Free email services are not suited for consignment-store businesses. They are limited in resources and often perform well below required commercial standards.

Most free services limit the size of files that can be attached to emails. Stores have the occasion to send large data files over the air waves and the 2MB limitations of some services fall way short of the required bandwidth for the transmissions. (Gmail does allow 25MB.)

Free services frequently misdirect good emails to the trash, junk or spam folders, and they often block or drop vital messages sent to your business. They also don't put much effort into protecting against spam which is why all links (that work in other email programs) don't work - as blanket protection against clicking on something that might bring Evil Knievel down on your motherboard.

In the early days websites learned that giving freebies away was a way to attract and retain website visitors so sites like AOL, MSN and Yahoo promoted 'free email accounts'. Most people who rushed to sign up didn't know about and didn't care about message or attachment-size limitations, and in exchange for the freebie, they had some tolerance for an occasional message gone missing, links that wouldn't work, lost attachments spamultuous [new word] advertising.

The free-email platforms haven't improved all that much, save perhaps Google's Gmail so if your motto is "If it's for free it's for me!" then Gmail may be the best choice and most suitable for business email purposes.

In exchange for displayed ads, Google allows for 15GB of storage and consignment stores should take advantage of this by learning how to upload their precious data files to this free destination - just to serve as yet another backup just in case all else goes wrong locally.

To store files on Google, use Google Drive. It's easy. Just drag files and folders on your computer to the Google Drive folder and Google does the rest. If this service is set to start when the computer starts, then Google will sync PC files/folders with files/folders on your computer every day.

Providers of free email programs place limitations (understandably, to save on bandwidth) and offer upgrades (to no surprise) if a feature is needed (like POP or IMAP, email forwarding, or just getting rid of the ads). Paying for additional services won't necessarily improve the basic performance of the software however.

Better Free Email

Search for free email services and look for domain names like GMX, Fastmail, Inbox and (a 1and1 offering). Many of these services will play the same games with limitations but the basic services might be more reliable with fewer limitations. Attachments and emails should arrive as intended and the services can be used to transmit and receive reasonably large files.

If you would like to continue to use your current web-based email program, please enter and the domain name,, in your program's 'safe-sender list' or 'white list'. It could be named something else like 'approved-senders list' or 'let them live list'.

The mega-important point is that your business must have an open dependable line of email communication with your business partners. After all, email these days is tantamount to 911 on your phone - almost.

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