Is Your Email Address Losing You Clients?

Is Your Email Address Losing You Clients?New freelancers make a few mistakes that no one will tell you are mistakes, because they don’t want to offend you, or they may have already disregarded you because of this stupid mistake and don’t wish to become mired in the soup of your (sure to be squalid) company.

Now, I know your company is neither squalid nor soup-like, and I have no fear of offending you. I am, in fact, sure that I will offend you, but I embrace this honor with open arms and live not in dread.

Come now! We shall discuss the ineptitudes of others! (For I am sure that you do not do any of these things, and if you do, I am sure you will not admit to them until you have safely remedied them quietly behind the scenes.)

So. You need a professional email address.

This may seem obvious to some of you, but trust me, it continues to be a problem for many a freelancer out there. People that I have taken semi-seriously on the phone instantly lose my respect if I find out their email is something silly, or if they have a free account from one of the more commonplace (read: non-business-oriented) providers out there.

And I am a pretty easygoing person. I am down with it if you want to cuss on your promotional materials or show a picture of yourself on your website throttling a giraffe because it stole your Diet Coke. (In fact, if you do both of those things, we should definitely have coffee sometime.)

However, a bad email address is like that robot that was always freaking out on Lost in Space. “Danger!” it goes. “Danger, Will Robinson!” And even though my name is not Will Robinson, I KNOW DANGER WHEN I HEAR IT.

I am going to tell you a story about a woman who wanted to be my client some years ago. In her email address, she not only had a silly made-up email name from AOL. (I won’t tell you what it is, but the made-up equivalent is a lot like babybatshereyelashes2001.)

You know how, when you receive an email from someone, their name appears right next to the subject line? Okay. Her name began with “Jedi”, and it ended with a name that is a made-up name on the level of schoolgirls who like to pretend they are Sailor Moon’s companions or whatever it is kids are into these days.

This woman was trying very hard to convince me that I should give her discounted copywriting because she was so good at what she did in the web world that I would recoup my losses very shortly and she would only ever use me as her copywriter in the future.

A few points I would like to make here:

I was a friend of the Jedi. I am a strong supporter of Yoda and his kith and kin. I despise and fear the Dark Side of the Force, and I think that the Death Star was startlingly creepy for essentially being a gray ball with a bite taken out of it. I am ALL FOR THE JEDI. If this woman had a tiny sentence at the end of her bio about how she was a Star Wars nerd, we would likely be swooning over Han Solo together to this very day.

But it was in her EMAIL. DUDE.

Now, I’m sure that most of you are not actually doing this. I am sure you do not refer to yourself as Jedi Stronginthearm or whatever in your email account, and I am sure that the email account itself is not dirtygirlswoohoo@hotmail.


Even if it is not such a glaringly terrible violation of email protocol as that example, is your email professional? And how do you know?

Here is your priority list for email addresses, people. Listen up:

First and best: Get an email address that is your web URL and your name or a common business-y type summary for the whole company. For example, you can email us here at Looks very nice. Very professional. If you want to put your first name or last name in there instead of the “info” that works great too.

Second and still pretty good: Get an email address that is a well-known business email provider, and your full name. Since you are obviously not going to get (no, seriously, you’re not going to get it. Or any other first name. And you don’t want to.), get your full name. Your full name is much better anyway because it adds an extra measure of professionalism to your address.

Do not use email addresses from the following providers as your official business email. I know they’re perfectly good providers in general, but they simply do not have the business credibility: AOL, Yahoo, and especially Hotmail.

To give yourself an idea of when the name thing is appropriate, think about business cards. If you met a guy who didn’t have an official company but who freelanced under his own name, you’d be cool with that, right? So you no longer think of that guy as James over at Men with Pens (I’m picking on James today, just because I like to). You think of that guy as James Chartrand, Freelance Copywriter.

(He wanted me to add Extraordinaire. I wouldn’t let him.)

However, if that guy handed you a business card that just said James – Freelance Copywriter, it’d be a little weird. If you’re going to trade on your name alone with no business name to go with it, use your full name when choosing an email address. I suggest putting a little period between the two, because otherwise it looks all mashed-up. works great.

Alright, people, confession time: How does your email measure up? Is it as professional as it can be?

