I have been a long time customer, and moved to the Webmail because TOO MUCH Spam was hitting my POP Mail, so I wanted to report the garbage. YET YOU FORCE MORE GARBAGE with ads. It’s as bad a SPAM if not worse. They track IPs, they do other nasty things. I DO NOT WANT THEM, and I am getting more and more tired of them. Almost tired enough to move to a new service after over 5 years with you currently, and the many years before I was a customer.

  52. Just promise me that you’ll never resort to pop-up ads or ones that cover part of the actual content that you have to click away. Although I have the standard issue pop-up blocker with Internet Explorer 6.0, I still get pop-ups at a lot of sites.
    Oh, and please promise me that you’ll never join the new trend of video ads – I’ve had to do some web surfing with my speakers off these days so I won’t get bombarded with this content.

    We do not allow popup ads on any EarthLink site. Some users call all ad banners “popups” but that actually refers to ads that open up either in a new popup window, or that hover over the top of the page, and we don’t allow those. We also do not allow video ads, or any ads that play sound without you clicking on them.
    Email Guy
  53. “Web Mail is one of the products that we offer free to everyone.”
    I am also confused at the concept that webmail is offered for free when I do pay earthlink a fee. Frankly I avoid checking earthlink’s webmail when I can because the ads annoy me as well as the fact that every now and then I have had difficulties logging into it from some locations. I’ve never had this issue with Gmail, and of course I don’t pay for that so I really can’t complain about the advertising. Their system looks better as well as being more organized. Storage space isn’t a problem. And again, I pay nothing for it. I don’t even use earthlink to connect to the net – the ONLY reason I still have my account is because of the number of contacts that know me at my email addresses that I’ve had for years. If I could consolidate and get everyone to use a single new address I would probably no longer be an earthlink customer. Eventually I will probably find a way to do this.

  54. I mind all the ads when I pay dearly for my monthly Earthlink DSL service.
    But what really drives me crazy are the ads that trigger security warnings from my browser at the security setting I have selected for my protection.
    “Do you want to allow software such as ActiveX controls and plug-ins to run?”
    Every click to a new page triggers one to two such warnings. On bad days, I get three warnings. Once in a while, there are no warnings but I am waiting for them to appear and click them off, so that unexpected relief is no relief at all…
    A regular visit to my web mail requires:
    Main page = 1 or 2 clicks to turn off warning
    Suspect Email = 1 or 2 clicks to turn off warning
    Move something to my Inbox & Add Contact = = 1 or 2 clicks to turn off warning
    Identify spam and click on report spam = 1 or 2 clicks to turn off warning
    Submit the Report Spam = 1 or 2 clicks to turn off warning
    Check my Inbox = = 1 or 2 clicks to turn off warning
    Identify a few messages I want to delete = 1 or 2 clicks to turn off warning
    Notice a spam message that snuck into my Inbox and click This is Spam = 1 or 2 clicks to turn off warning
    Submit the Report Spam = 1 or 2 clicks to turn off warning
    So, at an average of 1.5 clicks to turn off warnings, a normal visit to check my web mail requires 15 clicks to turn off warning boxes!!! This is absolutely obnoxious, especially in a paid service.
    At this point I would be relieved to just have ads I could ignore if they did not trigger a security warning in my computer.

    This means you don’t have Flash installed on your computer. Nowadays, this will prevent you from viewing many web sites. If you accept that prompt just once, it will never come up again.
    Email Guy

