If you’re not careful you can get scammed on Craigslist – but I bet I don’t have to tell you that.
One common scam deals with buying used cars from a private seller.
A buyer will find a car on Craigslist, go out to see the car and when they look closer find that there’s something funny going on with the car’s title.
Maybe the title is in another person’s name.
Or it looks fake.
Or maybe the seller has a outlandish story for why they don’t have the title at the moment – but they’ll get it to you soon after you pay them.
The title to a car is really important. If you don’t own the title, you don’t really own the car.
Just like your car, it’s important to secure ownership of your crucial business tools – like your company’s email address.
If you don’t use your domain name in your email address, you don’t own your email.
Sometimes businesses will try to save money by using a free email address for their business instead of using a branded email address with their domain name.
Some examples of what you shouldn’t use: firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com
(Compare those to a branded email like firstname.lastname@example.org)
Clearly, branded email addresses look more professional, but that’s not the point of this email.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that somebody else actually owns their free email address.
email@example.com is owned by Verizon, not the business owner. firstname.lastname@example.org is owned by Google.
I’ve run across a few people that want to switch phone carriers but can’t because if they cancel their Verizon plan they’ll lose their email address.
Losing their email means switching to a new one with no way to forward any of the previous emails – which is devastating for a business.
And Verizon knows this, that’s exactly why they offer those free email addresses – it’s not out of the goodness of their heart – it’s because they know that it’ll be harder to switch your email than cancel your plan.
Plus, what happens if an email provider stops providing email as a service?
It’s risky to trust that any company is going to be around forever. Gmail probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but do you want to risk putting one of your most important business assets, your email address, in someone else’s possession?
The Takeaway: Don’t try to save money on your business’s email address. Use your branded domain name and keep complete ownership.