Fast Company

Meet the Biggest Threat to Google, AOL, and Microsoft: Ronald Reagan

In the world of email, a short list of companies dominate--Google, AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft--but there's a new player in the game that's ready to tear down their firewalls: Ronald Reagan. Just as Reagan took on Walter Mondale and Jimmy Carter, the conservative icon's family isn't about to bow down to any lily-livered liberals, be them presidential candidates or billion-dollar tech giants.

Last year, in his father's memory, Reagan's son Michael launched an email service to end the monopoly of left-wing Internet companies. His charge was simple: "Every time you use your e-mail from companies like Google, AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, Apple and others, you are helping liberals," Reagan wrote at the time. "These companies are, and will continue, to be huge supporters financially and with technology of those that are hurting our country." For only a small $39.95 annual fee, conservatives around the country could purchase an @Reagan.com email address, and rest easy knowing their money was going only toward conservative causes.

Today, on the eve his late father's 100th birthday, we caught up with Michael Reagan to find out how the hot startup was faring--and how he planned to win this one for the Gipper.

As Reagan tells it, the service is flourishing. With little marketing, Reagan Email is growing, and on the path to becoming a big threat to Google, AOL, and others.

"I'm excited by the fact that we started, when? April of last year? We haven't done much promotion, and we have sold 4,000 accounts," says Reagan. "When I go out and do interviews, if I'm on Sean Hannity, and I say I have an @Reagan.com email service, I can sell 1,000. Wham!"

Reagan speaks with palpable energy about the service, and believes it has the potential to be a major player in email. When I ask whether it could one day compete with the likes of Hotmail or Gmail, Reagan affirms. "Yes, at some point, it is going to be a competitor," he says. "I'm actively looking for an investor to really take it to the next level."

And Reagan has a lot to sell potential investors on. Apart from the roughly 4,000 accounts already sold--at an astonishing $40 each--the rate of growth is increasing, Reagan boasts. "There was like 5 [sold] yesterday," he says. "It's like three or four or five a day--they just keep on trickling in." Reagan also describes to me the innovative features of Reagan.com: "We got the calendar. We got everything going for it. Our search engine--I think we have the only search engine that gives you both [results from] the left and the right."

Currently, he's looking for an investment in the range of $500,000 to $1 million. "We could take in a million users--we're set up," he says. "With a large investor to put some really big bucks behind it, I think it can be huge--we'd be able to expand and get bigger servers."

When I asked how a $39.95 service could ever compete with Google or Microsoft's free email, Reagan explained that once he gets enough users, he too will be able to offer free, ad-supported service. After all, it's no different than how his competitors began.

"When AOL started, it cost more than that--look at what AOL or MSN was charging on a monthly basis--it was more than $40 a year," Reagan says. "And look at what you're getting for the $40."

Reagan says his team is "always upgrading" the service, and looking for new ways to attract users. (Though, according to Reagan Email policy, upgrading isn't necessarily included in the service's price: "You are using the Services AT YOUR OWN RISK and we are under no obligation to provide you with any support, error corrections, updates, upgrades, bug fixes and/or enhancements of the Service.")

So will Reagan Email soon chomp away at the market share of Gmail and Yahoo and Hotmail? For $39.95, there's no telling how big this service could become.

"People forget: I was the first one to stream a radio show, and everybody laughed at me," Reagan says. "I was the first one in radio with a website, and people laughed at me then."

Well, look who's laughing now.

Follow me, Austin Carr, on Twitter.


[Photo by PingNews]

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23 Comments

  • S. Arcturas

    "...be them presidential candidates or billion-dollar tech giants. "  Are you effing kidding me? I don't even have anything funny to say to this one. 

  • Pete

    "Well, look who's laughing now" errr me, hahahahahahahahahaha. This is a joke, how on earth can you realistically think you can make a business out of charging $40 for an inferior product (sorry but you can't argue it is better than Gmail etc which have had millions of dollars spent on research with some of the cleverest people working on them) when the rivals are free.

    If this conservative thinking then if I lived in the US I certainly wouldn't vote for anyone claiming to be conservative!

  • kent comfort

    To commemorate this exciting news, I configured my spam manager to block and trap any and all .reagan domains. There you go again, Michael!

  • Rob

    Hilarious. A more appropriate headline would have been "Conservatives discover e-mail, name it Reagan."
    What's next? "Conservatives open new water park, name it Trickle Down Falls"?

    Selling an email address for $39.99 demonstrates more about the gullibility of their base than the triumph of the Ronald Reagan mystique. Still, it would make it easier for my GMail filter to root out all the Birther crap I still get.

  • John Mack

    Maybe some of the revenue could be used to build a Cathedral of St. Ronald Reagan, or a Temple of Reagan Zeus.