Post by Taylor

Taylor Lindstrom (fondly known as Tei) is a twenty-something copywriter and journalist from Boulder, CO. She’s the team’s rogue woman who wowed us until our desire for her talents exceeded our desire for a good ol’ boys club. She loves the color green, micro-point Uniball pens, and medieval weaponry.

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  1. I go by my gmail address even though I have a domain name whereby I conduct my business. The core reasons: I will still be contactable even if I change my domain name; the probability of gmail being up is higher than my hosting provider; and I like to have all my email in one place rather than having two or more logins. It represents me, even if I run five different blogs and businesses with different branding.
    .-= Winnie Lim´s last blog ..How much do we have to lose… =-.

  2. Ah, you are so right! I tell this to my freelance students constantly – be professional, spend a small amount of money to get yourself a decent email address with a credible provider. As an editor, as soon as I see a hotmail address, that level of professionalism I am expecting goes down a notch. It just means the story pitch and content of the email has to be that much better to win me over.
    .-= Pamela Wilson´s last blog ..Phillip Gwynne’s successful Aussie style =-.

  3. Tei,

    Hear, hear. Though to be contrarian (and because I use it for my personal email) I’ll argue that there’s nothing worse about yahoo than any other freebie address. Actually, because it seems there are more of them, gmail addresses bother me more. Using yahoo is a bit like using a Mac to me. Says you’re a contrarian. 🙂

    But NOT for business. So true.

    I instantly know a person’s not in it for the long haul if he or she won’t commit to their domain name enough to use an email from their own web address.


    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Inspiration Points: One Easy Way To Find Out What Your Customers Know About Your Sales =-.

  4. I can’t fathom why anyone would even use AOL, Yahoo, or shutter to think…hotmail.

    I think having your own email is important, and Gmail makes it easy to use multiple emails with the same account.
    .-= Nathan Hangen´s last blog ..How to Be Like Batman =-.

  5. @ Nathan – They do it for the same reasons they get a Blogger blog – they think that’s all they need to start a business, but no one’s mentioned the credibility factor to them.

    @ Kelly – My personal pet peeves are the email addresses that display the person’s web host provider. Comcast, Sympatico… no. Just… no.

    @ Pamela – Actually, you don’t have to spend money. Gmail is free, and you can fandangle other ways to get a professional email without spending a dime!

    @ Winnie – I feel that Gmail has a different flavor to it than Hotmail. It’s more respected as being “businesslike” and commonly accepted as an email provider of choice. The key is to have that beginning portion look very professional – no matter how you cut it, doesn’t give the same impression as

  6. Like most….I have several email accounts. However, the one I use the most in the blogosphere is my Gmail account. Unfortunately, I wasn’t blogging when I set this account up. I was feeling extremely “creative” and decided to use my birth year along with a few letters scrambled from my name.

    The scrambled letters are okay. It’s the birth year that usually causes a riot.

    Let me just say the year I was born isn’t just famous for man walking on the moon or Woodstock….(so yeah, I catch a lot of flack about it!)
    .-= Roschelle´s last blog ..New Drugs for Women =-.

  7. Roschelle,

    That was a very good year to be born. 😉
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Inspiration Points: Is it Possible to Give 110% to Your Customers? =-.

  8. If I had co-workers they would be giving me ‘that look’. Why? Because as I was reading this post I was shouting YES! YES! OMG YES!

    If you are conducting professional business, there is no respect in an email address that starts with “sugarpie” or “sexymama” or even “bigdaddy.” Yes, it’s difficult sometimes to juggle multiple addresses, but it can be done.

    And you CAN train your friends to use one for all the U-Tube, Maxine, “Pass this on and you will win …” crap they think is great. But it takes a while. Besides, I don’t want to sift through all the junk during my work day. (Or night.)

    I hope many people read this post!

  9. Thursday Bram says:

    Email signatures are definitely a pet peeve of mine — I’ve even found editors of fairly respectable publications using AOL addresses. My first reaction tends to be to question if that publication is actually going to be around in a few years. After all, even print pubs need to have a good grasp on how to present themselves online.

    Another pet peeve can be email signatures. Hot pink, Comic Sans, emoticon-laced email signatures can particularly set me off.
    .-= Thursday Bram´s last blog ..Ask Me Anything: Finding Time, Following Up On Leads and Networking =-.

