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The World Is Judging You, and You Don’t Even Know It

March 10, 2021
·
Ammar Kubba
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·
March 10, 2021
·
Ammar Kubba

Are you still using an @aol 🙈, @hotmail 🙉, or @yahoo 🙊 email address? If you answered “yes,” I’m sorry, you might as well resign yourself to a life of ridicule and shame.

Am I exaggerating? Maybe. Am I serious? Absolutely.

Your email address matters. It enters the room before you do and stays long after you leave. Whether you (or they) know it, people are judging you based on those letters after the @ sign. Besides your name, your email address is the single most important personal identifier you have. It follows you everywhere you go. Online. Offline. It’s always there.

And I’m gonna let you in on a little secret – there’s a hierarchy of email addresses that I use to judge people, and I’m not the only one. I made this chart for your reference:

ProviderWhat I Assume About You
AOLYou have the technical prowess of Socrates, but without the insight or intellect.
Hotmail / OutlookYou were probably fun to hang out with in your younger days, but now you’re “that guy,” desperately hanging on to his youth, sporting a combover, and driving a convertible sports car.
YahooYou're a glutton for punishment and you enjoy your email getting hacked. You might believe the earth is flat.
GmailYou were cutting edge at one point. Now you're just like everybody else.
Apple (@me, @icloud, @mac)You're quirky, possibly a tad bit elitist, and you're constantly trying to convince your friends to ditch their Android phones.
Alumni / SchoolYou want everybody to be impressed with your alma mater. Yes, it's great that you went to Harvard, but maybe you don't need to remind me of that every time I open my inbox – especially given that I'm still bitter I wasn't accepted there.
ISP (@comcast, @att, etc.)You're too lazy to set up a free email address that you don't have to change every time you move, so you probably don't have many friends.
Branded (@kubba.com, @afterthought.com)You're smart, I want to work with you, and I want to be your best friend forever 🥰.

I may be an asshole for prejudging you, and that’s okay. My system works more often than not.

So, other than avoiding the tyranny of prejudgement, what else can a branded email do for you?

  1. A branded email allows you to brand yourself rather than Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft. Every email you send is an opportunity to promote your brand. It’s like a business card that you don’t have to hand out.
  2. A branded email conveys credibility and instills trust. It tells people you’re a professional.
  3. A branded email is memorable. You’re a lot more likely to remember john@doe.com or john@acme.com than john_d0e_2016@gmail.com or MyAcmeLV@yahoo.com. Be unforgettable.
  4. A branded email is yours for life. Regardless of where you move to, which company you work at, or what email provider is in vogue, people will know how to reach you because your email address won't change.

On the flip side, having a commonplace, forgettable – or even worse – a bad email address could actually be holding you back in life.

You may be missing out on job opportunities. Just because my nickname growing up was Ammar Bizarre, I’m not sure I would’ve gotten the law school internship with Judge Calvin K. Ashland of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court using AmmarBizarre@yahoo.com. “Your Honor, Ammar Bizarre reporting for duty” doesn't command a whole lot of respect. In your case, just because Old School is your favorite movie, you probably don’t want to use FrankTheTank@gmail.com on your Goldman Sachs application. I routinely prejudge and make assumptions about job applicants – and pretty much everybody else – based on their emails. I just can’t help myself.

You may not be receiving important, misdirected emails. How many times have you mistyped john_d0e_2016? Was it johndoe2016 or j0hndoe_2016 or john_doe_2016? Don’t make it hard for people to reach you. Better yet, make it easy.

You may be missing out on dates with your future husband or wife. Picture this. You see a pretty girl in line at Starbucks. While waiting for the barista to call out your upside down caramel macchiato with a splash of oat milk, you muster up the courage to ask her out. She says “yes” and asks for your email. At that moment you don’t want you or your email to be forgettable. Fortunately, I learned this lesson early in life, and I’m pretty sure the only reason my wife agreed to go out with me was because of my email address.

The worst part is that you’ve been suffering all this time for no reason! Getting your own unique, personal, and branded email address costs next to nothing and anyone can do it. There are multiple options ranging from “it’s so easy my mom could do it” to “I should probably ask my tech-savvy buddy to help me configure the DNS.”

The good news is that you can be up and running with your new email in no time flat. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Get a domain name. This should be your personal brand, your business name, or anything else you’d want to use as your email address – I use kubba.com and afterthought.com. You can easily register your domain at any one of the many registrars. GoDaddy, Google, Namecheap, and Porkbun are all reputable companies run by great people.
  2. Set up your email address either through a hosted service your registrar offers (they all do) or, if you’re more technical, using a service like ImprovMX or ForwardEmail.net. You can always start with one method and change later. The important thing is to just set it up and start using it.
  3. Some registrars even include free email forwarding with the domain name (which takes less than a minute to set up), so you really have no excuse at this point.
  4. You can choose to receive and manage your new email through your existing email account (Gmail, Yahoo, Apple, etc.), or you can establish a new, separate inbox and keep the two independent. I prefer to manage everything from one place, so I have my free email accounts forwarding to my primary kubba.com account. This is an entirely personal preference and you should do what works for you.
  5. Start using your new branded email address with everyone you meet or interact with going forward, especially that cute guy or girl at Starbucks.

Remember, your email address matters. Do us both a favor – go brand yourself right now. You’ll be happier, you’ll be more successful, and I’ll sleep better knowing that I helped you be less forgettable. You’re welcome.

P.S. If you need help getting your domain name or setting up your email, feel free to reach out and I’ll point you in the right direction. You know where to find me.

3 comments on “The World Is Judging You, and You Don’t Even Know It”

  1. Hey Ammar,

    Sorry but I don't believe that people still exchange email addresses in line at Starbucks. We passed those days long ago. 😀

    At least I got your email now and I can email bombard you from 7391 different email addresses of mine and break your prejudgement system. 🙂

    Good thing you are writing. Keep your word coming.

  2. Hello Ammar,
    We very much like your concept here. Some Things become so common place, that We are blinded to whats really being Messaged. Great Content,and thought provoking for sure. NICE JAS
    Gratefully and respectfully, Jeff Schneider
    (CONTACT GROUP) Metal Tiger

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