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@GMail.com is the new @AOL.com

I get unsolicited solicitations from search marketing companies all the time. Lately, they come with gmail addresses. I wonder if the gmail address is the new AOL address? We used to joke, “nothing says professional like an AOL email address” and these days I’m thinking the same thing about gmail.

What I think when I see a gmail address :

GMail says Fly By Night: the domain can change but the contact stays the same. Today it’s MoreTrafficForYou.biz, the next day that is gone and same*guy@gmail.com is coming out of TopChartsSearchTraffic.info. He can keep working, even if the boiler room can’t keep the domain of the Attorney General’s list, the critical blogosphere, the consumer alerts, etc.

GMail says I Share Your Info: He uses a gmail address so anything you write to him is indexed by Google, forever. Did he menton your domain in his email? Now everything you say is linked to your domain. His name (and email) are already associated with your domain in the Google index. Forever. Ever look at what Google did with the old Usenet posts of yesteryear? Google indexed them and made them freely accessible to anyone searching. Back in the old days, when schools used social security numbers as student ID numbers, and student ID numbers as user accounts? Yup. Google presents it all for scammers and identity thieves to peruse. And Google won’t clean it up, either. GMail says danger.

Gmail says Lazy: Professional Internet business people have mail servers or professional mail services. Not Yahoo mail, not Hotmail, and not peoplepc.com. They have professional services because they need to be reliable. Trustworthy. They have to make sure they have backups in place, and at least an awareness of email interruptions via monitoring. Business people are trusted for the decisions they make. When they decide to rely on hotmail for their email, what does that say about their decision making? If they choose GMail over their own domain email, what does that say about their decision making? I think it says lazy, or cheap/uncommitted, or foolish. Note: This does not apply to technical workers, and independent communications such as I might use in my professional (non-client) activities. GMail is modern and on the edge of tech, so it can actually be a good signal that shows someone is up to date, staying involved, watching closely. But in those cases, the context and other clues tell the story even if the gmail address is acceptable.

I know GMail has conversation threading (I also know GMail makes decisions about what emails to keep, and what to throw away no matter how you feel about it). I know it’s convenient. I know it’s free. So what? Why should I not have these off feelings when I see a gmail email address?

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5 Responses to “@GMail.com is the new @AOL.com”

  1. IncrediBILL Says:

    No no, gmail.com is the new hotmail.com which was the previous aol.com replacement. I think the point is that “free email address = trouble” in your inbox.

    However, the one thing you glossed over is that many people frustrated with spam have jumped on the Gmail and Yahoo Mail bandwagon. You really can’t fault people that are just trying to get away from the damn spam as that doesn’t make them lazy or unprofessional, that makes them taking proactive steps to be productive in a spam-ridden environment where nobody seems interested in stopping the problem at the source, and yes, it can be stopped.

  2. Peter Davis Says:

    Kind of like the way Adsense doesn’t exactly scream “quality website” anymore. eh?

  3. Blake Says:

    If a private ISP/software combo could compete with gmail for threading and reliability, I’d use it. But it doesn’t.

  4. Jeff Loiselle Says:

    Yup, I’m with IncrediBill. I have a bunch of addys but they all forward to GMail so I dont get any damned spam.

  5. Benjamin Says:

    I admit to using gmail. I also have about 10 personal email addresses and over 65 domains with email addresses. I agree with your thoughts on this matter but for some it doesn’t really matter. If in doubt re:privacy I just send it via another account.

    Everyone is different, if your new and needed the work/rep, then get a decent email address.

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