Should I use hotmail / gmail / yahoo etc for my business email?

When you are starting your new business you will need an email address. As a small, startup company it can be tempting to go for the quick, cheap and easy solutions. Is it a good idea to use one of the free email services like hotmail, gmail, yahoo etc as your company email?

My answer is no. I normally don’t recommend it for several reasons. The free services are great for private use, but not for business.

  • Buying your own domain name is cheap.
  • Your own domain name will also market your business name, making it easier for your clients to remember you.
  • It gives you a more trustworthy appearance towards your clients, when you are not building your business on a free service, sharing the domain name with thousands of others.
  • Hotmail, for example, has very “trigger happy” spam filters which means you will most certainly find legitimate emails from a new sender in the spam folder along with real spam emails. You have to tell Hotmail that this was not a spam to “teach” it not to put emails from this sender again in the spam folder. To make sure you don’t miss important business emails you will have to check your spam folders on an hourly basis.

I had a client who lost several assignments because of legitimite client requests ending up in the spam folder at Hotmail. When the emails was found in the Hotmail spam folder, the assignments had already gone to competitors.

We switched the client over to using a domain name of their own, hosted at a hosting company targeting businesses, with spam filters that were a bit more allowing. Meaning, sometimes a spam would end up in the inbox but legitimite emails never ended up in the spam folder.

The client was very used to the Hotmail interface, so we just connected the new email account with their own domain name email account, at the new hosting provider, throught IMAP to the Hotmail account.

This way they could continue to work in the Hotmail (or Outlook OWA) interface with their new email account under their own domain name. So they now just used Hotmail as their “email program” because they were used to it.

When replying to emails sent to their own domain name, the own domain name email account was automatically used for the reply. Only when writing a new email they have to select the account with their own domain name (otherwise, by default, the new email is sent from the Hotmail account).

 

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