email addresses for children of unimaginative parents
June 17, 2005 4:03 PM   Subscribe

A friend with a very common name needs an email address (that includes her name) for resumes and such. Domain name is not very important (as long as it wouldn't look bad on a resume). Would like web and pop access.

She's ready to get a big girl email address for resumes and such and forsake "" and all its variants forever. She'd like a "firstnamelastname" sort of thing, but her name might as well be "Jane Smith" and i'm thinking that "" and all close analogs are taken.

What are some ways to fix this problem? Preferably for free.

I beg pardon if this is excruciatingly easy and I've overlooked something, but I've had the same email address for 10 years and I'm out of the loop.
posted by cadastral to Computers & Internet (22 answers total)
I can throw her an account.
posted by ODiV at 4:06 PM on June 17, 2005

You could always try variations on the name. Gmail is still beta and I'm pretty sure that their are a lot of fairly standard (and popular) names still available.

For instance, is fairly common aliasing in most companies, so you could always try Or,, etc.

If you wanted to go really professional you could always register a domain name. They usually provide some kind of email service (web/POP/IMAP access is pretty much a necessity) so you could have (or work on that variation). It's the more expensive route to go, but she could use the domain to host her resume, work etc.
posted by purephase at 4:12 PM on June 17, 2005

I can go for a account. POP only at the moment, but a POP acct means that she'd be able to have webspace with PHP/etc at, so she could install whatever she wanted.
posted by devilsbrigade at 4:15 PM on June 17, 2005

First initials plus last name: jdsmith or janedsmith
Add state abbr: jdsmithny
Add last 4 digits of phone number: jdsmith7832

I strongly suggest not using last digits of year of birth or current age. mischief43 worked 3 years ago and mischief58 gives the wrong idea.

Also, try It's spammy and popup ridden, but they purge unused addresses fairly often so a common name may be available. I also use and english names are fairly easy to get, however it's in russian and she may not want a .ru addy.
posted by mischief at 4:18 PM on June 17, 2005

I forgot to mention that the account on is webmail and pop.
posted by ODiV at 4:24 PM on June 17, 2005

Have her check out This is a web-based e-mail service which has a large number of alternative domains, many of which I'm sure still have janesmith available.
posted by yclipse at 4:32 PM on June 17, 2005

i guess she's not a geek? only i bet the rot13 of her name isn't taken... (goes off to register
posted by andrew cooke at 4:38 PM on June 17, 2005

Never use punctuation in an email address. It might look good, but it's a bastard to tell someone over the phone ("_" is the worst).

I started spelling my name differently. Not formally, just for accounts. I'm "Chris Johnson", so I might as well be your example. My full name is Christopher Alexander Johnson, which is both too long to use in full, and not unique enough to use in any shortened version. So I started using Kris. For ages I had Kris_Johnson at Yahoo -- this is why I know about the _ problem. I screwed around with variations like kris_j (Slashdot) for a bit before coming to rest with Krisjohn and my website Kris' Haven (krishaven).

Most recently I did a funky thing with my email and domain name that I won't put on a public website, but taking the original example would look like:

Maybe she can try something similar.
posted by krisjohn at 4:50 PM on June 17, 2005

mischief43 worked 3 years ago and mischief58 gives the wrong idea.

Not as bad as if you'd been born in 1969!
posted by kindall at 4:53 PM on June 17, 2005

Second the idea of her own domain name. Domains and webspace are a very small investment these days, and she can discard and create new email addresses at will.
posted by sageleaf at 5:01 PM on June 17, 2005

Never use punctuation in an email address. It might look good, but it's a bastard to tell someone over the phone ("_" is the worst).

I never had any problems with my old account that was . People understand the dot, because there's already a dot after the at. It was my surname I always ended up having to spell to people with phonetic-alphabet backup.

I'd try gmail, and try setting the address to , or, if that won't work, firstname.middlename.surname , or firstinitial.middleinitial.surname; odds are some combination like that is free at gmail, or hotmail.

Presumably she has an isp, yeah? Will her isp let her create email accounts underneath her "main" account? Most accounts these days come with 5 or more addresses.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:26 PM on June 17, 2005

If she's looking for a library job, I'll certainly give her a account.
posted by jessamyn at 5:48 PM on June 17, 2005

One thing to clarify for gmail specifically: dots in the username are irrelevant. is the same as is the same as
posted by cCranium at 5:49 PM on June 17, 2005

For just $35/yr you can get jane@[fill in the blank].com from yahoo. There are cheaper options out there, but for the price you can get the package from yahoo and just be done with it.

She can then come up with a creative, yet short enough to be convenient to tell people over the phone and remember, and unique to her.
posted by birdherder at 6:02 PM on June 17, 2005

cCranium: that's not true, about the dots in Gmail. mynameinitial@gmail was taken, but not so myname.initial@gmail, which is what I use.
posted by signal at 6:24 PM on June 17, 2005

I just sent an email to, and I received it at
posted by mrgavins at 7:18 PM on June 17, 2005





That's all I got.
posted by yerfatma at 7:37 PM on June 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

Sorry...that is actually suchatreat posting. Damn multiple browsers.
posted by yerfatma at 7:38 PM on June 17, 2005

I've never encountered a problem communicating verbally the punctuation in my gmail address. I just say "firstname dot lastname" and everyone knows what a dot is because of "dot com". Dots are so common in gmail that I was surprised when I met a person whose gmail was firstnamelastname with no dot. Underscores, of course, would be more difficult to communicate to the rank and file.
posted by matildaben at 8:16 PM on June 17, 2005

For just $35/yr you can get jane@[fill in the blank].com from yahoo.

Or she could buy 5 domains at godaddy. Do people actually pay 35 bucks for this?

Buy a domain, she'll learn a little and won't be ripped off.
posted by justgary at 9:06 PM on June 17, 2005

I frequently get email intended for when my address is

I think the dots are only ignored if there is no ambiguity on where the email should go to.
posted by ralawrence at 12:22 AM on June 18, 2005

Another vote for the "own domain" thing. The great part about having your own domain is that you can keep it forever, and move it between email providers when you get tired of someone's service. If she gets jane@[something-dear-to-her-but-resume-neutral].[some-tld] then she'll never have to worry about the problem again.

Specifically, it has the benefit of not relying on free email providers, which always struck me as fragile for something that needs to appear on a resume.
posted by mendel at 9:44 AM on June 18, 2005

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