  55. Just wanted to join in against advertising in a paid monthly subscription.
    Just started using webmail because I’m tired of incomplete filtering and the SPAM reaching my POP client.
    There are still people on dialup and there are people with bandwith restrictions. Not everybody has 10 mbit unlimited broadband.
    But regardless of the connection, the ads are a nuisance, take up space, slow things down slightly to considerably, people don’t click through anyhow (or block seeing them, but you still are out of the screen real estate) and just plain & simple makes the user experience worse. Sure there is browser cache, but that ad still has to load the first time around; from a remote server.
    On top of that they break the secure https secure connection … with every page. Yes you can turn the warning off, but what’s the point?
    I am absolutely fine with one or more not-too-intrusive ads (no audio or video mainly) for a FREE email account. But, not when you pay $$/month. I sincerely hope Earthlink will not hijack the monthly price because of total access or webmail. I personally could care less about total-access and the other softwares. We just use the access number.
    You are the only provider that I know – out of a series in the past 10 years or so (because of moving, mergers, … and we usually have had two different accounts home/work) who serves advertising on every page of their web mail access.
    At least two things are guaranteed:
    – if people don’t like the service they start to reconsider and look elsewhere
    – if a service becomes more expensive, people start to shop around
    And, yes, some people will pay extra – premium for something, but, I also know as a member of a particular group of subscribers to one particular service (.mac $99/year for email, homepage, … without internet access) that there is a continuous influx of other services and every year many people evaluate what they’re paying for and what they’re using and getting for their dollar. I personally don’t consider raising the price a good idea. We would not pay extra and will get software to block those ad servers.
    Just my 2c.
    Maybe free earthlink web mail should just cease to exist if it hurts the bottom line? Too much bandwith & support, not enough ad revenue, serve ads to all earthlink subscribers type thing.

  56. Frankly, this is my biggest complaint about Earthlink. As an IT professional when asked what ISP I use I always have to say that if you plan on using a “webmail” service extensively you have to put up with ads. People are shocked – this isn’t NetZero, Hotmail or Gmail – and I won’t even mention the 100M limit imposed on mailbox size.
    Your company is not listening to YOUR current customers – they don’t want ads inserted into their paid services. As I have started using a 3G phone service I am even more frustrated by the additional bandwidth and screen real estate this wastes.
    Bottom line – your paid webmail services are not keeping up with the funcitionality and space limits of the free services (compared to Yahoo and even Gmail) and then you force us to endure ads that in comparison are often more instrusive.
    This is a short-sighted decision that will impact Earthlink negatively over the long run. Glad to see this post generating this kind of activity. I for one have been evaluating alternatives becuase of this issue and hope to move soon. This issue has made the pain of changing to a different email address worthwhile.

  57. I have read all the comments here and the original post. I have read all the lame responses from Email Guy. Don’t continue to feed us the line that webmail has to have ads for Earthlink subscribers. Increase our monthly fee and get rid of the ads for subscribers. I must confess that I am seriously looking for another ISP because of the webmail ads and having NO OPTION to get rid of them.

  58. When embarq brought DSL to our boonies we had no choice but to use Earthlink. I have found the ads to be one of several annoying things that I have to tolerate. While trying to resolve an issue an Embarq rep told me they would soon have their own in-house e-mail. it couldn’t happen soon enough for me.

  59. Rob – I understand and agree. The change over time has been in the content produced by advertisers, and fed through the ad services we use. We do provide them standards, and we do police them and have ads removed from the rotation. We allow some animation since just about all ads have that now; it has become a defacto standard. But we try to disallow anything that is highly distracting and irritating, or offensive, or in conflict with other standards we provide. For example, we banned the dancing silhouettes. A few snuck back in recently on one ad service, and we removed them again. We banned the rotting toenail ads used to promote a medication. We have banned ads for being too large in KB size. We banned some very provocative dating service ads. Any particular ad that gets specific complaints from users, gets my attention. I can’t make all animations go away. But I do try to keep it down to a tolerable level. If there are specific ones that are over the top, let me know.

  60. It is true that ads have been a part of Web Mail from the start, but those were static, silent ads. If I can’t freeze the stupid annoying ads that are now in place I will abandon use of Web Mail entirely. I have already stopped using the MyEarthlink page for the same reason. I’m paying a premium price for high speed service mainly because of the convenience of not having to change well established e-mail addresses. I rarely to never use other services you ballyhoo. If you can’t return to static, silent ads in WebMail I will begin to look for another service provider. All this dancing, blinking, winking trash on the site has become intolerable.

