AKA Mail was a webmail application that was designed and developed for small and medium-sized businesses. I built AKA Mail with my co-founder when we were both at AKA Link Communications
, a web hosting company that we founded in the year 2000.
When we built AKA Mail, there wasn't a hosted webmail application designed for business customers. The major hosted webmail applications at the time were Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail.
Both Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail were great hosted webmail applications but were designed for personal use and were missing features and functionality that business customers wanted.
We listened to business customers
When designing AKA Mail, we listened to business customers to understand what features and functionality they felt were important.
In 2003, we launched the 1.0 version of AKA Mail with almost everything they asked for, such as sending and receiving e-mail from their domain
(i.e., @yourbusiness.com), invisible read receipts, sending and receiving signed and encrypted e-mails with S/MIME certificates, and user interface white labeling.
Before there was Gmail, there was AKA Mail
In hindsight, AKA Mail seems basic but was innovative for its time. To put the innovation into perspective, we launched AKA Mail in July of 2003, which was almost 1-year before Google launched Gmail in April of 2004.
AKA Mail also gave business customers the ability to send and receive e-mail from their domain nearly 3-years before Gmail did. According to this CNET article
, Google didn't introduce "Gmail for Your domain" until the year 2006.
Here is a snapshot
of AKA Mail taken in July of 2003 by Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, and below are some old screenshots.