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Cal.net dumps its loyal, paying email customers with a ‘Dear Jane’ notice

By From page A6 | August 03, 2014

So, I see an email from Cal.net in my inbox, and figure it’s my semi-annual email invoice.
Yes, I pay for email. Because personal service and rejection of the corporate world whenever and wherever possible matters to me.
Imagine my surprise when I read this:
“…as of January 20th, 2015, Cal.net will be discontinuing all e-mail services for the @cal.net, @sierra-mail.com and @directcon.net accounts…. all e-mail services will be automatically deactivated after January 20th, 2015, and will no longer work.”
What sort of fresh hell is this?
“Cal.net feels that our customers would be better served if we focus on providing the best internet service possible. The majority of our customer service time is spent handling customer e-mail problems, spam filter issues, and defending our customer base and e-mail servers from spammers and outside hacker attacks… other e-mail services such as Gmail provide a superior e-mail product, with a dedicated staff of hundreds monitoring and improving their e-mail services. Your convenience and satisfaction are important to us, and providing you with an enjoyable internet experience is our goal. With this in mind, we would like to suggest that our email users setup and use Gmail accounts.”
Hey, Cal.net: How ’bout you ask us what we want before making assumptions? Your customers aren’t sequestered in some little internet bubble. We already know about free Gmail. And yet, we continue to PAY for Cal.net. We like being email pariahs! If we wanted to participate in the corporate internet world, we already would have!
And here’s more for the “Duh” file, Cal.net: If most of your customer interactions revolve around email and not internet service, it means your customers are more concerned about your email service. If you can’t keep up with customer demand, the solution is to hire more email technicians, not run the other way and focus on internet service.
I hate to be harsh, Cal.net, but no one’s interested in your internet service. Besides already knowing about Gmail, your customers already know about high-speed cable too. I’m sorry. It’s just better. Many of us switched years ago. But many of us continued to pay for Cal.net email. Why? We LOVE our email. We’d probably pay even more to keep it. But did you even ask us? No. You sent the “Dear Jane, it’s not you, it’s us, let’s stay friends” letter and dumped us flat.
Those using Gmail or Yahoo or whatever freebie mainstream corporate email is floating around out there are wondering why someone would pay for something you can get for free. Here’s why: If something goes wrong, you can call Cal.net on the phone and talk to a real, live person. And, not just any real, live person: someone who is truly local, not someone in a different time zone and hemisphere, who tells you through a thick accent that his name is “Steve.”
Shut up. Your name isn’t Steve, it’s Sandeep. Right from jump, there’s no honesty or integrity in this relationship. But it won’t be much of a relationship anyway, because the next time I call, I’ll get Kevin (Kandarpa) or Dave (Devak). There will be no love.
P.S. Steve, Kevin and Dave — I sort of resent that you assume I’m a stupid, lazy, ethnocentric fat-head American who can’t learn how to say your real name.
However: if you call Cal.net, you get Chris (Chris). Not only am I on a first-name basis with the Cal.net technician, I even know his voice. Gmail users: Who among you can boast of this sort of personal interaction? I ask the question rhetorically because I already know the answer: No one.
I’m crushed to be losing my beloved, simple Cal.net email that I’ve had since they opened up shop. I go all the way back to the Mother.com days. I loved that email. But, reality is reality, and with a knife at my back, I attempted to open a Gmail account, for which I descended into the seventh layer of Hell. First, I had to create a Google+ account, and add a photo, and answer a bunch of questions, and then a Facebook-ish page popped up, and lo and behold, several people were already hovering there, waiting to cyber-stalk me. I only wanted email, not Facebook Lite to suck away more of my time, patience and privacy.
Turns out, you can’t simply get Gmail without becoming part of the Google machine. So, I didn’t. But now I’m stuck with a stupid Google+ account, and don’t look for me there or you’ll be waiting a really long time.
Cal.net. You’re breaking my heart.
I’m not alone in my dismay. I expressed my exasperation about losing my Cal.net email on Facebook, and several other frantic and upset Cal.net customers chimed right in. Collectively, we wished a pox on the Cal.net house, and a double pox on Gmail, which all the Cal.net users found deplorable. My husband chimed in on that rant, and reminded me that he created a private website for me years ago, that included a huge email account.
“You know, sweetie — the one you refuse to use?”
It’s not that I didn’t like the private email he created for me. It’s just that I loved my Cal.net so. So much that not only was I willing to pay for a free service, but also make The Cutest Man In The World sad. But, no more. Suddenly, that pristine, virgin eDebra.com email is looking pretty sexy. That’s my solution. I guess this means I’ll have to actually learn to use the software to update the website, which is covered in cobwebs.
(Note to husband: If you really loved me, you’d make it a WordPress website. It’ll take me years to get a software engineering degree.)
As for my Cal.net compatriots… I’ll see you around Gmail, I guess. Unless we can convince Cal.net to keep its email service.
Just name your price, Cal.net. If it means not being swallowed into the belly of the corporate beast, we’ll pay it.

Debra DeAngelo

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