  10. Now, I know that AOL gets a lot of flack, but I DO have an AOL email address, and yes, I still use it. In fact, one of my cousins, who has the same first initial-last name as I do responded to one of my emails once saying, “I wondered who had that screen name!” So, that’s not going anywhere. I’ve had it for too many years.

    But. It’s not one I use for business, or when leaving blog comments. Those are usually this one–my first name @ my url. Sure, I suppose I could have put my last name in there, too, but … um … it’s more personal this way? (grin)
    .-= –Deb´s last blog ..7 Reasons Why A Good Schedule Can Keep you On Track =-.

  11. When I first start blogging, I was little bit unprofessional. I choose a spice name. After 3-4 month first I tried to use my own name but the problem with my name is it little big than usual so I go with the shorter form but people unable to recognize me with that email. So, I use the full one. Now I have a domain and I created an email with the base of my domain, something like Now I use both email frequently. Now my question is, which one I should use in my business card?
    .-= Arafat Hossain Piyada´s last blog ..How to monitor your application uses habit via Twitter? =-.

  12. OK, Help me out here. What’s the diference between HotMail and Gmail? They are both free, anonymous addresses. In my mind, there’s no difference – they’re both unprofessional.

  13. I have a real, grown-up business email address. But, I have been using a yahoo! address for blog comments. Not sure why, come to think of it. Although, at least it doesn’t have “babycakes” “Jedi Warrior” or “red hot mama” in it.

    OK, I’ll reform. I’ve seen the light. 🙂

  14. Jodi,

    I use my personal email for comments on blogs, on purpose. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing: Anyobdy can have my business email, but you, Mr. or Ms. Blog-Author, get to connect with me personally. That’s my reasoning.

    It’s undoubtedly too subtle but it makes me happy. 🙂 However, my personal email ties in with my company name, so it’s not a total disconnect.

    Until later,

    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Inspiration Points: Is it Possible to Give 110% to Your Customers? =-.

  15. I guess this is one of the few business details that have been frequently overlooked. I also thought of this before, having a funny-silly email ad back in high school. Glad that I changed it earlier in college, I think everything that you do reflects on you, so, it’s better to have no reason to make others judge you. My brother has an undesirable email ad, I want him to know how I feel about it, maybe the best way to say it is to give him a link of this post.

  16. Winnie – I generally go by my gmail for the same reason, but I do have a domain name as well. Everything that’s sent to my domain name directs straight to my gmail account, and I usually reply from there. It works quite well; I have the professionalism of my own domain email on my business cards, and no one cares that I reply from a gmail address.

    Pamela – That’s right, and why would you lower your first impression if you can avoid it?

    Kelly – There’s nothing bad about any of the freebie addresses. It’s not like they’re bad email providers. It’s simply that, as you say, they don’t strike anyone as professional. Remember the days when you could use a microsoft office address and it was professional? Ah, youth . . .

    Roschelle – In all honesty, I’d recommend changing your email address for professional purposes, and keep your old one as a personal account. When I see something like rpk1975, it doesn’t strike me professionally. Go with the business card rule of thumb: if the heading of your email account would be perfectly acceptable on a business card, you’re good to go.

    Robin – bigdaddy will never get a job.

    Thursday – Dude, I love your name. I wish I was called Thursday. What a great day. And yeah, email signatures are the same deal. Perhaps next we’ll talk about what goes into the body of your emails re: professionalism.

    Deb – Hey, for personal stuff, you can use whatever makes you happy. And as for your first name + your URL, see my last few paragraphs. I think it works great to just have your first name IF you’re using your own URL. It doesn’t work as well when you’re using a common provider like gmail.

    Arafat – Use whichever one is most professional. If you’re doing work for your company, use your domain address.

    Tom – Yeah, you’d think, right? Except that apparently Google is GOD. No, in all seriousness, so many professionals use Gmail as their primary email provider in much the same way that many people use Outlook, that gmail has simply become widely respected. It’s still not as good as having your own URL, but because so many professionals use it for purely professional purposes, it’s become known for that. It’s also because gmail was designed for professional use, with things like a calendar to collaborate and Google docs and an easily-searchable contact list that’s set up for clients. They designed it for professionals, and so it’s viewed as a professional email service. Hotmail does none of these things – it was designed for personal use, and so it’s seen that way.

