What's in a name? Some MX records, email headers, cat pictures.
July 28, 2010 7:04 PM   Subscribe

I need a better domain name for personal and professional email, and perhaps as a landing page for people to find me on the internet. The problem is that I have an extremely generic name and all the usual suspects are taken. Please suggest or help me find something distinct and foolproof for email.

Currently, I have two email accounts. One personal and one through the university I graduated from and I believe will become a forward only type deal in a year or so. Personal email is carlos@rocketsilence.com. The problem is that while it's a bit fun and definitely unique, it's hard to get the spelling right over the phone and isn't the most professional.

Gmail and almost all email providers have all conceivable permutations of my name in use. So I'll use Google Apps with a new domain.

I've wanted to have a domain name that would serve as a little "this is me" page that links to my social stuffs, perhaps a resumé and things I've worked on. But, my name is very generic. A character actor whose claim to fame is a cameo on '24' has the firstnamelastname.com for me, and there's a MLB player on the Minnesota Twins that takes up the first three pages of Google results for the name.

Two options:

1) Create a somewhat unique but easy mail domain. The ideas I've been thinking of are of course taken, but can serve as a guide for what I'm looking for. I'd like to stick to .com or .me.


These are available...


2) Try to find a domain name that is more personal (although those choices are limited without choosing some weird TLD or adding hyphens).

I'd appreciate any practical guidance or anecdotes, as well as suggestions for domains that fit into either category. Any additional info that would be useful is probably in my profile or you can MeMail me.

The first options leads to a domain anyone can use so if the hivemind comes up with a great one and someone wants an email address there, you're welcome to it for life.
posted by cgomez to Writing & Language (42 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite


posted by circular at 7:14 PM on July 28, 2010

BTW I think "repliespromptly" and "awaitsyourreply" and "readsyouremail" are sort of odd, in an uncomfortable way. writeto.me and talkto.me are a tad better, but still come off a little bit desperate.

Do you have a good sense of humor? That could sort of guide this discussion. If you don't, you should probably mention that. Lots of quirky and even funny domain names are conceivable.
posted by circular at 7:16 PM on July 28, 2010

No one has any problems with my hyphens - I have one in my work email, alumna email, and personal domain. It's funny - the one in my actual name causes all kinds of problems in real life. I keep hoping this one sporting association in Minnesota will dissolve so I can get the .net without the hyphen, but they are annoyingly persistent. Even really non-PC savvy old people seem to handle the hyphen fine; I get lots of emails from them.

My father and stepmother got "top ten name in LA" emails. Is CXGomezState.com taken? Consider also your county, township, Zip code, etc.

But think about the hyphen. Hyphens rock and you can get very short domain names using them.
posted by SMPA at 7:17 PM on July 28, 2010

My real name isn't royalsong. But..

Song is another word for carol (like a christmas carol), and my given name is derived from carol. And my family name is a something you call royality. And

Carol Royal didn't sound interesting though. so I switched it up, and went with royalsong.
posted by royalsong at 7:24 PM on July 28, 2010

Response by poster: Do you have a good sense of humor? That could sort of guide this discussion. If you don't, you should probably mention that. Lots of quirky and even funny domain names are conceivable.

Yep. The only thing I'd worry about is that I'd have the same predicament as I do know where it's the domain is a bit jokey and isn't what I'd want on every resumé. Also, now that I think about it, the one's I had can be taken in ways I hadn't thought of.
posted by cgomez at 7:25 PM on July 28, 2010

If a major concern is whether people get the spelling right, I'd worry about "readsyouremail.com." People are always mixing up "your" and "you're."

If that's not a problem, I like "readsyouremail.com." It seems nice and inviting. The other three with .com are all too weird.

I'm still a little confused about which email addresses are and aren't available. Are the first three you listed unavailable and the next four are available?

I don't see the problem with a hyphen in your domain name.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:28 PM on July 28, 2010

and.. and.. and.. it sounds really cool! Pardon my inability to use the English language properly.
posted by royalsong at 7:30 PM on July 28, 2010

readsyouremail.com can be taken two ways. One is "hey, got your email, thanks!" and another way is "I saw that email you sent to Mark yesterday."

The latter is a sysadmin joke -- the "I read your email" T-shirt you can buy all over the internet. If you are dealing with people with experience in IT, I wouldn't go there.
posted by circular at 7:30 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have a name that is so generic sometimes people ask me if it's an alias, and what I did for my personal domain is to come up with a play on that name - nothing completely silly, just a catchphrase using the name. I kinda stay semi-anonymous on mefi, so I'll give you an analogy

last name of Brown - paintitbrown.com

do you have a nickname that is not too juvenile, in common use among your friends, and less common than your actual name? Or a hobby that is fairly lifelong and doesn't paint you as unprofessional? carloskayaks.com sounds good; carlosinbondage.com maybe not so much.

I'll nth that I don't like the repliespromptly and variant ideas. They seem a bit weird to me, frankly, and what's worth they make your domain kind of meaningless as a standalone proposition. Even if you don't think you'll make a big think of your website, it might as well be a good domain name in its own right.