  61. I stumbled upon this blog after receiving an email response from Earthlink’s customer support regarding my request to turn off ads in Web Mail. You see, I’m a new customer, and I recently signed into Web Mail and found… ADS!!! I couldn’t believe it! I figured there had to be some sort of an error. After all, I’m not a freeloader. I’m a paying customer. So, I sent customer service an email to request that the ads be disabled in my account, and the reply went something like this, “We can’t turn off ads in Web Mail because it helps us generate revenue for features such as Total Access, the free antivirus/firewall software, Anonymous Email Addresses, WebLife…” What??? Isn’t that what we pay a steep monthly dial-up fee for??? Besides, I don’t/won’t even use any of those “features”. I use Windows DUN to connect, and the only “feature” I wanted to use was Web Mail on a single mailbox (I don’t use email clients). However, after finding out that Earthlink refuses to turn off ads in Web Mail at the request of a PAYING customer, I’m going to be cancelling my brand new Earthlink account. After all, I’d have to be a moron to pay to have ads shoved down my throat! In my opinion, there is no justification for subjecting paying users to ads. Even Hotmail and Yahoo have the decency to disable ads within their Web Mail once a customer upgrades from a free account to a paying account, and I don’t think very highly of either service. So, what does that say about Earthlink? It doesn’t say anything positive, that’s for sure, and, in the end, it’ll cost you customers.

  62. I am absolutley fed up with banner ads at the top of the screen which move or make noise. I want to get rid of them, they are distracting. No one at EL will help me. I just saw their $22 million loss for the quarter and wonder how much is the result of upset subscribers such as myself looking for other providers who don’t have this annoying stuff. If it were netzero, that’s OK, but $25/mo to be bombarded with dancing men is a disgrace. I NEVER click through anyway so why annoy me?

  63. Hi Craig – You are correct about the login page load order, and I’ve never meant to claim otherwise. Yes, that ad loads somewhere in the last half of the sequence and not dead last, and not after the login button image. I’m getting that fixed soon. But even on that page most browsers will render the entire page regardless of whether the ad frame populates or not, as frames (iFrame in this case) should load asynchronously. I understand you have an older system and that may not be the case.
    The discussion has mainly been around using Web Mail after login. It is very important to us that Web Mail behave as I describe. We certainly have no reason to mislead someone about this, and if we’ve not built it right, I’d certainly like to know. My interest is in making the product work as well as it can, other folks sell ads. As the product manager, I have to deal with the ads and make sure we do it in a way that is the least disruptive to the user experience as we possibly can. Your implication of deception is just plain wrong.
    As for the loading order of all other pages in Web Mail, there is code (javascript) in there that works for almost all users that makes sure the banner ad loads absolutely dead last, only after the full page is displayed. This works correctly with all browsers on Windows XP (including Netscape 7.2) and Mac OSX. There is a known issue with Opera discussed elsewhere in the blog that I won’t go into here.
    However, I went and checked your setup and found it to *not* be working correctly, just as you reported.
    I actually tested it on 98SE, not on Win2K (but will have that done too). It appears that the javascript behaves differently on older operating systems. So I’m really glad you reported this, and we’ll work on fixing it. We do still want to support users of older systems as much as possible, even though over 90% of our users have either Windows XP (or now Vista) or Mac OSX 10.3 or later, and all those do behave just as I’ve described, and do properly load the ads last.
    I can’t guarantee how soon or even for sure if we’ll get this fixed to work on older operating systems. Five years back is about the limit for full support in this business, as I’m sure you are probably painfully aware. You might want to use Internet Explorer in the meantime, as it will work correctly on Win2K and load the ads last. As you’ve shown and I confirmed, Netscape currently will not. I will try to get this fixed.

