Entries in email (2)


Migrating email with YippieMove

A few months ago I posted about wanting to move my email to a self-administered Google Apps account after deciding that I shouldn't have everything under the thumb of my employer. This is not because I'm worried that my employer will suddenly cut off my email, but a more general sense of wanting consolidate and control my data and online presence. My work email is also hosted by Google Apps (for education), and you'd figure that there should be a good way to move everything over to another Google Apps account without much fuss. There are tools to do this, but I couldn't get any straight answers on whether (a) my email labels would also be migrated over and (b) if a copy of my mail would be retained in my work email account or if everything would be deleted upon migrating. You'd think that copies of the mail would be retained, but the tool suggested by my work is really intended for graduating seniors to get their mail off of their college accounts, so I was concerned that I'd lose all my archived mail if something when wrong in the migration process. So I basically had not made much headway on using new account since I didn't have all my old mail on the new account, until today when I stumbled upon YippieMove.

YippieMove.com is a service that allows migrating of mail between many common email platforms. Importantly, it very specifically stated (the their FAQs) that it would do the two things I mentioned above. The downside is that it costs a one-time fee of $15 to do the migration, but that seems very worthwhile if the process is reliable and fast. So now I'm in the midst of moving the 74,811 107,876 messages that represent my entire email correspondence (at least since I started grad school in 1996) over to my own Google Apps email. 5,392 messages down and sixty-nine thousand and change to go (one hundred and two thousand to go)! So far, things look good; the migrated messages are showing up with their proper labels in my new account. At this pace, things should be done by tomorrow morning.

By the way, the cost involved in this process (in case you want to host your own email):

  • $10 a year for the domain name (although this is something I was already paying for to secure the domain for my "professional" website).
  • $50 a year for the Google Apps account, which comes with (if I'm recalling correctly) 30GB of storage across the various apps.
  • a one-time cost of $15 for the YippieMove migration.*

*Another option I considered was moving all of those messages over to the new account via a mail client on my computer. In theory, I could have both the old and new accounts piped into Apple Mail (or Thunderbird or your client of choice), and manually copy/drag all of the mail from my work account to the new account. Not sure if this would have left a copy on my work email though...But this seemed like a pain in the ass compared to the relatively cheap $15 for YippieMail.

UPDATE (7/8/13): I ran into a few snags with some messages that had "weird" labels (I had created some labels that started with odd symbols) not transfering. YippieMove support was very helpful and we quickly got things squared away and now everything is fully transfered. Thumbs up for YippieMove.com!


Why are colleges still in the email business?

This might be news to those of you born after 1985: once upon a time, the only way to get an email account was through your university or work. I got my first email address in 1992 when I was a freshman in college (remember Pine?), and until services like AOL and CompuServe became widely available and adopted, work or school was the source of your email account. I've had a .edu account ever since then, although with the rise of Hotmail, Yahoo!, and now the king of them all, Gmail, clearly email is accessible to everyone. So why is it that colleges still give students email accounts when they arrive on campus? They all already have accounts on their preferred platforms. Why not follow Boston College's lead and stop hosting email? Instead, @bc.edu email address simply forward to students' existing accounts. This simpifies students' lives since there's one less account to check (how many students are simply forwarding their college email to their other accounts already?) and gets colleges out of the business of administering email accounts.

I'm also ready to be in control of my own data; I don't want to trust a school or employer with my email any more. After learning that a friend lost all of his achived email after he was unexpectedly terminated by his employer (they shut off his email just as they were delivering his pink slip, so he never had a chance to recover his data; how uncool is that? This is actually the second time I've heard about this happening in the last couple of months at different institutions), I want to be the keeper of my own email. Not that I'm planning on getting canned anytime soon, but I suppose stranger things have happened. I'll let you know how my migration to a Google Apps account goes...

Update: see here...