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Ad-Free Web Mail option now available - 06/12/08

From: Email Guy
Subject:       Ad-Free Web Mail option now available
Date: June 12, 2008 8:28 AM
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Yesterday we added a new option to allow Ad-Free Web Mail for any account.

Click on MyAccount at the top of any EarthLink page and log in there using your master account or primary email address. Then on the left side of the page click on "My Plan Details".


You'll then see all your upgrade options displayed on the right, and Ad-Free Web Mail is the first one at the top. Just click on Enable or on More Info and follow the instructions.


Regular readers of the blog know this is something I've been working on for a while but didn't have specifics of how it would ultimately come out. Many users have asked for this option and have been eagerly waiting for it. I got you the best deal I could (details below), and I know many users will find it attractive. EarthLink allows you the freedom to access your mailbox using any email software of the your choosing, and Web Mail is one convenient way to manage your email. Web Mail doesn't require you to install any software and it can be accessed from any computer and any browser. But Web Mail has always displayed banner advertising and some users object to that. See the FAQ for more discussion on that topic.

If banner ads cause you any trouble or slowness when using Web Mail, or you just find them annoying, or you have a small display and would benefit from recovering that extra screen space, now you can. For 99 cents a month, all Web Mail advertising will be turned off for all your mailboxes, no matter how many mailboxes you have on your account. Most users have 2 or 3 mailboxes, many have 8 or more. The upgrade is just one flat price for all your mailboxes, and it's $0.99. You can make a couple of clicks on your MyAccount page and turn the ads off, and if at any time you want to discontinue the upgrade, you do that the same way.

When you upgrade to Ad-Free, all advertising banners that appear in Web Mail after you log in are removed. This includes the little one at the upper left of the page too, not just the large banners. Ad-Free means Ad-Free. Of course the one on the login page remains because we don't know who you are until you log in to Web Mail. After login, your Inbox will use the full browser page to display without any space taken up by advertising.

On Friday of this week users with banners turned on will notice a change to the banner layout in Web Mail, which is coincidental and unrelated to the new Ad-Free option. About a year ago the main banner on the Inbox page was moved from the top of the page to the right side of the page. At the time that move was made, 15% of our users were running an older 800x600 display size on their computer, and those users benefit from the side placement. There are fewer of those users today, but it is now being put back for two other reasons as well. We now think it is more intrusive on the side for most users, after having it for a while and getting feedback. And, the banner industry is fickle and they are moving away from that skyscraper style now, and they prefer the top placement again.

Again, to choose the Ad-Free option click on MyAccount at the top of any EarthLink page and log in there using your master account or primary email address. Then on the left side of the page click on "My Plan Details". You'll see all your upgrade options there, and Ad-Free Web Mail is the first one at the top. Just click on Enable or on More Info and follow the instructions. Note that if you are already logged into Web Mail when you browse to MyAccount, you'll be automatically logged in under the same email address. If that is not your master or primary address, you'll have to log out and then back in using the master before you can make account changes.

Please continue to provide feedback and we'll continue to make Web Mail better for you. Lots of things are coming up this year.


    « Previous   |   Showing Comments 51-75 of 94   |   Next »   |   End »

Posted by: Dave Zeller   |   July 17, 2008 1:45 PM    |   (51)

After you guys made all these upgrades, my Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail software no longer works. I can receive mail via Thunderbird, but can no longer send or forward it. I now have to use Earthlink web-mail, which is inferior to Thunderbird. I will NOT use a Microsoft browser or e-mail program.

Nothing has changed on our servers (in a long time) that would affect the use of any POP software like Thunderbird. Something changed on your end. Contact technical support for help with your settings.

Email Guy

Posted by: Saul   |   July 17, 2008 4:17 PM    |   (52)

*yawn* And you still haven't fixed bug where Known Spam shows (0) initially no matter how many messages actually in that folder.

Posted by: Jen   |   July 17, 2008 5:45 PM    |   (53)

I was so happy when I just saw this and then found out you are charging for it? What?? I expect ads on hotmail, gmail, etc. But I pay for Earthlink! This option should be free!