    Jodi – Blogs are a different thing, darling. No one’s going to email you through a blog comment, for one thing. And no one’s expecting you to have your professional hat on when you’re commenting here.

  17. @ Arafat – A spice, huh?

    If I could be a spice, which spice would I be…? Mmm, cinnamon. Warm and friendly on a cold day, but just hot enough to make your mouth tingle if you have too much. Also good with coffee, chocolate and wine.

    Or sage. Sage smells good.

    Tei would be thistle. Beautiful, tempting, attractive and… thorns. (Okay, so thistle isn’t a spice…)

    Kelly could be tumeric. Bright, yellow and not for everyone but perfect for me.


  18. Ah, OK.

    (Said in best Emily Litella voice): Never mind.


    I’d spam that inbox. 😉

    I know the trend these days is for each person to have six or seven email addresses (guilty). Would any of you professionals say that there was a time when it would be better to use a personal email for business? When personal could make a better impact than professional?

  20. Of course, sage and thistle are herbs/plants, not spices… (ducking)
    .-= –Deb´s last blog ..7 Reasons Why A Good Schedule Can Keep you On Track =-.

  21. Hmm…. Some of my readers at Freelance Writing disagree with you re: Gmail. Still not good enough, according to one or two of them. It’s easy to redirect your biz acct through gmail, so why not do it, they say… I use Gmail, myself (GWPublications@gmail) so I’m inclined to agree with you. But they did make me think twice. I could probably have my web guy do it…
    .-= Allena´s last blog ..Question: How Do You Deal With Your Portfolio/Clips? =-.

  22. Hee hee, this post sure brings back a lot of memories – I was teaching that back in 1999 in my Internet recruiting seminars!

    It astounds me how many people HAVE a domain name but choose to use their gMail account instead as their contact. I seriously cannot understand the logic behind that.
    .-= Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog ..Make Money Online Tip – Build a Facebook Fan Page! =-.

  23. James,


    Darlin’, I’m cayenne. Only for the brave.

    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Inspiration Points: Is it Possible to Give 110% to Your Customers? =-.

  24. Alex – Yeah, maybe. It’s sometimes easier to let other people break the hard news.

    James – Thistle? How very Scottish of me.

    Rose – Rawr! I’d say there is never a time when it’s BETTER to use a personal email for business. I’d say it’s OKAY to do it if you’ve been doing business with this client for over a year and you’ve become friendly enough that you could invite them out for a social drink and they would think that was totally fine.

    Allena – I would ONLY use gmail as your primary, put it on your business card email, IF you don’t have a URL. However, I’ve yet to see the client who recoiled at seeing a gmail address when you reply to their email, sent through your URL. And a lot of people don’t have a website still; gmail is acceptable for that situation.
    .-= Tei – Men with Pens´s last blog ..Is Your Email Address Losing You Clients? =-.

  25. It depends on the individuals mail settings. A friend of mine, for example, has it set to allow only specified addresses to go through while the rest are diverted to the junkmail. Some things that I sign up to or that I’m involved in specify in the beginning that I add their address to the “safe list” in my mail program so that important messages always make it through.
    .-= natural home remedies´s last blog ..Home remedy for Backache part2 =-.

  26. I use the gmail filters and labels along with a catch-all email @ my company dot com in a way that allows me to have multiple emails.

    Here’s an example : for my business goes under the support folder can be used for friends and gets tagged as such and doesn’t go to my blackberry (using the advanced imap settings in gmail) when I need to sign up for something and I don’t know if it’s going to send tons of spam my way or not

    You get the picture. For $50 a year I get to have as many emails as I want, read it all in one place and keep my mail organized.

  27. @Laurent

    That’s a great way of naming emails. I already have the first two, never thought of the last ones. Maybe I’ll try those too. Thanks for the input.

  28. @ Laurent, that is as professional as it gets.
    .-= Jay, Cover Letter Format´s last blog ..Cover Letter Tips =-.

  29. Rose, I’m with you… I’d be spamming that inbox too –

    I am guilty of only having 5 email addresses, not 7 or 8. I feel so inadequate. I do use my personal one for personal things, but it has the same URL as all my others, which is @writesmart. I figure you cannot waste any opportunity to get your trading name/brand out there. Surely we have all had jobs or opportunities come our way through friends and personal acquaintances.

