How Holy is your Email Space?

As in, a place that is special, important, and private to you. A place where outside influence isn’t really welcome. A place where you don’t expect change or surprises.

I’d say the answer is “pretty darn holy” for anyone that takes email cryptography seriously. And I say that just because it means doing some pretty heavy setup work around your process of reading and sending email. It’s no longer something you’re just casually doing. If someone came along and messed with it, you’d be displeased. (Speaking of cryptography, I’ve got a link here that you might be interested in: Off-The-Record Messaging by Robert Heaton.)

For someone who checks their free AOL Mail once a week, eh, maybe not so holy.

I’m thinking about this after seeing how vocally displeased people have been about a recent shift in Gmail ads.

As a person who works very hard to keep my email in check, I am absolutely INCENSED that Gmail is just putting random ads in my inbox now???


Ads in Gmail are at least 10 years old, but the fact that a lot of people are noticing is because I think there is just… more of them, and in new places like apparently sometimes right in the middle of a list of emails.

If you’ve never seen them (I haven’t) word is that it’s probably because you don’t use “tabs”, as in, you have these things off:

That’s why I’m thinking about, for lack of a better term, the holiness of the email space. You’re only pissed about this if you really care about your email space. If you think intrusions upon it are unwarrented and unjustified. This is my space, don’t mess with it.

This situation people feeling upset with their email service feels like one of those “who is the customer here? me? or advertisers?” situations. It’s both. I pay Google for storage and whatnot, making me a customer, and even if I didn’t if they didn’t treat me like a customer in general they wouldn’t have a product. But money comes from the advertisers too making them the customer and me the product, to a degree. That’s tough to juggle.

When the who-is-the-customer is more aligned toward paying users, it’s possible (likely, really) that the product is more user-focused. Products like Superhuman seem to benefit from this. I imagine lovers of Superhuman feel like it’s a bit of a holy place for them:


Superhuman didn’t click with me the first time around, but these fellas aren’t going to wake up to new unwanted ad placements in their email editor, and there is certainly value in that.

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