ergophobe - 2:26 am on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)
70 percent of consumers donít know that major email providers routinely engage in the practice of reading through their personal email to sell ads
I would argue that the 70% that don't know can't care very much since the information is a) widely available and b) the #1 clue is right in your email interface every day.
This is sort of ridiculous. It's like... I don't know... Costco creating a site to let Wal-Mart customers know that Wal-Mart buys most of its goods from overseas. Anybody who cares about these issues already knows and anybody who doesn't know doesn't care.
And if you think that MSFT is really going to let you have ad free access to world class web mail service that's costing you nothing.
As Doc Searles says (did he coin this?): You're either the customer or the product and if you're getting something for free, you're not the customer. If you don't understand that, you deserve what you get. Personally, I like GMail, though preferably on my own domain so if something goes wrong I can redirect the address immediately rather than begin served entirely at the whim of Google. But I understand that I am selling the right to have ads displayed for me in return for, in my opinion, a great email interface.
I'm frankly more worried about the NSA and organizations like that reading my data. That's not because I *trust* Google, but rather because the Google business model is to automate and handle things algorithmically - so for selfish reasons, they don't want to have to look at my email. The NSA actually wants a person to get pinged if suspicious words appear in the content.
And don't forget, if you use a corporate email system, almost every company has usage agreements that allow them to read every email you write and hold you accountable for the contents. Using a corporate account for your personal business is, I think, much stupider than using GMail, and yet most emails I receive are from people on their work address.
Furthermore, if you're ever in a court case, all of your email is subject to subpoena no matter who manages it (I know someone who was recently told by a lawyer "If you're feeling really upset about the case, don't say or write anything. If you absolutely can't contain yourself and have to rant about it, call me because then, and only then, the conversation will be covered by at attorney/client privilege and can't be subpoenaed).
Bottom line: if you have something to hide, don't discuss it an email, no matter who provides it.