Bye-bye .Mac

Back in the year 2000, Apple put out a free service called iTools. It was pretty amazing, but of course it was just a way to get us addicted to the service so that they could turn around and make a lot of money with it. Thus, 2 years later the .Mac service was born and it was pretty good. For $49, you got some web storage, an email account and webmail, web page space and an online web page editor, backup and a few other goodies. Later, more space was provided, a virus checker was thrown in and they doubled the price to $99.

I was ok with this for a few years because the concept is really great and it did provide convenience. Unfortunately, .Mac webmail has never had spam filtering. My account got to an average of about 99.5% spam messages per day a couple of years ago, so I stopped using the mail account. (Apple's workaround suggests usng the Mail program. Since I work mostly with PCs, that was not going to happen.) I'd made the mistake of talking my wife into using .Mac and for an extra $10 a year, she was getting her email on her PC via Outlook and we were getting more dependent on the service as time went on. Last year, she started having problems with her account password getting messed up and we had to reset it about 4 or 5 times. Annoying.

With my September 30 renewal deadline approaching, I made the decision to pull the plug. I felt bad asking my wife to change her email again, but she was glad to have us save $110/yr. Unfortunately, we both had to go through the hassle of notifying friends of the change and modifying contact info on all those websites where we record our info.

I contacted .Mac support to leave some parting comments and they informed me that is getting some much-needed changes. No launch date has been announced, but I'm sure Steve Jobs will show it off on some stage really soon. (All I know is that he'll be wearing blue jeans and a black turtleneck.) I'm not sure if a spam filter is included, but if it's not, they're absolutely crazy. Too bad they've not been really good at announcing these changes.

Still, I have no regrets and I'm still glad I dropped .Mac. These changes should have come a lot sooner and I feel the service isn't worth $99 anymore, now with free services like Gmail, Googlepages and MediaMax as well as with all the free photosharing services out there. The iDisk service was always so slow. MediaMax is much faster and offers 25 GB of free storage!

I'm not the only one who thinks .Mac needs a makeover. (Good comments follow.) I like the idea of Apple offering a .Mac "lite" option for $39/yr, especially now that they dumped Virex support. They really owe everyone who bought the .Mac service a rebate for that alone!