Only problem with hyphenated variants is if your name is really common, even those variants might be taken and, in my experience, if there's a way to screw this up, it will be found.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:31 PM on July 28, 2010

posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:33 PM on July 28, 2010

Good point, circular, about the double meaning of "readsyouremail." In that case, I wouldn't use it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:34 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]



____finance.com (replace "finance" with any field or occupation)
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:39 PM on July 28, 2010

People never, ever, ever spell my first or last name right. When I discovered that my four-letter initials were available as a .net, I snapped it right up. Do you have any specific objection to .net? Because you could grab cgomez.net right now -- nice and short.

Do you have a middle name/initial you could use in obtaining a better .com? Like, [first initial][middle initial][last name].com.

As for hyphens, I still know tons of people (mostly older, or just self-professed "computer illiterates") who can't deal with typing a hyphen in a domain name. If it's just a question of hitting "reply" to an email you've already received, or clicking a "mailto:" link, no problem, but having to actually type it in the address bar or the "to" field in an email, forget about it.
posted by Gator at 7:41 PM on July 28, 2010

Izzlemizzle.com doesn't appear to be taken...
posted by Slinga at 7:43 PM on July 28, 2010


do you have a catchphrase or anything like that? a friend has "heyitsjohndoe.com" and that's what he says when he calls you on the phone.
posted by rhizome at 7:43 PM on July 28, 2010

Because you could grab cgomez.net right now -- nice and short.

Wow, I'd jump at that.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:44 PM on July 28, 2010

I agree that it should be something personal that relates to you, not just a generic quirky domain.

I know people who've gone to the middle initial level: joe.a.schmoe@whatever.com

Same for personal websites - joebschmoe.com

I also know a few people with exceedingly common names who started going by both first and middle name. Joseph Andrew Schmoe. josephandrewschmoe@whatever, josephandrewschmoe.com. Yes, this is a little long winded. But it's better than nothing. Probably works best if you have a shortish name. carlosjuangomez = yes, carlosemilianomatamorosiglesias = probably not.

I got my email address by adding a strategic dot. Always worth a try. Probably not for websites, though.
posted by Sara C. at 7:45 PM on July 28, 2010

Along the lines of what chester suggested:

posted by eviltwin at 8:09 PM on July 28, 2010

Response by poster: As if having a common name weren't bad enough, I don't have a middle one.

Gator confirms my fears, that many people don't know that a domain can be hyphenated and that would cause issues. And that's one reason why I'd like to stick to .com or .me to eliminate any possible confusion. There are established websites at every TLD except cgomez.net. I've registered that one just in case though.
posted by cgomez at 8:13 PM on July 28, 2010

royalsong and rhizome are on my thought track.

I would suggest a two- or three-syllable made-up word that is easy to remember and does not need to be spelled. Examples: powdersocks.com, fancypants.net, etc. Find one that is meaningful to you.
posted by yclipse at 8:28 PM on July 28, 2010

It depends what you consider "weird" in TLDs. I'm not sure .me is any less weird than .net or .org (indeed, .org is second only to .com for non country specific TLDs used on personal e-mail addresses, IME.. I know no-one with a .me). cgomez.me is available though.

Or how about cgomez.org or cgomez.us? Both available too.
posted by wackybrit at 8:32 PM on July 28, 2010

I have had a name@pobox.com address for over a decade and love it.

It's a forwarder. I actually retrieve and send email via my ISP.

Pobox.com is a nice little company that takes email very seriously.
posted by intermod at 8:32 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh, and carlosg.me and carlosg.org are also available. My own long standing personal domain name fits this pattern.
posted by wackybrit at 8:34 PM on July 28, 2010

I see you're in Santa Barbara. You could get a .la domain name, which is technically for Laos but they are specifically marketing it toward Angelinos. Something like carlos@from.la might be appropriate.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:57 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I personally use a domain that's my (admittedly short) last name, with an extension tacked on. Like, let's say my last name was Johnson:


You get the idea.

If you keep a web page, you also get the benefit of your "home" page being at www.johnsontown.com (or whatever.)

If your name is less generic, longer, or more difficult to spell, I don't recommend this approach.
posted by davejay at 9:27 PM on July 28, 2010

for what it's worth, when I say "my email address is dave@johnsontown.com", nobody ever asks me to spell it or repeat it, so I think that works pretty well.
posted by davejay at 9:28 PM on July 28, 2010

cgomez.net works fine as a neutral professional sounding domain. The problem can be avoing a tautological email address e.g. cgomez@cgomez.net. Having only an initial is actually helpful here as you could be carlos@cgomez.net. I met someone once who came up with a smart solution. His email was mailme@firstnamelatname.net. Distinctive, easy to remember and pretty foolproof.

Don't forget about email catcthalls. If you own the domain its easy to set up email so anything sent to @cgomez.net ends up in your inbox. The downside of this is ending up getting spammed at commonfirstname@cgomez.net. The sensible thing to do is to set it up in conjunction with email filtering so you can operate a blacklist that bounces emails sent to a certain address. So you can add, say, john@cgomez.net to the list if you start getting spammed.