  • Devlin Dunsmore

    Riiiiight. Want to know why the "liberal" tech companies dominate today's business landscape? They don't come up with lame ideas like this. Email? Seriously? This could be a competitor to gmail and hotmail? What is this guy on? They're just NOW trying to bust into a market that is like 30 years old?!

    Bottom line, it's a gimmick. Like the trickle down effect. And even conservative voters for the most part just can't be bothered with gimmicks. News flash Reagan, the tech industry and consumers in general don't care about your politics. They care about a quality product. And I HIGHLY doubt that the team behind this service is anywhere in the same UNIVERSE as the talent that put together GMail, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail.

  • Robert Ferrer

    So ... the moral of the story is, don't laugh at Michael Reagan? I have to say, this is rich, conservatives demonizing corporate giants.

    Google makes money because it's a service that works, back by a smart company, led by smart people. If Reagan's service can offer the same level of quality, I'd say more power to him. If he can't, well, then feel free to spend the $40/year to feel better about patronizing a business that is aligned with your political ideology, knowing that you may be sacrificing quality and convenience for, nostalgia, I guess.

  • Rawrs

    Reagan is probably rolling in his grave.. I'm pretty sure if he came back today he'd show his son the back of his hand for selling the Reagan name out like that.

  • Chris Reich

    Yes and please don't forget primeratedownfrom20points@Reagan.com, EndofColdWarWithoutaShotFired@Reagan.com, NoMoreBerlinWall@Reagan.com, FreeElectionsinNicaragua@Reagan.com, OnlyPresidentinPast50YearsWithoutaWar@Reagan.com and let's not forget HostagesReleasedtheMinuteofInauguration@Reagan.com

    Of course, those are too long for an email address but even fools remember them so just maybe...

    Fair and balanced. But it's crappy of you to attack the Alzheimers.

    Chris Reich

  • Robert Ferrer

    Chris, just a couple of points: Berlin Wall came down during Bush Sr's term; There was a war in Grenada, brief as it was; the release of hostages has less to do with Reagan and more to do with defying President Carter.

    I don't mind giving Ronald Reagan his due, certainly his Presidency had an impact, and I think it's fair to acknowledge both his successes and failures, as well as other presidents. Otherwise, we're just bunch of partisans with little regard for half the American population.

  • Billy Barrell

    Gorbachev@Reagan.com, Hosni@Reagan.com, Noriega@Reagan.com, Ollie@Reagan.com, StarWars@Reagan.com .... yes, I can see how this brand has a certain "ring" to it. If I could only remember my password.... Now where did I put my briefcase? - There is nothing wrong with using the brand name. How they are using it is something of a schlock. But, I know it will appeal to many people. That's why I went out and bought up all the presidential brand names I could find before Congress passes the law of eminent domain for the internet. What is happening in the middle east has once again fired up the lynch mob to kill a little more of our freedom. Doh@Reagan.com

  • Chris Reich

    It's amusing to me that the left never learns from its mistakes. Under estimating the conservative base they so love to mock cost control of the house and an erosion of their senate majority.

    The comments here miss the point entirely. Those who would pay for an @Reagan.com account are not mere ideologues, they love the man. It's that love so many fail to see.

    Continue to under estimate the Reagan brand power and Obama will be panhandling for tsunami relief in 2013.

    Chris Reich
    www.TeachU.com

  • jmessenger919

    Please stop categorizing the country into two halves.
    We are each an individual person, with our own ideals and experiences.

    Class-minded thinking (Liberals, Conservatives, Christians, Terrorists, etc.) promotes the "Sheeple" effect. Where one only goes with popular opinion.

    Please, the only way we can save this place is if we tear down our social divides.
    Let's start today.

  • B Green

    1. It's "underestimate", not "under estimate". One would think that someone with a website entitled "TeachU" would have spell check. Once is a typo, twice is ignorance.

    2. Reagan's Conservative ideologies were quite different than those which are currently preached, including by his son.

    3. Senate is a proper noun.

  • Matt Petryni

    Of course. The left should really wise up and learn from their mistakes on this one, once and for all.

    But then again, Google and Apple might be little too busy working on the next generation of smartphones while conservatives are just now getting around to their first generation of "e-mail" and "web search." Reagan's brand power is one thing; revolutionizing technology is completely another. So I guess these so-called leftist companies will simply never have time to learn their lesson. They're just too busy with all this "getting shit done."

    I guess the real lesson just as easily be that you can go to conservatives for snappy branding and outdated technology. You can go to liberals to get shit done.

  • Lucb1e

    Bit of a weird article... I mean, even paid email accounts with a custom domain name plus website are much cheaper than this. Why in the world would anyone buy it? For the status? Noone knows about its existance yet, so it's not like with Apple that you pay for the brand. Weird.

  • stephenbooth

    On the plus side, block that domain and you've cut out a whole swathe of people any sane person wouldn't want to hear from.