Jan 06, 2012

How much of a stigma is there to use of a web-based email address?

Whether the use of a web-based email in a business context gives an unprofessional impression was the topic of a casual debate with a few co-workers over lunch. We all agreed that the use of a hotmail or yahoo account in business would cause us to notice it in a negative way. However, the was no such agreement on gmail. While we all felt that it looks more professional to use a yourcompany.com email for business, there was a difference of opinion on gmail for some reason. For the most part we all felt that it wouldn't cause us to raise an eyebrow (at least not very high) if someone had a gmail addy on their business card. Are we out there on this? And really, why would gmail be ok while hotmail and yahoo would be viewed so negatively?


In general, it's fine to have an individual email account @gmail/hotmail/yahoo/etc. - even if someone's using it for their "work" address (enough people switch jobs frequently enough to want to have something "portable" for maintaining professional connections). However, when you're trying to say "this is my business'es email address", it just looks shady to not have a @business.TLD address. By itself, use of a web mail service provider, such as Google, Microsoft or the like isn't necessarily cause for stigma (specifically "distrust"). However, given how cheap it is to get a domain name, and how cheap and easy it is to get that domain hosted by a webmai provider such Google, Microsoft or the like, it looks amaturish: if the company can't be bothered to spend a couple bucks a year for just a domain and a Google Apps (et. al.) account, what else can't they be bothered to do?



I suspect it's because Gmail is considered to be a better email service than hotmail or yahoo these days. Obviously not everybody feels that way, but I think a lot of people do as many have moved from hotmail or yahoo to gmail.

Generally speaking, I don't care which email service people use. It's none of my business. As long as I can easily communicate with them then I'm fine with it. It's really their choice and as long as it doesn't affect business then let them use whatever they want.
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