  64. Email Guy,
    You said at the start of this thread….
    “Advertisements shouldn’t slow down Web Mail, as they are programmed to always load last and all features are fully visible and usable without waiting for an advertisement to load. You can click any feature in the page and use it whether or not an advertisement has loaded, and you don’t have to wait.”
    I absoulutely disagree, you are being deceptive. *NEW* (ever-changing gif-file ads) do RE-LOAD last.
    To even log on to webmail, EVERYTHING, ads and all, MUST be loaded FIRST before the “Log in” button even appears. The login button loads dead LAST. If you try to type-ahead and enter email login info while the page is loading, it is a challenge as the page does not allow “focus” to stay at the text-boxes while it is loading.
    Once in webmail, the contents of the inbox loads LAST. The FIRST thing your code does is set the page up and then proceeds to fill it. The ads get loaded BEFORE even so much as the navigation clutter at the left side of the screen gets loaded.
    You ask about people’s systems so you can re-create the situation:
    I run Windows 2000 Pro, Netscape 7.2 (Netscape 7.2 because I can turn off the auto-update version checking).
    I too, like a few others reporting here, do not use Earthlink as my ISP, only for my email address. I use Cingular gprs and sometimes the Cingular Edge network so I really hate wating for your ads to finish appearing. I wouldn’t click an ad on a webmail page if it was for any 200 items of my choice free at eBay.
    Now how about telling everyone the true load sequence of webmail, the way it really happens, or, they can click
    “View” and then “Page Source” in Netscape and read the code for themselves and see that the ads really do get preferential treatment over our inbox.

  65. Kathleen – we do screen advertisers but that doesn’t mean we necessarily endorse them. Although unrelated to your complaint, the eFax ad will be removed from Web Mail next week.

  66. A word to the wise about thinking Earthlink screens advertisers and comes to your defense if you are scammed:
    Early on, I trained myself to ignore ads on the net. Traveling and completing a real estate transaction, I noticed an ad to try eFax “exclusive to Earthlink” for 30 days. Be aware they require your credit card, and I made the mistake of giving them a debit # as we only use credit cards for vehicle rentals. One week before the trial was to end, I removed the download from my notebook and went to their site to get the number to call them to cancel, as you are unable to view faxes on any computer that doesn’t have their proprietary software. You have to cancel on the web. But you can’t cancel. Instead, you are charged $6.95 for 90 days backdated to your original download. Now $7 is no big deal even for something I can’t use but they charge $.10 per page per minute for incoming faxes *and* you have no way to refuse faxes. Spam fax. I put the eFax server on my WebMail blocked sender list but if they sell their fax #s, I have no control over other domains/phone numbers coming in. And you can’t dispute a debit charge. I asked eFax to send a written statement there would be no future charges to my account but what I got was a carefully worded statement about monthly fees. Be careful out there, cowpokes !!

  67. I think you may still have problems with the way ads come through certain hookups. I use satellite, and I am having ever more frequent trouble, which seemed to start with the recent webmail “upgrades”. Tonite, for example, it took me 15 minutes (!) and multiple tries to read 3 messages. Symptom is usually the same–blank page – “ADVERTISEMENT” in the middle – “Done” in lower left corner of IE 6.0. Tonite, I was able to clear the problem and read the msgs by REPEATEDLY using back button to get back to inbox and reclick msg. Most of the time I had to be sure to wait until ALL ads loaded before reclicking inbox line–otherwise sat modems freeze up with green bar stopped at 4 to 5 dots. Tonite was better than normal, however. Many times since my return from Iraq/Kuwait last summer (where webmail proved very useful, thank you) I have been forced to restart browser, reboot, or even shut down and unplug sat modems to clear problems. The increasing unreliability of earthlink service has forced me to start looking for an alternate service. BTW, your non-English speaking tech support is useless–the best they offer is to help me set up a back-up dial-up account, which is the first thing I did when I subscribed years ago! Please check out the satellite-IE 6.0-Webmail combo. You might be surprised.