Posted by: Bradley Warner Tompkins   |   July 17, 2008 8:50 PM    |   (54)

Hello, e-Mail Guy!

I've decided to switch to that $4/mo special ad-free 2-box mail package. Just haven't had time yet to clean out the mail boxes I'm going to ditch...

At that price, if a family member wants a box in the future, I can legitimately tell him or her to buy their own!

For those who prefer Firefox:
The weird problem that was causing FF 3 to trash FF 2 has been fixed, beginning with FF You can now put both in any folder you want, including the same folder, and they will play nicely together.

The current versions are Firefox and Firefox 3.0.1.

I'm finding FF 3 to be excellent, so far.

I hope this helps,


Posted by: Jeff   |   July 18, 2008 4:44 PM    |   (55)

I changed to the Premium Email plan a week ago and I'm still getting advertising.

You recently claimed that this plan was advertising free.

Is this still a true statement or did my account not get configured properly?

It was true, but they have changed the plan. Converted accounts continue to have the advertising enabled, but new ones purchased with a new email address do not. You can add the Ad-Free option for $0.99 by going to MyAccount, so the Premium plan without ads will actually be $4.94 instead of $3.95. Sorry for the confusion.

Email Guy

Posted by: De   |   July 20, 2008 2:51 PM    |   (56)

We sell a product called Premium Email that is email-only, no access, for $3.95 a month, and it does not have any advertising in Web Mail.

I'm a Premium Email user. I started with EL on dial-up in 1998, and then moved to Sprint DSL with EL when that partnership was offered. Sprint then became Embarq and last year that partnership when away. After 9 years with the same email address I didn't want to change, so I went with EL's Premium Email.

My webmail has ads. There's a blank space for a banner ad at the top of the screen that says ADVERTISEMENT, a small ad over the email menu on the left that's usually/always a credit check thing, and a large vertical banner ad under the email menu. I have screen caps if you'd like.

On my desktops at home and work, this is annoying, but I can deal with it. However, my laptop is an EEE PC 701. The screen is so small that losing ANY space to ads causes a problem.

They have changed the plan. Converted accounts continue to have the advertising enabled, but new ones purchased with a new email address do not. You can add the Ad-Free option for $0.99 by going to MyAccount, so the Premium plan without ads will actually be $4.94 instead of $3.95. Sorry for the confusion.

Email Guy

Posted by: Scott   |   July 22, 2008 7:26 AM    |   (57)

You need to be conspicuous about charging for removing the ads. If there is a charge it needs to be presented as an advertisement by EarthLink... For .99 month, you can subscribe to ad removal from web mail. Thank you.

I don't understand your comment. At the place where you choose the Ad-Free option (in MyAccount) it is completely obvious with multiple confirmations, and there is no way the charge can be overlooked. There is no other place on any EarthLink site where the feature is even mentioned except this blog.

Email Guy

Posted by: Scott   |   July 22, 2008 7:29 AM    |   (58)

When one views email, the page has to be scrolled laterally. It would be much better if the entire page (width wide) was automatically available. It is inconvenient to have to wiggle the page back and forth, left to right to read through an email. Please correct this.

Unless you are running your browser window at a very small size, this should not happen. On an 800 wide screen or larger, you should not have to scroll horizontally to see all message text. Please describe the case where you see something different.

Email Guy

Posted by: David Leo   |   July 22, 2008 2:29 PM    |   (59)

I'm glad that we have the option of not getting bombarded with ads from EarthLink but we are already paying a monthly fee to use email so I think it's sad that we need to pay you additional money for this option. Our current monthly fee should rid us from being advertised to once we log into our respective email addresses. Nice effort but any charge for this service is disappointing.

While I have you, any chance of allowing cut and paste when composing an email in html? Right now one can only cut and paste if viewing or composing emails in text format.



