Update 12th of June 2020: Due to the Covid-19 Crisis, Eir put the plans outlined below on hold. They have just announced that they are moving forward with charging Eircom webmail customers €5.99 a month from 1st of July 2020. Eir has released a notice that if you are not using their new paid email service, you need to download your data by 1st of July or agree to the new terms as it will then be removed after 60 days.

Eir has recently announced a new monthly charge of 5.99 for using the previously free eircom.net email service. If a customer doesn’t agree to pay by 1st of July 2020, their email accounts will be deleted. Eir has tried to communicate this to all its users. For many of them, this will come as a shock. 

It also brings up an important point about owning your online identity, rather than letting a third-party control the important things in your life. It’s been said often that when a product is free, you are the product, not the service. 

Free email has always been a bit of trap in this regard. Whether its Eircom, Gmail, Hotmail, or another free email service, when you trust something as important as email with a third party, you give them immense power over your life or business. 

Tens of thousands of Irish customers signed up for free Eircom email over the years. And for many this counted as ‘getting online.’ It was free and it was easy. There are countless white vans plying their trade on Irish roads with Eircom email addresses painted on their sides. Many consumers use their Eircom email to login to everything online, to pay their bills, do their banking or to keep in touch with loved ones. 

In many cases, customers have had their Eircom email address for almost 20 years. But apparently, that relationship is not valuable enough to Eir as they have decided that maintaining this amount of data requires such a hefty charge. Charging 5.99 for something that was originally free, is a huge jump in cost. Paying that price for something that was previously free, is simply not worth it. The service hasn’t and won’t improve. You can pay from about €2 a month for your OWN email hosting and pay yearly. You’ll have more features and more control.  

But we think this is a good time to have a think about your online identity in general. If you’re now going to pay for something, how about paying for something you have complete control over? 

First – An Important Disclaimer 

If you have an Eircom email account, you will have to decide what to do and take action, whether you end up with us or another email provider. If you do nothing and lose access to your email address, you will lose access to any website you’ve used it as a login. You will lose access to your online banking. You will lose access to managing your domain or web hosting account. Your email account is a pillar of your online identity, you will have to make a choice and that choice is very important. 

So, you have an important choice to make: pay Eir €5.99 to keep your email address or don’t pay them and lose your email address forever.

We think it’s a good time to take control of your email and get a much more affordable service with us, with your own domain name.

Get Your Domain 

One of an organisation’s most valuable assets is its name. So, get your domain name. Even if you’re not going to use it. Buy it so no one else can. Registering a domain name is really easy and it’s not expensive. Here at Blacknight we generally charge €5.99 for .IE and .COM, €9.99 for .ORG and €6.49 for .ME (all these rates are for the first year). You can do a quick and easy domain search right here and see what’s available. 

This advice isn’t just for businesses. Your personal brand is very important too, whether you are working in a career or trying to build your profile. It doesn’t cost much to own your own name online, and you should. The best domain for personal stuff is .ME. It doesn’t hurt to get yourname.ie either. Then no one can impersonate you online. 

For example, years ago, I purchased my own name – jonathanwthomas as a .NET.COM, and .ORG. Recently I also decided to pick up the .ME domain. I could set up email on any of those domains and I would have my own email identifiable directly to me. It’s also a great use for the new .EMAIL domain name as well – I also managed to pick up jwt.email – a nice and short domain that will be easy for people to remember when I give them my personal business card. 

Hosted Email/Domain 

Over the course of a year, Eir’s new email plan will cost almost €72. We can do much better than that. Blacknight’s basic email service costs just €9.99 ex VAT per year. A .ME domain name costs €6.49 initially, and just €11 per year subsequently. 9.99 + 11 plus VAT works out at €25.82 per year, or less than 50c a week. That’s it. This gives you three different mailboxes (like for other family members), a webmail interface, accessible from any computer, tablet, or mobile device and 500mb of space, which is plenty for most uses (you can add more later). And you get Blacknight’s rock-solid reliability and award-winning customer service. We’re also not going anywhere. That and there is NO ADVERTISING either. You’re paying for this service, so you are not the product, and you have complete control of all your data.

If you’re going to be conducting a lot of business and have several employees, we highly recommend something more robust like our Office365 email plans, which start at €4.20 (plus VAT) per user, per month.  

Getting Your Data Out of Eircom 

Thankfully, email is one of the most portable datasets there is. You can easily download all your email from Eircom onto your desktop using a mail client (we have docs with instructions here). You can also import the old emails into your new email service (instructions here). You can also easily export your contacts/address book (instructions here). You will need to check the support documents provided by Eir for the steps on doing this. But it shouldn’t be too complicated. We cannot stress enough that you need to do this as soon as possible. If you run a business through your email and lose this critical data, you will never see those emails, customers, information, etc again. 

A Clean Start? 

It would also be a good time to just declare what’s colloquially called ‘email bankruptcy’ and start your new email address/service from scratch. That can be fun and liberating, in a way. Just think of all the marketing email lists that you would no longer get, not to mention the massive reduction in SPAM. 

However, we would recommend holding on to your Eircom email address and doing a 60-90 day transition period to your new email. Update your most important log-ins to the new email address. Update your registration info with things like your web host and domain registrar. Anything that required your email to access to potentially reset the password should be updated. This can be time-consuming, yes. But you don’t want to be a year or two down the line and suddenly need access to your old email account that has been deleted. 

A Special Notice for Blacknight Customers with Eircom Email Addresses 

There are several thousand Blacknight customers who have Eircom email addresses as their primary contact, so we’re trying to get the word out that you need to update your contact information with Blacknight as soon as possible if you’re not keeping your Eircom email address. 

If you are not going to continue using your eircom.net email address then please update the email address on your Blacknight account by the 31st of March 2020. If you don’t do this, you will lose access to managing your domain or hosting accounts. You can do this via https://cp.blacknight.com or if you have any queries please give the Blacknight billing team a call on 0818 929 929. 

So, let’s make 2020 the year of taking control of your email. Blacknight can help you along the way. Take control of your data, take control of your identity online.