  68. Barry – here’s the main differences in the two plans as they exist today:
    Premium Email – http://www.earthlink.net/software/extras/premiummail/
    Same features you get with an access subscription (dialup or DSL) but with only two mailboxes, and the only way you can keep an existing email address if you drop your access subscription is to convert to this. This is what customer service would have offered you had you been in that situation in the past couple years.
    Free Email – https://fma.myaccount.earthlink.net/fma/register.jsp
    Does not include spamBlocker on High (Suspect Email blocking), and you can only sign up for a new address, you can’t convert an old one. Has limits on daily outbound messages, and sometime soon it will not allow POP access, and will be Web Mail only.
    We’re working on email classes-of-service and the differences in features may change

  69. Email Guy wrote Dec 2, 2006 1:56 PM: “I agree with you that the current Premium Mail offering, which costs less than an access subscription, should have the same ads-or-not-ads experience as regular subscribers….. Since we offer free email accounts, that service isn’t primarily for non-members to buy email as a stand-alone service, it is a type of account that subscribers can be converted to if they leave EarthLink, so that they keep their active mailbox. That is where virtually all of those accounts come from.” WHOA! hold on here! since when does earthlink offer free email???
    i’ve been with earthlink & it’s predecessors for about 10 years–first netcom then mindspring, via dialup. in 12/00 i got comcast cable as my new ISP. (i’d switch to earthlink cable if it were to be offered here, but i doubt than comcast will be offering earthlink cable anywhere else in the country not yet offered.) at that time i was told that the only way to retain my netcom address was to switch to a limited access plan for dialup. since then i’ve been paying $6.95/mo to earthlink for a dialup service i haven’t used in over 5 years. a couple years ago, when earthlink finally got on the band wagon and increased our storage space from 10mb to 100mb, i was told that it would cost me a little more each month to exceed 100mb. so now i’m paying $8.90/mo for dialup (never used) and a 200mb mailbox for my 1 netcom address, and 100mb for my 1 mindspring (springmail) address.
    now from the post above i read of free email accounts for those of us who no longer use dialup thru earthlink! when did this come about? we were never notified.
    so my main question now is, can i switch from my $8.90/mo 200mb storage on netcom and 100mb storage on mindspring/springmail, to the free program without dialup, and still keep both addresses with both size storage and retain everything stored on your servers under those 2 addresses? or free + $1.95 for an extra 100mb?
    the free program appears to be for new @earthlink.net addresses, so i’d probably be required to buy the premium nonmember product to retain existing netcom/springmail addresses–i assume.
    the http://www.earthlink.net/software/extras/premiummail/ for nonmember premium mail doesn’t say. and registering for the premium nonmember plan doesn’t give the option at registration to upgrade to 200mb (‘shop for other items’ doesn’t lead to larger mailbox storage options similar to what’s available to upgrade to in our account page) for an existing account that’s using >100mb right now.
    switching my plan from the current $6.95 + 1.95 to premium nonmember $3.95 + 1.95 is a savings of $36/yr. buying a year in advance saves even more. getting free + $1.95 saves even more. since i haven’t needed the dialup option for >5 yrs and you now offer free email, it’s time to consider switching.
    boy, i’m glad i discovered these blogs today–via an email reply to my feedback sent last nite when i experienced my 1st email problem in years.

  70. Scott – I appreciate your feedback and understand your complaint. Your account fee pays for a number of things, and one of those is the freedom to choose any email software you like for accessing your mailbox. Web Mail is one convenient way to do this, but most of the other ways you might choose would not have advertisements (Outlook Express, EarthLink Mailbox, Thunderbird, etc.). If you feel that strongly about it, those may be better choices for you. Web Mail is a convenient choice that is available to all users both free and paid, and we don’t currently differentiate the experience.