    On another note, when looking for contacts/colleagues/experts in a field, sometimes blog comments are where I go. I always use my business email when posting comments.
    .-= Pamela Wilson´s last blog ..Phillip Gwynne’s successful Aussie style =-.

  30. *toddles on to read*

    …mmhm… yep… mmm…. right… yep… jamesiscinna-… WHAT?!

    *shakes head and wanders off, muttering about being cinnamon…*

  31. It was mentioned in this discussion that using blogger is as bad as a freebie email address. But I am not sure I agree in this instance.

    The thing is I have not one, but two, websites designed and paid for by professional web designers. I have a whole branding package wrapped up in this. But on the advice of my designers, I now blog on blogger and have it all linked back to the websites. I find the templates easy to work with and although I have paid to have a professional website set up, I do enjoy the fact that I don’t have to hound my designer or pay for every change made on my website.

    So, does that still count as being less professional than if one has a blog on their actual website? Naturally, website costs are far more extravagant than those for an email address.
    .-= Pamela Wilson´s last blog ..Phillip Gwynne’s successful Aussie style =-.

  32. Pamela – you need to get a WordPress site! You can do the updates yourself, easier than on Blogger, and no more hounding the designer or pay for changes.

    I have something like over a dozen email addresses… not all of them in use though.

    My business email is actually different to my url – because my url is so long ‘’ I have another domain ‘’ that redirects to my business site. So I use the shorter url for my email.

    I found that with the longer email people were more likely to make spelling errors when typing it out, it takes up a lot of real estate on business cards etc. The shorter one works a lot better.

    And since the domain redirects to my business site, if anyone types it in from my email addy then they end up where I want them anyway.

    Roschelle and Kelly – that was a damn fine year to be born. All the BEST people were born then!
    .-= Melinda | WAHM Biz Builder´s last blog ..I Won! Business Mums Network Blog Awards =-.

  33. You’re right. I just can’t believe that some people are still doing that. Who would have the impression that it’s serious business when you deal with super_butterfly@ or cuteangel_nash@. I mean, just be professional.

  34. Email is important, part of that all powerful first impression. Good post.

  35. Not only can the email name be a deterrent if it is not professional, but it is easier overall to have a separate email account for business.

    Combining personal and business into one account can only go so far before it can become a disorganized mess. I do know some people who prefer one account and would disagree with that, but I find it helpful.

  36. I completely agree with you! I was having this discussion this the other day with someone. People do judge you by your email address and tend to take you more serious if your email address matches your website url and not Yahoo!, AOL, etc. If people do choose to use their personal, I do wish they would use their name because think how ridiculous you will sound saying angeleyes@. You’re not convincing me that you are a professional, but leaving me with more questions and I’m not sure if I would stick around for the answer…
    .-= LaTosha Johnson´s last blog ..Are you more than a logo? =-.

  37. Hey Taylor,

    A insensible E-mail Id automatically draws a false impression on the person to whom your mail is intended to.

    And I completely agree with you that you are not going to get the first name email id. However we can surely use the full name. I have such email Id for my business purposes.
    .-= Ravi Kuwadia´s last blog ..Never Give Up Even When Goals Fail? =-.

  38. @ Ravi – Thankfully when you tie in your email address to your domain name, you can indeed get the Ravi@ happening!

    @ LaTosha – Yahoo emails always sound funny to me. I mean, who takes you seriously when you have ‘yahoo’ in your email? “Yeah, right, I think you’re a yahoo, too…” 😉

    @ Penny – Email and a disorganized mess… I hear you on that one. But even then, splitting up accounts into 30 different ones doesn’t really make it more efficient, does it? Ah, if only there were a perfect recipe…

    @ Josh – Taylor thanks you!

    @ Online Printing – Speaking of being taken seriously… Luckily I know who you guys are and I think you’re the only commentators I let slip through with your NAME field being “Online Printing Company”.

    Because it’s really hard to take a person seriously when they won’t give their name. Wish you’d all reconsider to stop the link-baiting techniques and write your names in there so I don’t feel silly calling you Online.

    @ Pamela/Mel – Mel’s so smart… 🙂

  39. I agree with this 100%. An obviously quirky or poor “free” email address can lose you much more business than the very small cost that there might be in having a professional one which fits in with your company/corporate image… and yet, you still see so many people that haven’t made the effort to get a proper email addres sorted out. Crazy!

