Call me judgemental, but whenever I get business email from someone using a HotMail.com address I can't help but wonder why ? [What's even worse: Folks that use what sounds like a family email address like email@example.com for their business correspondnece]
If you're one of those people still using HotMail.com and wondering right now "is it really that big a deal?", let me be the first to tell you: YES. It's an image issue. For the same reason you likely shouldn't scribble your phone number on the back of your dry cleaning receipt when you meet someone at a business conference (that's what business cards are for), you shouldn't email from a HotMail.com address. For personal contacts, anything is just fine. For business purposes, It just doesn't make the right impression.
Note: This is a public service announcement. I do not sell email hosting services, domain registration services and have nothing against HotMail.
In my opinion, businesses should have their own domain name (ex: mycompany.com) and an email address on that domain ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). This does two things: Gives you a professional image, and further solidifes your brand. Note: This does not mean you have to necessarily use paid emailing hosting services. Gmail works great and will let you pull in your email from just about any third-party service.
I tried to think of the possible reasons (excuses) some people still use when trying to argue why they don't have an email address like email@example.com
5 Lame Excuses For Still Using Hotmail.com For Business
1. I already know HotMail: Sure, but there were people that "already knew" how to use a fax machine a long time ago as well. Times change. Doesn't hurt to learn new things.
2. I don't need more features: How do you know until you try? I challenge you to setup a free Gmail account and use it exclusively for a week (more on this later). The features are simply stellar. Some of them are so good, you'll wonder how you lived without them.
3. I don't have my own domain: If you are a business person, you need your own domain. Period. If you can't justify the $20/year to create some semblance of a professional image for yourself, I think you're being short-sighted and not taking your business seriously. I don't care if you are 12 years old and have a lemonade stand. Get your own domain name.
4. I don't have the technical expertise: You must know at least one person that can spend 15 minutes with you to help you setup a domain with email. If not, you need to expand your pool of friends and colleagues.
5. Everyone already knows my Hotmail.com address: Sure. But you can still accept emails to your old address indefinitey. Just start using your new and people will slowly switch over. There's no sense in furthering the problem any longer (i.e. it won't get easier).
Do you have any other lame excuses you've heard from friends that are still using HotMail for business? (I'm assuming if you're reading this article that you're not one of "those" people). If so, please leave them in the comments. If you are one of those people that has this problem, you can confess in the comments. That's the first step towards mending your errant ways.
Originally published Dec 17, 2007 12:55:00 PM, updated July 28 2017