|August 13, 2004
Email Address Formats
I've worked in the Advertising and Marketing industries since 1990. During that time
I've had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of clients. One of my many client
responsibilities is the managing of email. Over the years, I've set up thousands of
email addresses for personal, business and corporate use.
While there is no standard for the formatting of email addresses, there are suggested
e-mail name formats that are more professional in presentation. I'm going to list a few of
those here along with the pros and cons of each one.
Email Address Examples
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com)
This is probably the easiest of email name formats to remember. Unfortunately, you are
limited to one unique first name. This may be suitable for smaller businesses with less
than 10 employees. Even then, duplication is imminent.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com)
Another easy to remember email name format but, again you run into the issues of
duplication at some point.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com)
This format may be somewhat awkward as we tend to remember people by their first name and
not their last. While this format is acceptable, it may not be as easy to remember as
examples 1, 2 or 4.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com)
This option is my suggested email name format. It is easy to remember (in most instances)
and provides a level of uniqueness that the first three do not.
Email Address Examples with Separators
In my above examples, I've not used any separators in the names. This is another factor
to consider when establishing a business or corporate email address policy. Here are some
examples of how separators may be used in email names.
My personal preference is to use firstname.lastname@example.org. My second
preference would be email@example.com. Of the four examples
provided, these two options are the easiest to remember. I would not suggest using
hyphens or underscores in email addresses due to usability issues.
It is much easier to say "my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
or email@example.com" than it is to say "my email
address is firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com".
Note: If you utilize underscores in your email addresses, note that
the underscore becomes obscured when the email address is linked (with underline). There
are many who may think this is a space instead of an underscore: firstname.lastname@example.org
Choosing Email Address Formats
You should choose one format and utilize that as the standard email name format for
your company. There may be times where you have two individuals with the same name.
This can be tricky and should be given careful consideration.
Company Representatives - Personal Email Addresses
If you have outside representatives for the company, I strongly suggest that you do not
allow them to utilize their own personal email addresses. There are many reasons for this.
That individual is representing your company. All communications
between the representative and the prospect/client should be done in a professional manner
using your corporate identity.
Email addresses are part of your corporate identity package. You can easily set
up the business email address (email@example.com) to forward to the individuals personal email address
(firstname.lastname@example.org). In fact, most will do this. This is an
excellent option as it allows you to retain full control over all business email. If
that representative leaves your company, you can then change the forwarding email address
so that any existing prospects/clients are redirected to the representative who has filled
I would like to reiterate that as a business or corporation, email address formats are
very important in the overall marketing strategy. You want to make them easy to remember
and you want to establish a common format for email names. At no time should personal
email addresses be utilized during business communications.
Case Sensitive - Case Insensitive
Most email addresses are case insensitive although there are some systems that are case
sensitive (RFC 821 - Simple Mail Transfer Protocol SMTP).
"Commands and replies are not case sensitive. That is, a command or reply word may
be upper case, lower case, or any mixture of upper and lower case. Note that this is
not true of mailbox user names.
For some hosts the user name is case sensitive, and SMTP implementations must take case
to preserve the case of user names as they appear in mailbox arguments. Host names
(website addresses) are not case sensitive."
As a standard rule of practice, email addresses should be presented as lower case
although you can mix the case if you like (be careful here, if your email system is case
sensitive for usernames, you'll need to take that into consideration). Believe it or not,
many think that email addresses are case sensitive and will therefore utilize upper and
lower case as shown in the email address: JohnDoe@Example.com
I've seen many companies utilize the mixed case email formats. There is an added
usability feature in this option and that it is that it helps to separate
firstnamelastname email formats. When using separators like dots, hyphens or underscores,
there would be no need for mixed case, all lower case is suggested: email@example.com.
About the Author:
Edward Lewis is the Systems Administrator for the SEO Consultants Directory, your guide to find
Search Engine Marketing companies.
Email Marketing Resources:
The Step By Step Guide to
Creating and Promoting Your Ezine: (by Karon Thackston) The author walks
you step by step through every single element of creating and promoting an ezine. If
you are serious about effectively promoting your business and building profitable
relationships with your customers using email marketing read this ebook first.
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