Posted by: Mike   |   July 23, 2008 2:43 AM    |   (60)

Fantastic! Love having the option to eliminate advertising banners on Webmail! Just added the option to cover all my email addresses. Works great! For a buck a month, the price is well worth getting rid of the crappy flashing banner ads. Would like to see the ads removed at the login screen as well (such as the flashing Equifax banner ads). You guys did good. Having the option to minimize ads is definitely a step in the right direction!

Posted by: William Abbott   |   July 24, 2008 1:55 PM    |   (61)

I have observed that progressive companies like yours make continual improvement to their websites. This is good. However, progressive companies that want to please their clients, do not tantalize them for more money. They don't try to make customers pay for website improvements. I am disappointed. I guess Earthlink is not as progressive and user friendly as I thought.

Posted by: Maggie   |   July 25, 2008 8:42 AM    |   (62)

I agree with Jen, I was thrilled to see the No-Ad email viewing option offered, but then very disappointed to see there is a charge for this since we are already paying for earthlink email as it is!

Posted by: Voula H.   |   July 26, 2008 3:47 PM    |   (63)

The new changes are great for those who need and want them. Thank you!
But I would like to see added services for Mac users on the web mail and hope you are still working on these. I have a Mac with Safari and use the Earthlink web mail as my primary e-mail. I pay $3.50 per month for using the web mail service. I still cannot compose e-mail with editing functions as it is not compatible for Mac users. I do not want to change to another browser. Will this ever be worked out? I would like some feedback to know where this development is at. I feel like I am using e-mail from the dark ages :-)

Posted by: James V Showalter   |   July 27, 2008 1:37 PM    |   (64)

I agree with the others who have stated that the ad-free option should be free, due to the cost of having an Earthlink account in the first place. I wouldn't grumble about the .99 charge so much if it were to include eliminating ads on the my.earthlink.net pages as well. Those pages take forever to load due to all of the freaking ads on it. Can you talk the powers-that-be into including those pages in the ad-free bundle as well?

Posted by: Peter Brooks   |   July 28, 2008 7:05 PM    |   (65)

Scott (July 22, 2008 7:29 AM)(58) describes having to scroll sideways to read text in an email, and you asked him to provide details.

I too see that, on a screen set up for 1024 x 768 (I can't go higher because my wife's eyesight won't permit her to view the screen clearly at higher resolution).

Using IE7 under XP Pro, with Favorites enabled (which may be a key factor) I often have to choose between dumping Favorites or scrolling sideways. I tend to keep Favorites up because I will frequently pull up an additional tab and use Favorites to go to a resource in order to answer (or pose) a question in an email I'm working on.

I have a sample screenshot available if you need it (it's also online at http://www.story-lines.com/eln in a single Word document).



There is a minimum size and it won't shrink forever to any size. You have two things using page space. One is your favorites bar always open, which is taking away about 20% of your page. I'd suggest using the favorites dropdown menu. But also it looks like you have created some long folder names taking up room on the left. Collapse the folder tree by clicking on the +/- or just rename them to something shorter.

Email Guy

Posted by: Joy Felt   |   July 29, 2008 1:32 PM    |   (66)

Would love it if I could switch between email addresses without logging off and then on again. Aol (when I had it many years ago) had/has that feature. BUT, rest assured, I'll never return to AOL. Thank you.

Posted by: Bradley Warner Tompkins   |   July 30, 2008 12:44 PM    |   (67)

Hello, e-Mail Guy!

You might want to take a look at the spam blocker. Recently it seems to be becoming less effective, almost certainly because the spammers have found some means to adapt. Nothing is getting through that shouldn't, but indeed it is becoming more difficult to tell without actually opening the e-mail.

I hope this helps,


Posted by: Bradley Warner Tompkins   |   July 31, 2008 1:15 PM    |   (68)

Hello, e-Mail Guy!

You might recall from previous conversations that I am using Verizon Wireless (VzW) which is to say I am using an *always* wireless Internet provider, and that is in fact my only ISP. (After all, I *AM* a Rabid Road Warrior!) I have a question for you pertaining to that.

