Why Businesses Shouldn’t Use Free Email Providers

Email is an essential communication tool for businesses. I’ve been involved in web design for small businesses more than 20 years, and I’ve seen clients over the years using free email addresses from Gmail, Yahoo, or even AOL. While these services are free, they come with drawbacks that can have serious consequences for your business. In this blog post, I’m going to give you some solid reasons to not use free email services for your business. If you’re a business owner who uses uses free email for business communication, I hope this blog post will convince you to do otherwise.

Free Email Addresses Have No Ties to a Business’ Website Address

Let’s say you have a store named Top Warehouse that is located in the 90012 zip code in Los Angeles, and your business’ website address is topwarehouseinla.com. If you use decide to use a free email address like topwarehouseinla@gmail.com, then what makes this email any more representative of your business than topwarehouseinla2@yahoo.com, topwarehouseinla3@outlook.com, or topwarehouselosangeles@gmail.com? Nothing. They’re all free email addresses that anyone can set up. Or even worse, these alternate email addresses can be set up to impersonate your business. I haven’t seen this happen yet, but it could happen.

Now, if you decided to use an email with your company website address like info@topwarehouseinla.com, recipients know it’s coming from that business. What about spoofing? You can prevent your email from being spoofed by having a web developer authenticate your email with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC TXT records. You can also authenticate email addresses using your domain name if you’re using 3rd party services to send emails on your behalf (Constant Contact, MailChimp, Quickbooks Online, etc).

Your Choices for Email Addresses Are Limited With Free Email Providers

If you’re using a free email service provider, it’s likely that you won’t get the email address that you want, so you end up settling for an email address like topwarehouselosangeles2@gmail.com, topwarehousela1985@icloud.com, or topwarehouse90012@yahoo.com. You may be think these email addresses look ridiculous and that no one would every use them, but I’ve seen and still see email addresses like these.

If you use an email address using your own domain name, you can have any email address that you want. In addition, it’s likely that you’ll need more than one email address for your business. If that’s case, you can create more email addresses. Going back to the Top Warehouse example, you could have email addresses like:

and so on.

Free Email Addresses Are Unprofessional

Going back to our example company, let’s put a free email address next to an email address which uses the company’s domain name:

info@topwarehouseinla.com or topwarehouse90012@yahoo.com

What looks more legitimate to you? You may think I’m over-exaggerating by adding a zip code to the end of the Yahoo email address, but I have had clients that use email addresses like this.

I receive several emails a day from Gmail addresses from “people” offering various services. When I get these types of emails, the first place that I look is the from field:

Look at the Gmail address in the from field.

Whenever I see free email addresses like the above being used for business, I’m instantly turned off and you should be, too. Why? Because anyone can get a free email address like this. I don’t know where this person is located or even where he/she works. I offer Google My Business Management (GMB) services, and Gmail is used all the time for scams and attempts to steal ownership access. Here is an example of fraudulent GMB ownership request:

Google My Business Fraudulent Ownership Request by a Gmail Email Address

It takes little effort to create a free Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook email address, and you can’t authenticate that email address to prove that it is linked to a company website.

In contrast, email addresses using your business’ domain name are professional. They demonstrate that the business is willing to pay for a domain name and an email provider. As mentioned previously, email addresses using your business’ domain name can also be authenticated to prove that they came from the business as you can see in the following screenshot:

For Gmail and Outlook Users

If you are a fan of Gmail, you could always use Google Workspace. It is Gmail, but it’s Gmail without ads and with an email address using your own domain name. If you don’t want to use Google Workspace, you could use Microsoft 365. If you don’t want to pay for a subscription to either of those providers, lots of web hosting providers also offer email hosting at no additional charge.

In Conclusion

So, there you have it. If you are using a free email address for your business, I hope I changed your mind. If you liked this post, please share it on social media. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to comment below. Thanks for reading my blog post!

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