Lycos Mail's interface sorely needs an overhaul. It uses the standard Web-mail layout, with folders on the left and a fully sortable in-box on the right, but a large animated ad above the in-box consumes more than one-third of the screen. Its tools are hard to find, too. The Compose and Options buttons are tucked away beneath the list of folders; they're so far down, you may have to scroll to see them. Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail put these tools above the in-box, where they belong.
That said, Lycos is surprisingly feature rich, albeit not quite in Yahoo Mail's league. You can create up to a dozen filters for moving mail from your in-box to your folders, you can run messages through a spelling checker and color-code mail from specific senders to make it easier to find, and you can check up to five external POP accounts from within Lycos Mail. Lycos has a built-in spam filter, but at its least-aggressive setting, it didn't trap any of the spam samples we forwarded to it. You can also create a list of addresses that Lycos will automatically accept or reject, but the service provides no calendar or notepad, and Lycos also lacks Yahoo Mail's and Gmail's search savvy. And while you can import addresses into the address book, Lycos would accept only half of our 2,000-name contact file before we ran out of space.
To its credit, Lycos offers an e-mail support option, though you'll have to drill down a couple of layers into the online FAQs to find the contact information. Also, be prepared to exercise patience in waiting for a response. We sent a question and received an answer one week later.