Some people take it a stage further to create onetime email addresses unique to the sender. So you could happily give out dodgywebsite@cgomez.net safe in the knowledge that if they turn out to be dirt bags, who will sell your email address at the drop of a hat, you can just blacklist this address and leave mail from everyone else unaffected.
posted by tallus at 9:49 PM on July 28, 2010

Do you watch Freaks and Geeks?

posted by jstarlee at 9:57 PM on July 28, 2010

Response by poster: pobox.com looks great but if I'm going to spend $20/year on email, I'd rather than a domain that I can control. It's looking like cgomez.net is a winner, and tallus makes a good point that my first name at the start of it would actually makes sense because it would explain the "c" part of it.

As a fallback, I'd love to hear suggestions for a generic mail domain without the name that could be used with carlos@.com that aren't registered. For some reason I'm still hoping for something bland enough to keep it professional but is somewhat clever for this since the ideal canonical personal domain choice is gone. And for some ridiculous reason, I still like .com and .me.

Just remembered I registered grumpycarlos.com out of frustration on a dare the last time I tried to solve this. Now that screams professionalism!

posted by cgomez at 10:17 PM on July 28, 2010

what about carlosg.me? it's avail.

i have my last name as my domain but it's mildly annoying in that people can't spell it easily. first names on the other hand are generally easier for most people to spell.
posted by oneear at 10:48 PM on July 28, 2010

posted by salvia at 11:54 PM on July 28, 2010


Most options I've tried are available, actually. gomezarchitecture, gomezmanagement, and gomezlaw were not. I'd come up with a verb or noun you like, as long as the noun is not an entire professional field.

There's also carlos@gomezis.me if you like that.
posted by salvia at 12:00 AM on July 29, 2010

After checking your profile --

gomezreturns.com (I'm partial to the dual meaning here.)
posted by salvia at 12:05 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've been using nmccoy.net (my actual first initial/last name), and it's worked well for me. Admittedly I've got the "tautological email address" problem mentioned by tallus above, but so far it hasn't seemed odd to me, and since I own the domain I can always change what email address I'm using.

And I think of the main TLDs out there, .net is the one that feels the most appropriate - it's a personal website, and I'm neither a company nor an organization.
posted by NMcCoy at 12:26 AM on July 29, 2010

I went with the .net when I got my domain, which is firstnamelastname. At the time, the .com was taken by a law firm, and now belongs to a fellow writer.

But in any case, I've had it for my professional needs for four years now, and nobody else has had any issues with understanding it or anything. I think it's your best option.
posted by cmgonzalez at 3:03 AM on July 29, 2010

If you know how to set up subdomains you could do it that way, so that you have me@carlos.gomez.«anything».com or carlos@gomez.«anything».com.
posted by XMLicious at 3:58 AM on July 29, 2010

cgomez.net works fine as a neutral professional sounding domain. The problem can be avoing a tautological email address e.g. cgomez@cgomez.net.

But is that a problem? I've seen email addresses along the lines of john@johndoe.com, and they look fine to me. I actually think that's kind of a cool status thing, as if it's saying, "Look at me, I own this domain!"

Again, I'd go with carlosg.org or cgomez.net. I don't think you're going to do any better than that, unless you can get your full name dot something obscure (like .fm or .us, which aren't being used).
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:26 AM on July 29, 2010

You should always get a domain name that says something about you for a purpose like this. If you were setting up a business, then one of the "not related to my name in any way" domains would be appropriate. But not for what you're looking for.

You want a domain name that sticks in people's minds, while still sounding professional. You want it without hyphens, and a .com. There is a huge swath of humanity that will never remember to put in the hyphen, and doesn't understand that there are things other than .com. (Hell, most people are still carefully typing "www" like it's 1998.)


1. Start noticing and playing with prefixes and suffixes.
mechacgomez, supercgomez, cgomezomatic, cgomezdeluxe.
I went with "mecha" for mine, because things that are "mecha" are cool. This may not be the best for your resume purposes, since it has a little too much geek enthusiasm for a non-IT job.

2. Make it a really short phrase, but one that people would use in conversation. (i.e. not something completely meaningless like those Amazon challenge phrase suggestions.)
cgomezatyourservice, cgomezliveshere, cgomezonline, cgomezlovesyou
posted by ErikaB at 10:16 AM on July 29, 2010

posted by Lanark at 10:41 AM on July 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: c@rlosgomez.com

Registered! While that will no doubt be confusing to a lot of people, it's still really cool. It also works for a domain name level as I can do a redirect of rlosgomez.com to ca.rlosgomez.com. I still might registers some of the other suggestions too as backups.
posted by cgomez at 11:53 AM on July 29, 2010

Um, if you're going to actually use that email address, isn't it kind of not-that-great for it to be properly written out in the two previous comments? Maybe you can contact the mods to redact it? Otherwise you could be deluged with spam.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:53 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Update: ca.rlosgomez.com has become my catch-all landing page for what I do on the internet. Thanks Lanark! I'm most likely going to forward cgomez.net to that too, but I'm still throwing around how to handle email for professional correspondence.

posted by cgomez at 11:00 PM on August 28, 2010

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