Free Email Services: Worth the Money?

Every small to medium business owner has gone through the brand building and ramping up process to bring their business to a point of profitability. While they may have minimized expenses and utilized low-cost or even free technology solutions early in the game, one place where businesses that are looking to build a brand and maximize their sales and revenue should never cut corners is on their email services. While it may be a tempting prospect to pay nothing to have an email address, we here at Apex Technology assure you that the costs you will pay in the long run far outweigh the short-term savings and benefits. In this blog, we’re going to break down how free email services will hurt your business over time, and why it’s worth investing in a tailored email solution such as our MailMAX managed email messaging and archiving solution.  


The Hidden Costs of “Free”

Free email services have a long and storied history on the Internet, stretching as far back as AOL and Yahoo. Today, those providers are still in business, joined by countless other services including Google’s Gmail, Zoho mail, Microsoft’s rebranded Hotmail service taking a new form as a free Outlook service, and Apple’s iCloud mail. Surely, these services offer convenient web-based email solutions and often tout an array of benefits and features that are great for your day-to-day email needs – paying bills, communicating with schools, or other organizations you might deal with on a regular basis, and other common essential communications. However, if you attempt to use one of these free services in your day-to-day business, you could be hurting your business and losing more money than you’re saving on the bottom line.  

Security Concerns

Free email servers attract a wide range of users, and their databases are often considered high-value targets by hacking groups. In 2015, security experts discovered that the login credentials of more than 270 million stolen email accounts from services ranging from Google to Yahoo and Microsoft, as well as a free Russian email service, were being circulated for sale on the dark web. In 2018, 600,000 users with accounts on the free email service were compromised, with databases including usernames, passwords, and attachments left vulnerable by loopholes in the email’s software infrastructure. The responsible party attempted to allow the company to pay a bounty for the breach information, and later extorted the firm for money. When the company refused to address the hackers directly, the information was put up for sale on the dark web. 

While some of these accounts were personal and compromised personal details of the users, there’s a chance that a large portion of the compromised accounts could belong to businesses. Think about the sensitive data you need to communicate to customers on a regular basis and how damaging it could be if that information were compromised in any because you’ve opted for a free service provider instead of investing in a service with built-in security features. 

Lack of Business Credibility

You want to put your best face forward when it comes to business communications. Taking the time to craft and send out top-notch marketing emails to generate leads and build sales will be wasted effort if you send these emails from free, unbranded services. Sending business email from free domains tells customers either your business cannot afford a domain name, website, or associated email, you’re careless and sent an email from a personal account instead of a business account, you haven’t made your brand a priority, or that you’re not concerned with privacy. While you might find some clients willing to do business with you, over time you’ll lose out on more customers than you’ll gain.  

Email-Related Services Won’t Take You Seriously, Either

Many businesses configure their internal email systems to at best filter emails sent from free domains into Spam or Junk folders; at worst, your email won’t be accepted by the recipient’s email server and your marketing material will never reach them. You’ll also either be unable to take full advantage of and possibly not be allowed to even use powerful email marketing services. Mailchimp has an entire page dedicated to the pitfalls of using a free domain and why they can’t guarantee the effectiveness of their services if you insist on utilizing them with an email address sourced from a free domain. 

Invest In Your Email and Reap the Rewards

At Apex Technology, we understand trying to run a business within your budgeted constraints. As a small business IT solutions provider in Charlotte, we want to help our clients get the most value from our managed services. By leveraging our MailMAX email and collaboration solution, our clients get access to a full suite of business tools as well as the assurance and peace of mind that they’ll be taken seriously by clients and be just as equally protected on the backend with reliable webmail access protected against security threats. Learn more about this and other services we provide to our clients at affordable rates and bring your small business’s IT up to speed.