Google Apps For Your Domain (GAFYD) is a filtered mail solution that allows your domain identity to be reinforced every time your customers or clients see your e-mail address.
I use GAFYD for mail and calendaring, and couldn’t be happier. Google’s spam filtering works very well. Google scans mail attachments for viruses, providing us with another layer of protection against bad bugs. And the price for the free edition makes the GAFYD service an incredible value.
Is it right for you?
It’s not for everyone, though. If you are worried about privacy, you may not be comfortable with GAFYD, or with any advertising-supported mail solution. First, e-mail is not private. It is more like a postcard, viewable as it passes from server to server on it’s way to and from your mail client.
Second, Google obviously scans your mail for key words so contextual ads can be displayed. That bothers some folks.
Third, if support is important to you if things go wrong, the free version may fall outside your comfort zone. There is a paid version that costs about $4 a month for each user. If you are looking at GAFYD as a mail solution for an educational institution, you can get free support.
The Standard Edition costs nothing out-of-pocket, but it serves up ads alongside your mail when you use the GAFYD web-based mail interface. To avoid the ads, you can use standard mail clients like Outlook and Thunderbird to send and receive mail through your GAFYD account.
If you are an educational institution, the Education Edition offers some enhanced features compared to the Standard Edition, at the same price: free.
The Premier Edition costs $50 annually per user, but it also offers policy management and message recovery services. That’s a key feature in some work environments.
The Education and Premier editions offer 24/7 support, while support for the Standard Edition is provided by the user community in online forums.
Take a look at Google’s comparison chart to see the key differences between the three editions.
All three editions include a substantial online storage limit. The limit for the Premier Edition is substantially larger than the free editions.
You aren’t locked into GAFYD as your mail solution. As long as you control where your MX record points to, you can switch to a wide variety of other mail services quickly. Your customers will never know you’ve changed.
What you’ll need
You’ll need a domain name, and you’ll need to configure your domain MX record to point to Google’s mail servers. If you don’t have a domain name, you’ll need to be careful in how you search for a name.
I have set up this solution for several entities, and they are very pleased with the outcome.