  71. “Advertisements generate revenue that helps us continue to invest in our web mail application.”
    This is where I have a problem. Do I not pay over $40/month for my internet service? That is your revenue right there. If this were a free email service, I would expect their to be ads and would not complain. However, I pay a pretty penny every month for this email address and SHOULD NOT be forced to look at spam.
    This is the exact reason why I am cancelling my earthlink account. It sounds extreme, but I went with earthlink as opposed to our local cable company because I could get an email that wasn’t @cfl.rr.com. Now that gmail has come around, goodbye earthlink and your invasive ads. How about that for generating revenue?

  72. I understand why there are ads, but could you possibly please arrange not to use ads that flash rapidly? They’re extremely distracting, make it difficult to read one’s email, and for me at least, cause headaches. Thanks.

  73. in response to greg: I “HAVE” to use webmail because I travell to multiple companies and may be on a different machine a lot so i have almost 3 years of both business email (my company forwards to my earthlink account) and personal email available to me wherever i go. I COULD use gmail instead but i need the dial up access for when i travel and Im using my laptop. On some machines that dont have flash block or on slower machines the ads make it VERY slow to load and sometimes you have to hit refresh several times because some ads are worse than others (cause spyware and security alarms to go off)

  74. I definitely have to agree that customers who pay for their e-mail service should not be subjected to advertising. If the service was free for users, then advertising would be expected. Placing advertisements on a paid service seems like sheer greed to me, and sheer disregard for the customer. I ignore the ads, most of the time, by using POP3. When I do have to log into the web site, the obnoxious ads make me want to go elsewhere. I would never use the services of the companies who advertise in such a bothersome way.

  75. Use Firefox with the flashblock extension.
    You’ll never see Earthlink SPAM in your webmail (and NO, a paying customer shouldnt have SPAM forced on them….especially annoying flash SPAM)

  76. I pay $40 per mo at times for this service. I have had my computer lock up with the ads and also have lost valuable time and data/wording when the ads reload and cause my computer to behave oddly losing the message. The ads have caused the cursor to jump ‘elsewhere’ in my message, highlighted the message or just plain dumped it — do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to jail! Hitting the back button does not return the text, nor does edit allow for “undo.”
    I pay premium rates and expect to NOT see ads. If you, as stated offer freemail to others, then make the distinction. If I wanted to continue with free mail and put up with ads to pay for it… I would only have Juno Accounts! (or do they still work that way?)
    I have kept Earthlink in order to keep my now ancient and very widespread email address (a netcom.com addy). There are other services that cost less and even those with no webmail ads and tech services in the USA. If I can keep my email address and move on… please tell me how. If I have to put up with ads either way…. well … I could save that $40 per month!
    Gmail has a wonderful system to handle email. The ads and the format do not lock up my system, nor lose any of my work.

  77. Red – we do not offer the option to turn off advertisements on request. We are considering some tiered email services that may introduce this option for a small premium.

  78. I may be speaking out of context here but – If your a paying account holder at earthlink or affiliate you can call up technical support for email and they will remove the AD’s on the page for you, but only if you ask them to. I agree with most here in saying it’s annoying and we don’t seem to have an option to deselect it even as paying customers, you should still be able to request it be gone.
    I hear email guy in saying it helps offset the email cost but then again there are some large scale noted free email based systems (that I wont mention here) which do offer the ability to opt out and set it in their preferences to be gone. The difference is their systems are free because they collect demographics (sex, age, style, subject matter, preferences, etc) and do sell it to other businesses (marketing) that’s how they stay in business and are free. Those systems won’t sell your name, but you are considerd in part of the statistics, your part of the fold, or collective (H’mmm – the collective – that one sounds familiar – where have I heard that one before).