Since it is always wireless, I always leave my EL Web Mail in secure mode, which is to say that I always go to
to connect. (BTW, VzW actually does have a pretty decent internet security feature, but they won't guarantee it in writing. A casual eavesdropper would never be able to make a connection, but a properly equipped serious miscreant might.) I know that if I send an e-mail to any other EarthLink customer, and they just happen to also be in secure mode, that that e-mail would be protected on its entire route from end to end.

Your's, of course, isn't the only ISP that offers secure e-mail services. What happens if I send my secure message and it goes out of your servers into someone else's also secure servers? Does that message then inherit protection the whole way? In this scenario, is there a possibility of the message being unprotected at some point midway along the trip?

Your prompt attention is sincerely appreciated,


Email transported over the Internet between providers is never secure, with any email service. It is sent over the wires in plain text and could be intercepted by someone with access to the servers relaying the email over the Internet, e.g. a miscreant employee of a network backbone, for example. You would have to use encrypted email text using a shared encryption scheme between yourself and the recipients in order to be totally secure.

When using email, the security provided by HTTPS is only to protect your local connection from local wireless snoopers (or others on a shared LAN connection too). HTTPS also fully protects you when visiting secure web sites (end to end), since that does not involve sending email data. That's why your bank uses HTTPS on their web site. HTTPS encrypts the connection between you and a web site, but it does not encrypt email data being sent between providers.

Email Guy

Posted by: Peter Brooks   |   July 31, 2008 3:42 PM    |   (69)

Re: the answer to (65) - thanks for the feedback.

The Favorites drop-down is not useful for me since my list is large; it's far more practical to keep it open since whatever links I need to use for new tabs are kept close by (you may notice some links have been renamed to keep them together).

Likewise the folder names are the way they are because they're more meaningful to me - that's supposed to be the modern paradigm, I understand (make the machine conform to our needs rather than the other way around). It seems inconsistent to work in an environment that allows hugely long filenames and still have to compress them to a handful of characters.

How about providing a facility for the user to vary the width of the visible area of the Webmail folders? At the moment it's fixed and decided a priori by the developers. I can manually vary the width of my Favorites window - how difficult would it be to make the Folders area behave similarly?



Posted by: Peter Brooks   |   July 31, 2008 4:06 PM    |   (70)

I'm seeing an odd effect and I'm not sure what would be the appropriate EarthLink email address to send the report to.

The letters "ZZZ" are being inserted into the code of one particular HTML email I get daily, usually at the beginning of a line of javascript. I can't tell yet whether this is being done by IE7 or something else *after* receipt from EarthLink's Webmail server (perhaps as a phishing block or whatever).

I've checked the effect using two different and separate installations of XP Pro/IE7 and accessing Webmail through them separately. I also have ZoneAlarm installed (two different updates) but that doesn't appear to be the culprit. I can find nothing online yet that indicates that this is a widespread problem.

I have documented extensively (about 60 pages in a Word document) and corresponded with the sender of the HTML email, who sees nothing at his end.

Viewing the HTML email using the Webmail feature View Source doesn't show the "ZZZ"; it's only when I use IE7's View Source for the entire page received from Webmail that I see the change.

The effect is to change some of the URLs embedded in the HTML email so that they point to webmail.earthlink.net instead of the default set by the HTML email, and to block some of the javascript.

Any suggestions, please? It used to be easier to send reports to EarthLink but the new Support mechanism is an awful hotchpotch that generally only leads to prepared Web forms that are generally not relevant for me.

Grateful for any help,

Peter Brooks

I'm sure the problem is on our end, due to some quirk of the particular message. All javascript is stripped from all email (or disabled) when viewed in Web Mail for obvious security reasons. All web mail providers do this. So if the email contains javascripts (which no email should) then it is a side-effect of that stripping. It is a placeholder that serves to disable the javascript. Ideally it wouldn't be visible to you, so we'll look into that.

