It has generally bugged me when otherwise seemingly professional business people use an email address with someone else’s domain name. If you actually WORK for AOL or MSN or even GOOGLE, then, even if you think the address is cheesy, you’re sorta stuck with it.
But people with their own businesses ought to have an address that encourages correspondents to think of them in that professional manner. The email address you first got when you were 12 (something like flowerchild2456@hotmail*) is probably no longer appropriate if you own, say, a private investigating business. I know Lynn Levy has another address, but the published one uses her domain name. Way to go Lynn.
I had generally considered people who use free addresses to be somehow not quite “up on the low down,” if you know what I mean. FamousPerson@aol.com* just doesn’t quite ring true. I mean how famous can you be? And if you’re just trying to be famous, seems to me you’d want something to set you apart from the 63bagillion people who use AOL or gmail or, in my opinion even worse, the address that comes from your internet provider — which, you may remember, is what AOL was back in the day.
Lena West, a guest blogger over at Lip-Sticking: Smart Marketing to Women OnLine made a great point yesterday when she said:
If you think AOL/Yahoo/MSN or any of these other companies need your help in advertising their companies, I have a bridge I want to sell you.
HA! You’re advertising AOL/Yahoo/MSN! You think they need YOUR money? Well, thank you very much. See my priority #2. People who want to give me money… I’m sure they’re all happy to take your money. But do you choose to give it? Or would you rather keep it yourself.
I hadn’t actually thought about using an AOL address as advertising for someone else. I just figured people who did it were just lazy. Or worse, in my opinion, not very smart — especially for a business owner!
Lena pointed us over to Seth Godin’s post on the topic. He calls people who use free email addresses, “Lazy people in a hurry.” But guess what?! (I am so disappointed) Seth Godin, Marketing Guru Extraordinaire, has a typepad address — sethgodin.typepad.com — a free blogging platform. Oh the hypocrisy of it all!
Nevertheless, even your parents told you, “Do as I say and not as I do.” You lived to learn from them and try something new.
So get yourself your own domain name and your own email address. You can do it thru GoDaddy.com Get a domain name and get an address. If you can’t figure out how to change your in-house system, set the new address to forward all mail to the address you have now — If you can’t figure out how to maneuver thru the godaddy site, get a high school kid to help you. It’s just not that hard.
PS. GoDaddy will offer you all kinds of extra “features” like private registration which keeps your street address and name private from people who would like to know who you really are. You really don’t get much from paying extra for a private registration. Besides that, what if you have a great name but go out of business? Wouldn’t you like someone to find you if they want to PAY YOU MONEY for your domain name?
If you publish the address, and of course you’ll do that, right? I mean what’s the point if you don’t? You want business, right? Private registration keeps people from finding your street address, but, in my opinion, not much more. And for goodness sakes, even the government has your street address, so how safe can that information be?
* These email address are PFA (Plucked from air) — Made up. I apologize to who ever might actually HAVE these addresses. Also, I send my sincere condolences.