Like most CFO’s, I work with outside consultants, some that run their own shops. Far too often I get emailed by them from their personal email and the email itself if not reflective of the professionalism they are supposed to project. Sccrmom86 is probably descriptive of something, and I assume the 86 is your year of birth, but when you are proposing to do $50K of IT services, I bet you can do better.

I acknowledge that this is often just a matter of taste. Every once and a while, I get a comment about my Hotmail email address. One of the main reasons why I use it instead of Gmail is that it is not blocked in China and Gmail is. Some people seem to think that Hotmail is some form of “inferior” email, which I find quaint. This is partially from the viral release method that Google used and partially because Hotmail was one of the first mass public email systems. When it first came out, the web-based HTML (HoTMaiL was how they spelled their name) that was not connected to an ISP was new and bold. But because it is from an older time before the more modern Internet and because it was used by spammers and neophytes to the web, it gained an aura around it. Not quite as bad as, but something that triggers a reaction.

I have been using a Hotmail address since 1997. I am not 100% sure if that is before or after Microsoft bought them that year.. My very first internet email address was on Genie and I can find it in the very early 1990’s via Google search. I had an @home address and a Comcast address. I had moved and lost access to my internet provider email address and that is why I decided that I wanted an address that did not link to an ISP and that is why I picked hotmail.

Google ran a very clever campaign when they introduced gmail – it was invite only at the start and each user received a limited number of invites, so it was rare to get one. The actual email system was quite robust compared to most out there because it incorporated Google search. This created extra hype around having a address even though it was just an address. Like Beverly Hills or other famous places to live, took on an extra cachet. Now, of course, anyone can get a address and Google gains so many emails to mine and search in return for providing the “free” service. Google has built a big business hosting email for companies, many no longer own their own servers, it is done by Google.

I have a Gmail address and was in the process of switching over to it as my main email with my Hotmail being used to sign up for things on the web (to steer spam that way) when Google stood firm against the Chinese government and started to get blocked by them. Today, if you do not turn on a VPN, it is hard to get Gmail inside China.

I also had discovered something interesting. I had used my Hotmail address for years to sign up for every drawing or other registration that was out there. I had thought that the email would get flooded by spam and what I have discovered is that Hotmail has a very good background system to filter out the spam. I had to use my Hotmail email address as my personal one inside China if I wanted to consistently receive emails when they were sent instead of time shifted to when I turned a VPN on. Microsoft has also rebranded Hotmail to to match with their email client.

What this experience taught me is to disregard the immediate reaction I feel towards the domain. Silly or inappropriate addresses still trigger a reaction, but the domain not so much. means that the person used dial-up Internet and maybe was the real person behind Sleepless in Seattle (you got mail). Dial-up means they were early to using the Internet and have a long history behind them.

It also has caused me to recognize the power of brands and their reputation. The fact that the domain name in an email address, which is a pretty pedantic item, can still cause an emotional reaction is a sign of the power of branding and the importance of your reputation.

Finally, I much prefer emails from businesses that tie into the name of the person. It makes it much easier to remember and use than initials or some description. You can tag your title and address in the signature block of your emails, no need to make it part of the actual address. If your address is just your initials, it might be shorter but it makes it harder to remember.

All of this advice is for business related emails. Personal email addresses are different and can and should reflect your personality. Be careful if you use several aliases that actually go into your personal email box, as you don’t want to accidentally send out a personal email address to a business contact. Also be aware that applying for a job is not personal and I suggest using a more professional email address.