Friday, December 01, 2006

Is email finally failing?

Cringely tells us Earthlink's been dropping large volumes of incoming email -- and has kept that secret from their customers.
I, Cringely . The Pulpit . In a Jam | PBS

... The trend continued so my friend, who has long been in the networking business, himself, started running experiments. He sent messages from other accounts to his Earthlink address, to his aliased Blackberry address, and to his Gmail account. For every 10 messages sent, 1-2 arrived in his Earthlink mailbox, 1-2 (not necessarily the SAME 1-2) on his Blackberry, and all 10 arrived with Gmail.

Swimming upstream through Earthlink customer support, my buddy finally found a technical contact who freely acknowledged the problem. Since June, he was told, Earthlink's mail system has been so overloaded that some users have been missing up to 90 percent of their incoming e-mail. It isn't bounced back to senders; it just disappears. And Earthlink hasn't mentioned the problem to these affected customers unless they complain. The two groups affected are those who get their mail with an Earthlink-hosted domain and those with aliased e-mail addresses like my friend's Blackberry.
Earthlink is clearly an ISP to avoid -- they've been going downhill for years. What I find more interesting is that this might be a leading indicator that our email/ISP infrastructure may be failing. Email's been in a bad way for years, maybe we're reaching the end of 'business as usual'.

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