I noticed this post initially because I can’t think of a single contact of mine with an aol.com address. I used to help a friend with AOL about five years ago, but eventually, she switched to Yahoo and forwarded her AOL account.
Lifehacker turned an interesting phrase by asking “What’s Your Email Prejudice?”, which totally rang true for me. You can tell (or assume, anyway) a lot about someone based on an email address, or more specifically, its domain.
In this case, I’m referring to consumer domains, i.e. webmail and for-pay inboxes provided by ISPs like AOL, Comcast, etc. not to work domains.
The more I thought about this, I realized that I expect a GMail account when vetting resumes or candidates for work or other collaboration. Frankly, an address on a personal domain is probably highest on the list, then GMail.
After that, they all seem pretty equal, maybe with aol.com at the bottom. Tough to tell really. I can’t recall the last time I came across that domain in a professional situation. I still see some yahoo.com and a few hotmail.com, but it feels like pretty much everyone has GMail.
Obviously, I work with a much geekier crowd than average, so I doubt my prejudices are typical.
I don’t usually notice the account name, not sure why, just the domain.
Looking back at my history of consumer webmail accounts, I can trace an interesting trajectory. I started out with Excite (mailexcite.com) and Hotmail (before they were acquired by Microsoft) addresses, then added yahoo.com and now I use GMail primarily.
Unlike most people, I never sent an announcement that I was moving, I just left the old accounts open and started communicating from the new account.
Everyone should have at least two email addresses e.g. a private account for real communication and one for potentially spammy situations that require a valid email. So, I don’t see a huge need for a moving email, unless the old service isn’t free (like AOL), and you plan to nuke the inbox.
Anyway, I find this fascinating, and I wonder why I hadn’t thought about it in the past. Email addresses, both the account and domain, are interesting sociological studies and can create impressions all by themselves.
Find the comments and share your email prejudices.