Advantages of SmarterMail over Office 365 and G Suite
Idea shared by Ron Raley - 10/30/2020 at 9:57 AM
Office 365 and G Suite are FREE for our non-profit customers. They are switching.

We are putting together a list of advantages SmarterMail has over these Cloud services.

One thing I can think of is email archiving. Another is to be able to call us and talk to a human to fix their email issues quickly and easily.

I would like to get ideas from you guys!


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365 has legal hold / eDiscovery which is akin to email archiving but better. In terms of proposition they can receive Business Basic for free, so Email, Teams, OneDrive / SharePoint, etc. SmarterMail cannot compete either with the free not-for-profit option or even the lower cost business packages. Charge to migrate them to make a few $$$ then charge them monthly to administer their tenancy.

Realistically the numbers for SmarterMail do not stack up when compared to what Microsoft or G Suite offer. Once you have factored in SmarterMail Licensing, Microsoft Licensing, Physical kit, colo/DC costs, management costs, support costs, backup / DR costs, etc, etc can you compete with commodity 50GB+ mailboxes for circa $5.

The situation is not specific to SmarterMail but email in general.

Great support is a selling point, it can certainly be attractive to clients but it comes at a cost to you which commodity priced mailboxes is unlikely to recover. 

It would be interesting to know the thoughts of others, perhaps I am being too pessimistic today but given the thrust of Ron's question and experience perhaps not :-/


These are all very good points. Not pessimistic, just factual.

I am looking for advantages in some way, shape, or form.

One of our customer's members (firefighter) told us that he has used GMail personally for 15+ years.  When their fire department recently switched to G Suite, it forced him to switch back and forth between profiles and now he hates it.

We have also assisted when members go rogue. Emails sent and received are disgusting and then deleted. We were able to provide a backup copy of a firefighters mailbox for the chief and president. How far can G Suite and Office 365 go with this? Can they get the data easily?

Finally, our customers see STORAGE with big eyes! One customer switched to Office 365 and said one of the biggest selling point was STORAGE. Yet, in 10 years they accumulated 4.6 gigabytes between all 30 members, which they migrated away to Microsoft.

I really am interested in this topic and the FIGHT against big tech. More feedback is welcome! Thank you Nathan.

We are grateful that our e-mail services are "complimentary" with our website services.  So we aren't losing money, but we are losing contact.

For example, when we provide support, we've got a few awesome customers. One particularly awesome customer is Keith from Kentucky.  Keith is NOT a computer guru and doesn't pretend to be.  He is a Fire Chief and also enjoys cutting grass.  When at the fire station, he runs Outlook and uses IMAP/SMTP with SmarterMail.  He also takes advantage of webmail, calendars, and contacts.

Keith gives us a ring every now and then.  Yes, an actual phone call.  He is a joy to talk to and always refers to us as the "smart guys".  He calls us when he has certain questions such as when he gets a kickback message or how to add IMAP/SMTP to his phone.  We have even used remote desktop to assist Keith.  Keith is HAPPY and leaves great feedback for us on Facebook and our website.  Our team is HAPPY because we support Keith.

Sadly, I agree that the non-profit giveaways are deadly to hosting providers, and not just those using SmarterMail.

We have a medium sized non-profit (in the 500-600 mailbox range) for which we've run an Exchange server for more than a decade; long before SM added MAPI.  It costs them a certain amount of money, and they just approached us about migrating to O-365 because their 501(c)(3) status entitles them to "free" service with huge mailboxes.

This account walking away from us is a significant loss.  They weighted the ability to call us for support and immediately reach a live person, against "free" email, and made their choice.  We cannot compete against $0.00 monthly.  

Microsoft is killing its own ISP/hosting customers with O365, the push to Azure, etc.  They have their cake and are eating it, too-- because they own the cake and can give it away to whomever they want.  All we can do is pay money to rent the cake.  They aren't just biting-- they are biting OFF-- the hand that fed them so well for so many years (the hosting community) and I've really grown to hate them because of it.

So based on this thread and some of my research, the only major advantage is that SmarterMail usually comes with a HUMAN.

If there are any further clear advantages, we would like to know.

Thanks for the input,
Depends on your perspective.  If you're the customer, then dealing with a hosting provider running SmarterMail will often give you more responsive personal service, depending on the size of the host.  They may also be willing to go that extra mile for something you need.  Getting the freebie from Office-365, you have to deal with Microsoft's support team... but it's free.

So the sad answer is, if there's a reason NOT to use Office-365 when you can get it for free as a non-profit, I sure would like to hear about it.  Either way, you're relying on SOMEONE to provide your email service, whether it's a host running SmarterMail or Microsoft running hosted Exchange.

Now, if you're a non-profit running your OWN mail system in-house, the answer is a lot more clear.  Your own mail system gives you absolute control over your email environment, compliance, backups/recovery, security, etc.  Ditching an in-house system and moving to the "cloud" (man, I hate that term) means you give up all that control and have to rely on someone else, and hope they don't screw up.
Some of non-profit clients have opted for Google or Microsoft’s free email accounts, but most have remained with our SmarterMail instance for the sake of keeping their website hosting and support in one place. Hopefully this attitude does not change over time.

I don’t think our clients are concerned about the CLOUD Act, GDPR or data sovereignty, but self-hosting SmarterMail outside of the US enables us to confidently offer services to Europe as well.

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