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Your E-mail Address can Make or Break You

November 22, 2000

The e-mail address you use in your correspondence says volumes about you — especially if the message you transmit is of commercial nature. Use a free web e-mail service to send a solicitation, and the return address will raise a red flag at the recipient's end as if the e-mail came from a spammer. (Spammers are individuals or companies who dispatch unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE) to Internet users' e-mail inboxes). Most e-mail I have received and have return addresses of free web e-mail services, come from spammers.

Spammers use free web mail services to send out bulk e-mail or UCE; they do this to prevent Internet Service Providers from canceling their Internet accounts. While providers of free e-mail services also cancel accounts of UCE offenders, these perpetrators have habits of moving to other e-mail service providers after their accounts are cancelled.

If you are spammer and think that you'll continue to hop from one service provider to another with the intention to broadcast UCE, you are digging your own grave. You are telling the business and consumer worlds that your business model is not long-term, and that you just want to make a quick buck and disappear. Who would want to buy from a company that will not be there tomorrow? I don't, and many online users carry the same sentiment.

Some legitimate businesses also use free web e-mail services in their correspondence. This makes me wonder why reputed businesses use free web e-mail accounts in their communications. If you are one of these businesses, you are, to my humble opinion, identifying yourself like spammers do. If you have to use web e-mail from remote sites for your business, create your own web mail that bears your domain name. When you use your own domain name, you promote the brand of your business rather than that of another company.

If you send business e-mail with a return address that carries your domain name, the message bares some credibility, or at least, it shows that the message is from a reliable source or an established business. When you, however, broadcast business e-mail from a popular free web e-mail service, you risk the perception of your message as if it comes from a spammer - especially if you send a solicitation for the first time to prospective clients who do not know you.

Joseph Nchor,


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