For pretty much ever, it's been free to send email.
But just because there's no charge on your credit card every time you send an email, it doesn't mean there is no cost.
The costs of email are hidden.
Sending email is not free in terms of the time and attention of the recipient. Some studies show that people spend over 25% of their working day handling email. How much is their time worth?
Sending email is not free in terms of the data that can be gathered by other parties along the way. Gmail is "free" for good reason.
And an eye-opener for me this week, after the hottest day on record in London: sending email is not free in terms of its impact to the planet.
But despite all of this, at some point, we told ourselves email is free. Look at your inbox (and, if you dare, your spam folder) to see how many people treat email as if there are no costs at all.
We’d do better as senders, and as recipients to think of email as being just as costly as posting a letter in the mail.
Because in many ways, it costs a whole lot more.
P.S. I realise there is some irony if you are receiving this post via email. I hugely appreciate you subscribing, and I hope it was worth the cost on this occasion.