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20 August 2006

Crowdsourcing the world's best email service

I've been looking around for a decent e-mail provider for a while. I haven't found one. Well, I have in parts but not all in the same place at the same time. So I thought, why not crowdsource this idea and build one?


Thunderbird has proven that open source can take on Microsoft as an email client.

SpamAssassin has proven that open source can take on spam.

There is I believe a gap in the market for high quality email services to individuals. The major corporate anti-spam players do not serve the individual user. Many ISPs roll their own solution with mixed results. The GUI to many mail systems is also of variable quality. Email has a vast user base. Even if there is a great solution out there, few seem to know about it.


My ideal solution would have:
  1. A great user interface, at least as good as atmail for Firefox

  2. A great anti-spam solution based around spamassasin rules and avoiding
  3. challenge-response. As good as barracuda who appear to be the market leader (possibly with barracuda or roaringpenguin or similar as the engine)
  4. POP3, SMTP and IMAP access. Especially IMAP for speedy access to 'held' mail from a mail client. No slow websites when you're using your mail client!

  5. The ability for users to set their own spam threshold since a Doctor working in sexual health is likely to have a different spam threshold to a parent wanting to control their children's email. Similarly if you are actually researching spam, being able to discuss spam without said mail being blocked is problematic.

  6. Signing of important mail to pre-clear it through spam filters. This is important for at least two classes of mail. One is legal/business critical mail which must get through without delay. The other is where there is a financial penalty if the mail is undelivered.

  7. Auto-whitelisting any email address you send to, so that I don't send someone a mail and then a reply from them is held.

  8. A semi-reasonable ability to detect forged email addresses so that even if I whitelist an address, really what I am doing is whitelisting that mail address when sent from that company's servers and not the same address as forged by a spammer.

  9. A demo of the user interface that you can play with to get a feel for it before you sign up

  10. To keep my existing email addres and domains and to be able to send and receive email using my existing email addresses.

  11. Free from advertising, or I can opt into advertising and get a share of the advertising revenue.

Way forward

So what would the world's best email comprise and how much would you be prepared to pay for it? Perhaps it could be branded and franchised to e-mail hosting companies. Is there anything out there already that matches these requirements? I've looked at Gmail but it doesn't do much for me.

I asked those folks over at Cambrian House to see if they can build one. The link is below.

Support My Idea at Cambrian House Please support this idea at Cambrian House.

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