It's now more than 9 years since my first two email ids were created (on the same day), hosted on Yahoo! and Hotmail servers. I've come a long way since then and changed countless mailboxes.
I've promised allegiances to innumerable mail servers for now-unfathomable reasons: Rediffmail because it wasn't the ubiquitous Hotmail or Yahoo!, USA.net because it looked nerdy and macho, 123India because of POP support and multiple From addresses, Fastmail because it was nifty and worked well as a web-based client for multiple Hotmail accounts, HotPOP because it was eponymous, Gmail because the reasons were very compelling, and countess others.
I know it's a hassle for others to keep in touch with you if you constantly keep changing ids. A rolling stone, after all, gathers no moss. So I even had a mail forwarding id with BigFoot. The one thing that set my mailboxes apart from those of the others was my zero-tolerance for spam. Okay, maybe I faltered a bit during the initial days but even that was negligible compared to the crap laden inboxes of others I've seen. In fact, I used to get so worked up if a single unsolicited mail reached my mailbox, I would immediately contemplate opening a new one! It was almost an obsessive compulsive disorder.
I've mellowed down the years. I'm now more or less committed to Yahoo!, Hotmail and Gmail. I upgraded to Yahoo! Mail Plus earlier this year and I've just created 2 mailboxes for my personal domain this morning! Google Apps is fabulous and just what the doctor ordered. I'm truly in awe of how symbiotic all of Google's products work and hope Yahoo! and Microsoft learn from the precedence being set.
My protracted search for the perfect mailbox has reached fruition.