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.
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.
Another easy to remember email name format but, again you run into the issues of duplication at some point.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. My second preference would be firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org" than it is to say "my email address is email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org".
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. email@example.com
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) to forward to the individuals personal email address (email@example.com). 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 that position.
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.
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. EdwardLewis@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. firstname.lastname@example.org
2004-06-12 - Further discussion and comments are welcome at WebmasterWorld...
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