  40. Lexi Rodrigo says:

    Truth be told, I don’t trust freelancers who use Gmail, either.

    If you’re going to register a domain name anyway (ugh, free websites are the worst things if you want credibility) why not create an Email account using it? It’s free with web hosting.

    .-= Lexi Rodrigo´s last blog ..Day 29: To Find Clients, Give Away Useful Stuff =-.

  41. Oh you hit on one of my major pet peeves!! I was involved in a small start up company that had several partners in the business. I set up our domain for the company, got everyone their PROFESSIONAL email addresses ( and NO ONE would use them! They all still used their old AOL addresses and some even used (get ready for this) old emails from previous businesses! One of them set up a new email that went something like this: ARGH! I tried and tried to explain to them why this was so not good, but to no avail. It used to drive me nuts! Luckily, I’m not with the company anymore, so I no longer have to see their email addresses anymore. But your post gave me flashbacks to a very frustrating experience.
    .-= Momblebee´s last blog ..Are You Walking or Crossing the Personal Line on Your Blog? =-.

  42. @ Momblebee – Ahh, the “But I explained it!” I know. I have those moments too. Then I sit back and think, “Well, I’d better find another way to explain it, hadn’t I?”

    @ Lexi – You don’t trust me?! *cries* Oh, wait. I have a real email that hides my Gmail. Gotcha. 😉

  43. James,
    oh, you don’t know…some people just simply can’t open their minds to actually listen and hear and understand what others are saying. Needless to say, this was a big reason why I no longer work with these people.
    .-= Momblebee´s last blog ..Are You Walking or Crossing the Personal Line on Your Blog? =-.

  44. James wrote ‘splitting up accounts into 30 different ones doesn’t really make it more efficient, does it?’

    Maybe not 30 but I have around a dozen email addresses which I forward to a Gmail-account. The benefit is that I can filter the mail in Gmail depending on the email address used. Much easier for me to deal with than having everything in the same batch.

  45. @ Bengt – Ooh! I never thought of THAT one, that’s awesome! I’m going to try that now, actually – which’ll also tell me what email people are using most, and who’s using it most. Great!

  46. You can sort emails quite efficiently using Outlook as well. Around 80-90% of my emails are sorted automatically as soon as I download them in Outlook.
    .-= Melinda | WAHM Biz Builder´s last blog ..Free Offer from Psychotactics – Brain Alchemy Masterclass =-.

  47. Taylor, should Screenwriters, Poets and Authors use a professional email address?
    .-= Omar´s last blog ..REJECTIONS REJECTIONS REJECTIONS =-.

  48. I’ll put my hand up and say I have a gmail account but my emails are forwarded from a different URL. I am logged into my gmail account all day and as things like Google Social Search comes into play (in experimental mode at the moment), I think it will be important to have a gmail account. I feel it has more credibility than Hotmail or Yahoo. Shoot me 🙂

  49. I use a yahoo email address because I have a VERY common name, and it was impossible for me to get anything close to resembling my real name at gmail. I mean, I would have add to add my zip code or something to my entire name to get an email address at gmail. I’ve had the yahoo account for a decade, and it does use my real name, so I figure at least it’s got that going for it.

    But yeah, I need to set up a real URL at some point, not just my WordPress blog, and go that route with email. Too bad that most of the best versions of my name are already taken there, too. Maybe I should’ve taken my husband’s last name when I got married after all….
    .-= Jennifer L´s last blog ..Don’t tell me what your interview subject had for lunch =-.

  50. I certainly do not understand why an email address from a free provider is unprofessional.I use my gmail accountevery where and i don’t think by using this mail i am getting less response. IT’s the matter/text that counts not the email address.

  51. Now you have me wondering if I should change my e-mail address….it’s from my URL – the artist that I represent (and my husband) but I have my own blog site as well. Hmmmmm
    .-= Maria Brophy´s last blog ..Go with the flow and drop the Attitude! (I said to me) =-.

  52. I think Hotmail and Yahoo addresses definitely look unprofessional. The jury is out for me in regards to Gmail addresses. I think they are a step above the rest and if Google go ahead with Google Social Search, then a Gmail address will become increasingly important and valuable.

