When I started off as a freelance writer, the first thing I did was create a Gmail address exclusively for my writing. Wait, no, the first thing I did was pour myself a refreshing beverage and had a light nap. After I was fully rested and re-hydrated, though, I got to hustling.
Eventually I started working with a certain major TV network to develop some editorial content for them (nope, not NBC) and I had to request a ton of celebrity interviews. Well, guess what: Some places, especially those with a high volume of requests, will automatically filter out all emails from free email servers. Your Gmails, your Yahoos, your Hotmails (really?) and such won’t even show up on the radar or inboxes of these types of places.
It’s a real obstacle that exists for small businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals trying to get their hustle on. It’s unfortunate and discouraging, but it’s true: Email discrimination is a very, very real thing.
I wasn’t really aware of this until I started making requests under that email address. When I asked for the company to make me an official email address — which they did, eventually — there was a huge difference in how often I heard back from folks I was reaching out to. It’s clichéd to say, but it was night and day, and almost insultingly so.
But think of it like this: Your email address is one of your initial opportunity to make a first impression on the recipient. And the older the email service is, the less likely it is to show up at all and the more likely it is to be a bit of a joke if it does. It’s human nature. I mean, when I get an email from someone with an AOL address — and yes, they still exist and, yes, some celebrities still have those — it either makes me chuckle at first or gives me pause. I’m not necessarily reading anything into it, but I notice it.
And you notice, it too.
So what should you do? LinkedIn has a recent post on this topic as well, and it suggests hitting up GoDaddy.com and investigating its rates. It runs from $16 per year for a single address to $32 per year for five of them.
From that LinkedIn post:
There is simply no reason not to have a unique email address that reminds people about your brand. And every time you send an email from one of your email accounts, you’re telling the recipient your domain name and encouraging them to visit your website.
So, at least look into it — because you never know what business you’re missing out on because of this one little simple thing.
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.