November 2, 2009

Does Your Email Address Say You're Cheap, Generic and Inattentive?

T-shirts give you comfort, convenience, and choice. Unless you're in a specialized field, you wouldn't wear one to a client meeting. You might like to, but wouldn't.

T-shirts are walking billboards.

You're more likely to wear clothing with hidden or subtle branding. You want to project the right image.

So why promote another company with your email address? If you're in a big company, you probably have email in the format If you're independent, you may have a generic email address makes you look like a small company. Like having a PO Box instead of a street address.

Message Transmitted | Message Received
If you're using an email domain from another company, you might as well wear a t-shirt. You're advertising that company, which makes you look cheap, generic and inattentive. Businesses outside Toronto often have phone numbers starting with area code 905. Yet, their mobile numbers often start with Toronto's more prestigious 416. That's the same idea. You'll see women carrying fancy shopping bags from Gucci or Chanel. The packaging matters even if the bag holds today's lunch.

Here are perceptions your email domain may create
  • AOL pollutes (remember the landfill-clogging deluge of CDs years ago) and symbolizes 11 years of failure
  • Gmail from Google annoys Microsoft lovers
  • Hotmail from Microsoft annoys Apple fans
  • Rogers (cable Internet) symbolizes high prices and lousy customer service
  • Sympatico (Internet from your phone company) also symbolizes high prices and lousy customer service
  • Yahoo means unprofessional: a yahoo is a yokel, rube or hick
The perceptions may be wrong. For example, I once got great customer service from Rogers. So what? You don't know what your clients think and only that matters. Why put yourself at a disadvantage you can easily overcome?

Why Get Email At Your Own Web Domain
Having your own web address for email helps in several ways (even if you don't have a website)
  • pride: you feel good with a professional email address
  • portable: you can move to different Internet providers without losing your email
  • memorable: you won't have to put up with; you can use instead
  • branded: you advertise your own domain wherever your email address appears
  • web-based: for anytime, anywhere access
  • inexpensive: can even be free with Google Apps Standard Edition
A .COM domain costs about $10 US a year. If you need help with the configuration, ask your email provider. Or a teenager. Pay them with a t-shirt.



  1. If you use a personal-name domain, you can increase your web exposure by signing yourself "" instead of "Chris Greaves"

  2. It's true. It's amazing how people sabotage their professional image with their email address, especially if they're using a "personal one" like "".

    When I was in the database consulting business, I refused to do business with anyone with a hotmail account; I still do when people send inquiries regarding some of the shareware utilities I still sell or who want to discuss their accounting needs.

    Lawrence Fox
    AccountingWizard Solutions