As you may well imagine, my business email address finds it’s way into many customer address books. It’s printed on my business cards, letterhead, invoices and even this blog site. I prefer to receive minor inquiries from customers via electronic mail. It allows me to respond at less busy times of the day, and keeps our phones open for more important issues, such as spoofed calls from “Angie”, the recorded voice who wants to talk to me about my credit card…..4 or 5 times a day. However, recent events have me rethinking this business strategy.
In January of this year, Yahoo Mail suffered yet another major hack, and a couple days ago, AOL finally confessed to another mail hack. Ordinarily, these frequent Yahoo and AOL follies are good for business. A customer learns that everyone in their address book is being spammed, from their email account, and freaks out thinking their PC has been infiltrated by nefarious sources intent on making their lives miserable, or worse, spying on their internet histories. Our standard advice to these people consists of 1.) change your email password, and 2.) consider ditching Yahoo or AOL as email clients. The first piece of advice is the one and only suggestion given by both Yahoo and AOL every time this occurs. The second, remarkably, is never mentioned. Suffice it to say, that a changed password rarely solves the problem and inevitably, the machine ends up here for a thorough cleaning & virus check. Thus, business, courtesy of Yahoo & AOL.
But, enough is enough. Since the beginning of the year, our spam box has been working overtime. Inundated with messages like this: (Disclaimer: Links have been altered to save the innocents.)
“Hi! News: http://blog.dincwear.eu/tvmb/view.php”
I’m at a total loss to understand how, after having their email accounts compromised numerous times, people still insist on maintaining their Yahoo or AOL accounts. There are several other options out there folks. Outlook.com via Microsoft and GMail from Google, are two free, viable alternatives. And there are others. You just need look, or ask.
I’m even more incredulous when I encounter these issues with professional people. Some of whom are in the business of networking extensively, and moving a lot of money around daily. Is an AOL email really what you want? Studies over the years have shown that AOL and Hotmail accounts are considered the least professional.
Going forward, I’ll no longer have advice for those unable, or unwilling to trash these two antediluvian mail services. I’m just going to smile (smirk), say yes, your PC must have been taken over by terrorists, and then charge you to eradicate the meanies.