Why can't I invite my friends to join Gmail?
Dave, this is driving me crazy! I've been on Gmail for almost a month now, but I still don't have an invitation box: how can I invite my friends to get their own Gmail accounts?
This is one of the most common questions I see, actually. I've written quite frequently about Google's Gmail service, including the most relevant article to this question: How Do I Invite People to Join Gmail, but i haven't talked much about how Google doles out invitations.
First off, let me say that when you get a Gmail account, don't expect to immediately get invitations so that you can invite your friends and associates to get Gmail accounts too.
I believe that there are two reasons for this reticence on the part of Gmail: First, they cut down significantly on spammers spawning dozens of fake email addresses by simply making it slower to get accounts (versus hotmail, for example, where you could spawn a few dozen addresses in an hour or less), something I'm glad about.
Secondly, thought perhaps it's a bit less relevant now than it was when the Gmail service first appeared, Google can keep a bit of mystery, a bit of perceived mystique, by having the Gmail service be a bit exclusive. Since you can't just sign up and get an account, it makes having a Gmail account more cool.
Be that as it may, if you've just received a Gmail invitation, this still leaves you probably more than a bit frustrated when your pals ask for their invites and you can't send any. The bad news is that I have heard of people who have had to wait 3-4 months before they see their first invitation box:
The solution? Probably just to have some patience with the service. I wouldn't be surprised that using Gmail more would get your invites to show up faster too, though I have no proof of that.
Finally, if you have just one or two friends who are desperate for an account, they are welcome to email me, asking for an invitation, as I seem to get a good quota from Google every week. Ask them to send requests to d1taylor at Gmail.
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