Email Statistics Report

This company The Radicati Group, Inc. produces “quantitative and qualitative research on email, security, instant messaging, social networking, information archiving, regulatory compliance, wireless technologies, web technologies, unified communications, and more.” Looks like one report will run ya about $7,500, but they publish summaries, including the email one. It has some interesting stuff in it:

In 2015, the number of worldwide email users will be nearly 2.6 billion. By the end of 2019, the number of worldwide email users will increase to over 2.9 billion. Over one-third of the worldwide population will be using email by year-end 2019.

Over the next four years, the average number of email accounts per user ratio will grow from an average of 1.7 accounts per user to an average of 1.9 accounts per user

As in, most people have 2 email addresses.

In 2015, the number of business emails sent and received per user per day totals 122 emails per day. This figure continues to show growth and is expected to average 126 messages sent and received per business user by the end of 2019.

They say “consumer email” continues to grow as well, but mostly because of stuff like notifications and not so much “interpersonal communication.”

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

Quinn Norton for the Atlantic:

Email has changed since [the 1970s], but not much. Most of what’s changed in the last 45 years is email clients—the software we use to access email. They’ve clumsily bolted on new functionality onto the old email, without fixing any of the underlying protocols to support that functionality.

The article is mostly about the efail stuff and how it’s apparently inherently bad that email can be HTML because it brings the vulnerabilities of web browsers to email clients. Fair point. Pretty impressive that those protocols and such haven’t changed for half a century. What’s the HTTP/2 of emails going to be?

How much is email worth to you?

Fascinating little 10-minute podcast from Planet Money’s The Indicator that put a data-driven dollar value on some of the biggest internet services.

When economist Tim Harford was planning a trip to China, he realized he would not be able to access a lot of the online services he has come to rely on: no email, no maps, no internet search. He started to wonder what the value was for these services and he came across a study that look at just that: It put a dollar amount on how much these services are worth to us.

The least valuable to people? Social Media. The most? Search. Second place? Email.

Should I just get a new email address?

This seems like the nuclear option! Your email is so out of control that you literally give up and start over completely fresh. This might be fine for Beyoncé, but her success seems a little more locked in that yours or mine. 

This also seems awful dangerous to me. How many people are going to continue to send emails into the ether after you’ve made the switch? How many left hanging who already have? How many bills you’ve forgotten to pay lost in there?

Setting up an autoresponder telling people you’ve changed it is a possibility, but then what are you gaining by switching at all? 

The way I’ve seen it most commonly done is to essentially split your email. You create a new one that is your new squeaky clean email universe. Perhaps you email all the most important people in your life to tell them about it, and some small percentage of them notice and care. But then you also keep checking your old email address, because of course important stuff still pops up in there. The fix has become more work than the solution. 

Without having done any deep research here, I’d suggest not going nuclear with a new email. Fight that fight and clean up that existing email so it’s useful to you again. It’s a battle of unsubscribes and even filtering if necessary, but it can be done and you’re left with a stronger email history. Remember it doesn’t have to be done overnight.

It’s like a publication on the web. When they want to make big changes, they make big changes to the site they already have, they don’t get a new URL. Too much SEO value with the old one. 

GDPR Emails

Everybody is getting pounded with emails from apps that are changing their privacy policy or doing things like re-validating their marketing email lists. But I think I’ve read more joke tweets about it than actual emails!

https://twitter.com/fart/status/999414307417812992

MailPlane and Boxy for Inbox are Broken. Shift Working!

I’ve been using Mailplane for a long time. It’s just a wrapper for Gmail/Inbox, which is perfect. That’s what i like, web clients with native wrappers.

The Inbox tabs I use have been broken all morning. I figured it was something funky with my internet or VPN, but it turns out it’s straight up broken.

It looks like Google Inbox stopped working in browsers which don’t support a new technology called “Service Workers”. Feel free to let them know via their “Send feedback” functionality. The more reports they get the more likely it will get fixed, if it wasn’t by intention. We’ll try to find a way around it but we can’t make any promises yet. I’m sorry but in the meantime we can only suggest to either use Gmail in Mailplane or Google Inbox in your default browser.

So they use a browser rendering engine internally that doesn’t support Service Workers. I guess that’s a little scary since the support for Service Workers is pretty broad.

Boxy 2 is broken too, as it must use the same rendering engine.

Good news: Shift is also a native app Gmail wrapper, and is based on Chrome, so it’s working fine. Plus it supports extensions, so if you’re a fan of stuff like Grammarly, like me, that’s a big step up.

I’m hoping I love Shift because I’m switching right now.

Encrypted Email and Security Nihilism

Daniel Kahn Gillmor, reporting on the whole EFAIL thing (short story: even encrypted email isn’t truly safe):

Unfortunately, many of the responses to this report have been close to the line of “security nihilism:” Throwing your hands in the air and saying that because certain important security measures aren’t perfect, we should abandon them altogether. This is harsh and potentially damaging to the best efforts we currently have to protect email and risks leading people astray when it comes to securing their communications.

Personally, I’ve never bothered with encrypted email. As a Gmail user, I’m pretty meh about the fact that Google “reads” it to deliver me contextual ads. I own zero tin foil hats. If you’d like to use me as anecdotal evidence, I’m a decade and a half in and nothing weird/bad has ever happened to my Gmail account.

But I am bullish on general security best practices. You really should have 2FA turned on if you can and have a very secure email password that you change somewhat regularly. If someone gets into your email account, that’s extraordinarily bad. It’s like they have access to every single service you use (that doesn’t use 2FA).