  53. @ Gillian – Yup, we like Gmail ourselves, and it’s pretty much been commonly embraced by the ‘business class’, as it were. At least it doesn’t sound as silly as an email that includes ‘yahoo!’ (kind of like ‘partytime’?!) or ‘hot’ (uh… no.)

    @ Maria – Well, my first thought, as a consumer, is that you own a company named “Drew Brophy.” or that Drew Brophy is an actual person. If so, or if you do, great! If you don’t… uh… you may want to consider changing that 🙂

    @ Adam – If you read the comment section, you’ll note that we pretty much support Gmail all over the place. We’re talking about the other types of free emails.

    @ Jennifer – If you do set up a real URL/email, you might be surprised what you can do with your name 🙂

    @ Paul – I hear you on the ‘logged into Gmail all day’… Me and Gmail… we’re big buddies, man.

    @ Omar – If you want a job, want to be hired, want a gig, want clients and want to be respected, yes. Because any screenwriter or actor who has an email like, “” is certainly sending a silent message that he’s not a pro, he’s a clown.

    Which you’re not, I’m sure. And even clowns need respectable email addresses.

    • I have to say though, if he had his own party entertainment business where he dressed as a clown, then would add personal touch. Customers reading this on a business card would know they were dealing with a small business that could provide personalized service. And sparkie would automatically help brand his business by that cute name. Which is better for both customer and business when the parent says one of these to her kid: “How would you like john doe to be a clown at your birthday party?” or “Wouldn’t it be fun to have Sparkie the clown come to your birthday party?”

      Sparkie could also have a regular professional address for contact with suppliers of his nose, etc 🙂
      Anyway just my 2 cents.

  54. What about Zoho email? How does that compare to gmail?

  55. @Steve – I’m afraid I have no clue. It wouldn’t be one that I’d use personally, but I’m really picky about my brand names 🙂

  56. Great article — A huge reason that Yahoo/Hotmail and the like present themselves as unprofessional is that they include *ads* in every email sent. Gmail does not place advertising in users’ outgoing emails. That alone makes a world of difference!

    (P.S., If you want to use Gmail, but keep your address at your own domain, you can use Google Apps for your domain. This lets you use Gmail’s servers/interface to manage your own domain’s email addresses, while saving you the hassle of maintaining yet another email address.)

  57. I don’t know if this was mentioned above in the comments as I didn’t read through all of them, but Yahoo (and I think Gmail) has an option that lets you use mail aliases if you can prove that you own the email address, so I can send mail from my yahoo account as any one of the 4 or 5 sites I run as “me”@””, and I then have forwarders set up on each of the sites to forward any mail sent to “me”@”” back to my yahoo account.

    Very simple and it looks very professional and keeps all my email in one place.

    .-= George Ryan´s last blog ..25 Deeply Disturbing Photoshop Manipulations =-.

  58. Ha, amen. I know what you mean, I had a client a little over a year ago, a man in his fifties, with an email address along the lines of Sugar he was a fun lad, and the job went through painlessly. But for the life of me, it was difficult to hold in everytime “Sugar” sent me an email!

    As for me, in 2001, my family bought the domain – so my email address is essentially my full name 😀 great stuff.

  59. I use my gmail address for all of my freelance work. I have my own domain name through GoDaddy and I get a free email account with that domain, but there a few reasons I don’t use it: I don’t like the web interface, the size quota is much smaller than gmail’s (which is essentially unlimited), and they charge extra for just to get IMAP and SMTP support on that single address.
    .-= James Armes´s last blog ..Using the WorkXpress API: Data Formats =-.

  60. @ The Other James – Teaser email accounts that give you just a bit and charge you for more kind of suck, in my opinion 🙂

    @ Henrik – …Sugar… *bursts out laughing!*

    @ George/Jonathan – Personally, I never did really understand how Google Apps works in regards to server emails. I use it. But then the other day I plotted out how my emails travel through my little network web of email hosts and forwards… It was… kind of scary to see email bounce around 10 times before actually getting to the inbox I read.

  61. For those with their own domain sites and a few email boxes/addresses, simply forward these to your one gmail/yahoo/hotmail account. Most email accounts will allow email forwarding including gmail/yahoo, etc.

