The Sheer Delight of Using Freeserve's Webmail

Posted on 26 March 2003 in Internet (2 comments)

Being an IT professional who has been online since 1996, and been using computers since 1983, using a webmail programme should hold no problems to me.

Funnily enough, everytime I have used Freeserve's webmail in the last few months since joining that ISP, I have done nothing but curse, swear and get very annoyed, due to the use of a truely appalling piece of webmail software.

And so, I decided to share with Freeserve just how annoying their software can be. What follows is (most of) an email I sent to Freeserve just this very day about the 'delights' of using their high quality FSMail product (the rest of the email was a polite but firm introduction to the email.)

It's a step by step guide to my user journey this lunchtime where I had the aim to read and delete some emails - something which shouldn't be a hard task. Sadly todays experience is a rather typical representation of using their service.

I just can't wait for their response.

A typical experience with FSMail.

  1. Goto FSMail homepage page. Enter username, correct domain name, password. Hit the 'Go' button.
  2. Error message: 'Session invalid. This message occurs because you have either previously logged out or your session has automatically timed out. Please click here to login.' Hit 'click here to login'.
  3. Repeat step 1 and repeat step 2 three times.
  4. Decide to reload FSMail homepage and repeat Step 1.
  5. Repeat step 2 with MUCH CURSING AND SWEARING.
  6. Frantically try reloading the page 8 times. FINALLY get my inbox. There are 47 messages.
  7. Click delete icon next to Korean spam message.
  8. Error message: 'Session invalid. This message occurs because you have either previously logged out or your session has automatically timed out. Please click here to login.' Hit 'click here to login'.
  9. Repeat step 1. Curse the idiots who wrote this wretched software.
  10. Repeat step 2. Curse the idiots who wrote this wretched software.
  11. Repeat step 1. Decide Freeserve really has the crummiest webmail I've ever had the misfortune to use.
  12. Repeat step 2. Curse the person who decided that using this software on Freeserve would be a good idea.
  13. Repeat step 7, but only about six times this time. Get inbox again. Still 47 messgaes, including one piece of Korean spam.
  14. Click checkbox next to Korean spam, and hit the delete button. Wahay! 'Messages Deleted ... Click here to continue.' It's only taken 10 minutes. Amazing service there. Click the link.
  15. 'Session invalid. This message occurs because you have either previously logged out or your session has automatically timed out. Please click here to login.' Curse.
  16. Reload page. 'Session invalid. This message occurs because you have either previously logged out or your session has automatically timed out. Please click here to login.'
  17. Decide that Freeserve have obviously never used their webmail, else they'd know how diabolical it is.
  18. Repeat step 1.
  19. Repeat step 2.
  20. Get thoroughly pissed off and click the help link.
  21. Trawl through unhelpful help pages with no reference to the problem that has been plauging me since joining this cursed ISP a couple of months ago.
  22. Log into little-used Yahoo Mail account and send lengthy email to FSmail.support@freeserve.com.
  23. Get back autoresponse. Tells me that Internet Explorer is not configured to receive 'cookies'.
  24. Bang head on table for the following reasons:
    1. I have cookies enabled on all the browsers I use, be it Internet Exploder, Netscape or Opera.
    2. The problem has nothing to do with Internet Explorer. It happens in IE, Netscape and Opera. It happens on Linux, on OS-X, on Windows 2000 and on Windows XP. It happens at home. It happens at work.
    3. Sometimes I actually get to read more than one email in a session <gasp> If I can actually (on rare occasions) read and delete emails, then it can't be because I'd got cookies turned off, can it? Besides if I turn cookies off, I get the same error in red text, without the Freeserve branding and navigation that I normally see.
  25. Enter error message from doom into Google Groups and search Google's usenet archive of Freeserve newsgroups. Find several posts, dating back to 2001. Spy one comment 'Naturally Freeserve have been no help at all.' Seems appropiate.
  26. Decide to take life into own hands, and email the supposed manual reponse email address of FSmail.response@Freeserve.com. Decide that Freeserve will be loosing my Anytime subscription if they don't give me a sensible answer to the questions:
    1. do they have any idea what on earth is going on?
    2. do they even use their own software?
    3. When (if ever) is it going to be fixed?
    4. what is the point in offering webmail that integrates with normal email from the same ISP if the webmail doesn't actually work?
    5. if the problem has been reported in 2001, why is it still happening?
  27. Time 13:17. Decide to get back to doing something useful instead of wasting my time on this crummy so called 'service'.

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Suzie Blackman said:

I was going to ask for assistance as I can't seem to access my inbox and just get a strange almost blank page when I TRY to login on my Apple at work. I'l just wait till I go home to my steam driven PC (they probably understand each other better!).

Glad to know I'm not alone with fsmail frustrations.

Suzie

Posted on 12 June 2008 at 10:17 AM

Gerald J Bartlett said:

For some unknown reason my inbox doesn't keep any messages in it after closing down the machine!

Also the settings facility is very limited!

Posted on 3 April 2010 at 12:54 PM

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