roadies writes "Despite all the negativity and privacy concerns that surround Gmail, it has still gained cult-like status where net-d0rks feel self validated by having a gmail address and will do anything to get one. Services like the Gmail Machine, a randomized Gmail lotto that has people hitting refresh until they get carpel-tunnel in the index finger, reports over 7 million pageviews (though, definitely not uniques) in 3 days and 55 invites given away. They just added 222 more through donators who have given up invites in exchange for a text link on the high-traffic site. GmailSwap (covered recently on /.) has given away everything from cameras to good vibes. Good news for hardpressed geeks: The invites are becoming more and more available and mainstream. Ebay once had gmail invites going for a couple hundred dollars. Now, nobody is bidding on them anymore, so you can purchase one the old-fashioned eBay way for a dollar or two." Reader marklyon writes "Third party developers have stepped in with utilities that enhance and improve GMail. One utility, Mbox & Maildir to Gmail Loader allows users to upload their existing email to their GMail account. Another, POP Goes the GMail, offers the ability to access your GMail account with any POP mail reader, giving users the ability to permanently archive messages. GTray lives in your taskbar and alerts you to incoming messages. Other, more general programs, allow you to forward your Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail messages to your new GMail account. The question that remains, however, is whether Google will work with or against third party developers in GMail's future."
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