    I have a few email addresses and need only check my main email to receive them. When responding to clients I do go to webmail of that domain, but add a bookmark or set your mail client to that account and you are one click away. Pretty easy.

  62. I currently have my domain email accounts forwarded to my gmail. I then use their smtp server to remove the gmail address from the sender address. It’s worked fine until I was locked out of gmail. I was making changes to the forwarding settings and my emails bounced back causing gmail to block me for suspected spamming. To my dismay, I found out gmail has no customer support. It is totally automated, and besides the user forums, you can expect no support if your email suddenly stops working.

    Since then I’ve been considering their business service, google apps, which offer 24/7 support for $50US a year. I’m still looking for other options but this incident was a wake up call.

  63. If I worked full time as a freelancer then yeah, I’d finally get around to ditching yahoo but for now I’m keeping it even though I’ve known for a long time that I shouldn’t. For my full time job we all have business addresses which works fine for the office. I’m sure my yahoo address has lost more than a few potential clients but the F/T job makes them less than vital to begin with. If someone wants to work with me then great, if not, oh well (when my view on this changes so will my email).

    Personally, I think just as poorly of gmail as I do of any of those others. Sure, it doesn’t sound as silly as HOTmail or yahoo but what goes through my head regardless is the simple fact that they didn’t think enough of their business (which they are invested F/T to) to bother paying for a unique address. I think gmail gets a better image for now simply because it hasn’t been around as long. Give it some time though, it’s rapidly becoming the next hotmail as it deserves.

    Funny thing, I do a LOT of going out of business ads and almost every company that sends me a logo does so via their gmail address.

  64. Eric Spittle says:

    My two cents:

    On my resume I use my First.Last@gmail instead of my company e-mail address. The reason for this is quite simple, I’m afraid that a company will see that I’m a freelance designer and automatically assume that I’m looking for work while business is slow and as soon as business picks up I will quit. Obviously if I’m applying to work at Pizza Hut this really isn’t a big consideration of theirs, but for a professional company without as high of a turnover rate I feel like this distinction could potentially be important. I’m sure that most companies wouldn’t consider this, but for the one that does I’d rather err on the side of caution.

    Also, personally I agree that Gmail is much more professional than the others. It is an e-mail service designed for professionals, it tightly integrates into calendar and docs, and as soon as wave is out of beta it will also integrate with that as well. It isn’t the same as hotmail or yahoo by any stretch of the imagination, the only thing it shares is the cost, and if it didn’t nobody would use it.

    I also use GMail to handle all of my e-mail tasks, it is far superior to Horde or Squirrel. Everything from gets tagged to that address, another, etc. I can also send mail from GMail using any of those addresses, so it works out perfectly for me. The only complaint I have is that I can’t link both of my GMail accounts (I have a regular one that I’ve had for a long time using a nickname from when I was in school and my First.Last), but since I do a lot of web-design anyways and am constantly doing compatibility testing I use Chrome (my primary personal use browser) for all of the business e-mails, and FireFox for my personal e-mail, and then can stay logged into both at all times.

  65. In as much as some people would like to use a personalized email address in their resume to highlight one of their best qualities, such as or, they simply don’t know how to go about it. On the other hand, some people get carried away and create silly email addresses which end up costing them the job they might have gotten otherwise. Will you hire an otherwise qualified person if his email address is A wise choice may get you a job and while bad one may hurt you.

  66. I’m not sure just how professional gmail looks to everyone. Here in Japan, Yahoo is still huge, and I have a feeling that gmail may not cut it as much as Yahoo. However, I’m going to go ahead and make a new gmail address anyway, using my first and last names, and see how that goes. Because, as you can see, my current gmail address just doesn’t sound professional at all. 😡

    Thanks for a well-written article and yet another reminder that professionalism is all-important to be taken seriously in… well, professional circles. 🙂


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Angela Shetler, Todd Rutherford and Troy Manning, Business Coaching. Business Coaching said: Is Your Email Address Losing You Clients? […]

  2. […] and if my email was just Steve@ then it would work! This is another, less sophisticated example; Personalization of your sales message is very important and most people don't do it. You persona…se you can add the name field tag of the autoresponder to the message. Very few people actually take […]

  3. […] to be a problem for many a freelancer out there. People that I have taken semi-seriously on the phone instantly lose my respect if I find out their email is something silly, or if they have a free […]

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