Email Guy

Posted by: mike crittenden   |   August 1, 2008 7:32 PM    |   (71)

can you please fix webmail to support windows mobile 6 pda's. this is my (laptop) 98% of time and its gets really old waiting till I get home to do the upkeep of the box!!!! thanks mike crittenden

htc 6800
htc 6700
palm 700wx

Posted by: Peter Brooks   |   August 4, 2008 5:29 PM    |   (72)

Re: response to (70) - many thanks.

My mistake - I'd seen the javascript tag and assumed that was where the problem lay. It turns out the javascript tag is irrelevant - the ZZZ are being inserted into ordinary HTML:

Example (this may be tricky since the code would be interpreted here, so I've used {lt} and {gt} in place of the tag delimiters):

{lt}ZZZ!--{lt}a target=_blank href="http://www.techwr-l.com/dailyannounce"{gt}{lt}img src="http://www.techwr-l.com/images/dailyannouncetop.png"{gt}{lt}/a> //--{gt}

There are settings made in the header of the HTML email that are also being affected (including setting a base address, which seems perfectly legitimate activity to me):

{lt}ZZZLINK REV="made" href="mailto:admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com"{gt}
{lt}ZZZbase href="http://www.techwr-l.com"{gt}
{lt}!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"{gt}
{lt}ZZZhtml xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en" xml:lang="en"{gt}

and so on.

Hope this helps your guys home in on whatever's causing the problem. I think it started around May this year - I'll try and be more specific if I can.



Posted by: ~L~   |   August 4, 2008 10:35 PM    |   (73)

I resent the additional charge to be free of the ads that constantly crash my dial up and lock up my computer. I have been a customer since Netcom was Netcom, not mindspring and not earthlink. LONG TIME. And as it is, I already pay a premium for additional web mail space. I see that there are offers to get earthlink at one third of what I have been paying for years. Let them pay more, give me ad free mail!

GMAIL is free and has over 6 GIG of space. And the ads there do not intrude -- and are based on "my interests."

The darned flashing ads cause migraines. Can't we get rid of them?... without a fee?

Posted by: Bradley Warner Tompkins   |   August 5, 2008 10:19 AM    |   (74)

Hello, e-Mail Guy!

Thank You for answering my question of July 31, 2008 1:15 PM about "Secure Mode". I was afraid that would be the answer. It certainly explains why there is such a plethora of e-mail encryption programs out there. I'm going to have to bite the bullet and pick one and master it...

I need to pick something that is both free, and open-source, and has versions for Linux, Mac, and Windows.

As the keeper of Blowfish points out (for those not technically inclined, Blowfish is one of several alternative hearts of any encryption product),
just because the encrypt/decrypt tool is solid, is not proof that by the time it is built into an e-mail tool it is still secure.

Right now I'm looking at GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) and PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) by MIT. Those two seem to be the big gorillas. Do you have any comments about either or both of them?

Your prompt attention is sincerely appreciated,


I'm only familiar with PGP, which has been around for many years (>15) and it is by far the most widely used email encryption program in the world. It is tried and true. I know nothing about the relative usability of any of the available programs, but I would make that my primary consideration if myself and a correspondent must be coding and decoding our messages to each other.

Be aware that none of those programs are going to integrate directly with Web Mail, you will have to attach the encrypted message files to your Web Mail email and send it that way, and the recipient will then open the file with his decrypter (probably automatic on that end from a known file extension).

Email Guy

Posted by: Rose Connett   |   August 7, 2008 10:18 AM    |   (75)

While I appreciate your efforts, I have to agree with others that an ad-free webmailbox should be free, since we are paying for the mailbox. Otherwise, you are putting yourself at the same level of Hotmail, Gmail, etc. Also, to echo another's concern, the spam filter is not doing it's job as efficiently as it previously was. Spam is not getting to my inbox but is being sent to the "purgatory" box, and mail previously sent to the "purgatory" box is being sent directly to "Known Spam". The KS box is also receiving legitimate mail, necessitating a daily check to transfer this mail to my inbox.

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