  79. I appreciate the followup to the Ad banners question. I might have been the one who asked the question in the first place. Jame’s thoughtful post speaks volumes. As for myself, even though I have a cable connection, I have a dial-up account (original Mindspring customer) that I use for back-up and a Web host account. That is $40+/month that I shell out to Earthlink. And I think that price should buy some shelter from the obtrusive commercial experience that the Internet has become. Will it make me go away? Probably not right now…but it’s in the back of my mind.
    A minor side note…I cancelled our subscription to our local paper because they started placing advertising stickers on the front page of each day’s delivered paper. I found that incredibly distasteful and obtrusive.
    Anyow, I am glad I could access web mail via my web host account and I hope the product continues to improve. And this blog and the response is terrific.

  80. Thanks for the reply, but the slow computer has been given away and I won’t be using it for Web Mail. But I could still go to that computer and follow your instructions if you are interested.

  81. Joe – the only way I can think of that this would be possible is that you have an older version of the Web Mail code cached in your browser. Please delete the temporary files in your browser to clear that up. In IE6 you click Tools / Internet Options and on the General tab click on Delete Files. I’m going to contact you directly to find out how this could happen.

  82. I always get the ads before anything else. I’m using IE 6.0 and am using a cable internet connection. I have two computers that I use and on the slower one it is very obvious that the ad displays well before the mail list. Sometimes the mail list is so slow to show that I will “refresh” the screen.

  83. To those of you complaining about ads in WebMail, recommend you use Firefox + the Adblocker extension. I don’t see the ads, didn’t even know it had ’em.

  84. My sincere apologies. You are absolutely right. The ad DOES play at the end.
    Now I’m wondering just what the heck I was referring to when I wrote that.
    Did an earlier version of Earthlink play the ad first? I guess I’m getting
    old and fruity.

  85. James – thanks for your very thoughtful and complete comments on this subject. Just a couple quick responses:

    • Yes, we have been considering for some time a way to offer ad-free Web Mail to subscribers, perhaps for a small premium. We’re working on email “classes-of-service” that will have tiers, including one that will likely be without ads. I can’t promise how soon this will roll out.
    • I agree with you that the current Premium Mail offering, which costs less than an access subscription, should have the same ads-or-not-ads experience as regular subscribers. My superiors are in agreement with me on this, and we will probably turn them on for new users of that product real soon (probably not what you wanted to hear). Since we offer free email accounts, that service isn’t primarily for non-members to buy email as a stand-alone service, it is a type of account that subscribers can be converted to if they leave EarthLink, so that they keep their active mailbox. That is where virtually all of those accounts come from. Which makes the logic of turning off the ads for users who already had them, even more twisted than you thought.
    • Lastly, as for ads using up bandwidth, I still must disagree, as that is background bandwidth only, and only consumed when you are idle, and thus transparent to the user. As soon as you click on anything to go to a new view, any pending or incoming ads or other requests are cancelled and discarded, and the new page you requested then loads without any ad bandwidth being used, and only after it completes does a new ad begin loading. This isn’t “self-generated hype” as you describe, we have a genuine concern for absolutely making this work right so that the speed of using the application is not affected at all by advertisements.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.

