Good ol’ Earthlink. Back in the late 1990’s Earthlink was one of the top internet service providers. Chances are you or someone you know used Earthlink to connect to the internet.
Today most people use Comcast or AT&T. Blah. Such huge corporate giants. Earthlink was for the people. Just look at that name. Earthlink. It’s all about the Earth. Grounded. Familiar.
Moving into my first apartment after college, Earthlink’s cheap pricing made me a happy customer in 1999. Plus, you got a free earthlink email address! Nevermind that I already had a free hotmail address and the AOL email address from my parent’s AOL account. The AOL email address was too commonplace. The hotmail was cute. But earthlink. That was solid. Mine was firstname.lastname@example.org. Sure, the Earthlink email address was funky with the dot net, but hey, the dot net has even more dork appeal.
Do you still have your earthlink email address? I wanted to log in and see all the junk mail collected over 14 years. Heck, is Earthlink still even around? Answer: yes. They still have a website. They still provide dial-up internet service (first item in their navbar). They still have their late 90’s swooshy logo.
Ah, the delight of how some things never change. In their menu is a link for “Web Mail.” They can’t even call it “email” or e-mail with a dash. But Web Mail, two words, both capped. Thank you, Earthlink for being a time capsule that remains consistent.
Web Mail. Seriously people. Web Mail.
I try logging into my Web Mail using my old passwords from the 90s. None worked. The “lose your password?” link scared me, because it would probably send me a recovery email to my hotmail or aol email address. Reluctantly I tried the “lost your password” link, and it brought me back to reality. “Error: The email address you entered is not an EarthLink email address or ID. Please enter your EarthLink email address or ID.”
I’m no longer with Earthlink? +tears+ I can’t look at all the account emails that Earthlink sent over the years? Sad. But one bright thing from this error message. They use the 90s style of capping the second word in their name. EarthLink.
How do I re-activate my EarthLink email address?
There is no customer support email address on their site. But they do have a live chat feature! Whoaaa! Hold back EarthLink, you are jumping WAY too far into the jetpack future. Live customer support chat?!
The wait time was “approximately 0 minutes” and a chat agent immediately started talking with me. They must not get many people asking them for help. I’m picturing an empty room with one extremely bored customer rep agent surfing the Space Jam website.
- Richard W: Hi, My name is Richard W. How may I assist you today?
- email@example.com: Hi Richard W. I’m Matt M. I’m wondering. Back in the 90s I had an email address with earthlink. I would like to use it again.
- Richard W: Let me see what best I can do for you.
The start of the conversation felt like I was talking with an automated robot. Eventually Richard W started to turn more human as we talked. We were able to uncover that EarthLink no longer offers free email. You have to subscribe to their internet service to have an earthlink.net email address. Who is earthlink’s biggest competitor in internet service? AOL.
The big question is: What makes EarthLink better than AOL? Certainly this is a question they get all the time. The rep paused and mulled over his answer. It took him a couple minutes to respond. Here’s what he said:
- firstname.lastname@example.org: If i went with EarthLink as my internet service provider, how would EarthLink be better than AOL?
- +two minute pause+
- Richard W: We do provide free 24/7 technical and customer service.
- Richard W: EarthLink Internet service is a Brand
- Richard W: You will get continues speed without any disturbance.
- email@example.com: what do you mean by EarthLink Internet service is a Brand?
- Richard W: EarthLink provides consistence speed without any problem
- firstname.lastname@example.org: Do you have buddy lists?
- email@example.com: I like using the buddy list.
- Richard W: All right.
- Richard W: Is there any thing else I can help you out?
Clearly I tired Richard W with all my questions and he wanted to get back to surfing the Space Jam website.
While EarthLink is still around around and rocking the 90s jargon and services, you won’t be able to access your old EarthLink email address without forking over money to sign up.
Did you ever use EarthLink? (or still use it to this day?)
— Matt Maldre (@mattmaldre) April 4, 2013
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