Email Domain Names: Professionalism or Non Starter

April 8, 2010 W. R. Eilers No Comments

So recently I was doing research for a client.  We were trying to track down some service providers in upstate New York.  During my search, I came across a few websites with your standard shtick of free quotes, rave reviews and promises of the finest services.  What struck me though, was the fact that a hand full of these companies had emails hosted by your basic free email account providers, i.e. Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, etc.  Honestly, I found this peculiar.  Here a company has made the effort to buy a domain, design a web page, and yet they have no interest in personalizing their email.  For those of us in the business of being skeptical, this just seems fishy.  Now don’t get me wrong, simply having a standard email address by itself is not alone a sketchy move.  We, as transient people in a upturning recession, will always have a personal email address, but as the consumer population grows more and more savvy, the use of a free email hosting account looks, well it looks shady.  

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of successful people with pretty generic email accounts.  I worked for few, some have been clients.  However, these are companies or people who have established themselves with reputation and rely on the Rolodex as major source of business.  Similarly, there are plenty of people who buy up email accounts to perpetuate the appearance of legitimacy in their scams.  There will always be exceptions, but as a general rule, if you are starting out your company, I highly recommend that you spend the few pennies a month and buy yourself an email account with a domain related to your business and your webpage.  Think of it as brand recognition or think of it as keeping business separate from pleasure.  No it will not attract customers, but at the very least it will help retain attention and confidence in those seeking out your services.

All this said, it is purely my opinion, so please feel free to correct me.  As a matter of disclosure, I actually have 4 email accounts.  A free hosted (MSN) personal account, a free hosted work account (Gmail) that operates as my business catchall email client (my web based mail client that syncs nicely with my Android phone), my law firm email address, an email for the company that I work with (new companies require more email addresses sadly), and lastly a free hosted spam account to dump those occasional newsletters, IQ tests, and other free goodies.  It may sound like a lot, but once you have it organized, it operates pretty automatically.

clients, founders, getting started, setting up

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