  86. From an EarthLink corporate standpoint, I fully understand the argument for including advertisements in Webmail (and other EarthLink-controlled sites such as the Start Page). You generate more revenue that goes to the bottom line, and that revenue does help you invest in the user experience. In the same vein, when I watch “free” network TV, I can’t argue against TV commercials because I know that’s what pays for the programming. But when I choose to subscribe to a premium cable channel, *I’m* paying for the programming, and I don’t expect to see ads. But regardless, every dollar of revenue (whether from subscriptions or advertising) goes to the bottom line and helps deliver what users expect.
    From an EarthLink user standpoint I fully understand the arguments against webmail ads. They’re annoying, obtrusive, they take up screen space (particularly noticeable if one uses a lower screen resolution), and based on some of the earlier posts it appears for some, they slow down the access to their mail. And let’s get real and quit believing the self-generated hype – the argument that “the ads load last” doesn’t really wash with me because if you’re in webmail and clicking around from message to message and folder to folder, then that process is still going to be slowed because bandwidth is being eaten up by repeated contacts made to the ad servers.
    Interestingly, if a non-member subscribes to a service called “EarthLink Premium Mail” for $3.95/month – http://www.earthlink.net/software/extras/premiummail/ – that service is specifically advertised as ad free. That means, in a nutshell, that EarthLink can easily serve up an ad-free webmail experience, but just not for everybody. It also means that somewhere in the corporate halls of EarthLink some marketing wonk once recognized that serving up an ad-free webmail experience *IS* a marketable benefit to sell (in this case, to non-members). So essentially you’re selling non-members who pay less than 4 bucks a month a slightly better webmail experience, but you’re not offering paying access members who pay $20 or $30 or $40 or more a month the same choice. I don’t think I need to really point out the twisted logic of that.
    The point of my argument is essentially EarthLink has always stood for providing users choices in their overall Internet experience. You can use the TotalAccess software (or not). You can use the basic spam blocking at its lowest level (or not). You can use the suspect mail blocking feature (or not). You can use virus blocker (or not). And yes, you can use Webmail, or you can use any number of alternative programs for accessing your mail. But the underlying theme is you’re offering choices.
    It would be interesting to know an estimate of how much revenue EarthLink generates per year per user from serving ads on webmail pages. A few dollars? Is a few dollars revenue worth aggravating customers who are already paying you for Internet access, customers who tend to be very loyal to you, customers who you need to go out of your way to please? One site I personally use every day (probably about as much as I use webmail) offers its users the option of paying them $10 a year for an ad-free experience – http://www.wunderground.com/members/signup.asp. And in addition to no ads, for the $10 you get a slightly enhanced service, i.e., better radar loops. I can’t speak for the majority, but I’d happily fork over to EarthLink an extra $10 a year just to not see any ads on EarthLink-owned sites and services, i.e., webmail, the start page, weblife, etc.
    EarthLink has always stood for offering users choices – it’s in your corporate DNA, and it’s weaved into the statements in your mission, purpose, and core values and beliefs – http://www.earthlink.net/about/cvb/. Could you please figure out a coherent and fair way to make an ad-free EarthLink experience a choice as well?

  87. Cathy and George – I’ve gone back and tested this with several browsers to make sure it behaves the way we want it to. I also used a tool to slow my connection down to a crawl to be sure of seeing exactly the order in which things load, and a network tracing tool to be sure of when things get requested from the server. When you first log in to Web Mail, you may get a blank page for a moment, that has the word “Advertisement” on it in the place where the banner will be shown. Then the message listing and the folder panel loads. Then the banner advertisement only gets requested last after everything else is visible and working. I think that the word “advertisement” coming up first is giving the impression that it is holding things up. I’m going to see about getting that changed so the first thing you see is your message list. One thing you can do to speed up the page load is make sure under Preferences you have the messages-per-page setting to 10 or 20. If you move it up to higher numbers the page will be a lot slower to appear while all those messages are fetched.

  88. I agree with George, I have dial up through earthlink and verizon (phone service) and I don’t get anything until the advertisements are up…15 seconds hah! sometimes it’s longer than that depending upon the speed of the dial up which is often slow…I live in the boondocks where it’s practically the only way to get internet connections!

  89. George – what browser and OS are you using? In our tests this doesn’t happen. We definitely don’t want to have the behavior you describe, so I want to test it with your environment and fix it if we can.

  90. “Advertisements don’t slow down Web Mail, as they are programmed to always load last and all features are fully visible and usable without waiting for an advertisement to load”
    Got a big difference of opinion there email guy. I use dialup, and nothing, and I mean nothing shows until the ad plays. Sometimes I have to wait 15 seconds before your doubleclick feeder goes through.

  91. I still believe as a paying customer I should have the OPTION to turn these ads off. They are little better than spam and I object to it. There are plenty of internet services that are less expensive than Earthlink, but I have chosen to stay with Earthlink even when you bought out Mindspring.
    Sheesh, even my freemail box at YAHOO does not have banner ads. Think about it.

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