Email address ideas for very common name
June 4, 2012 6:07 PM   Subscribe

I have an absurdly common name and literally every combination of myfirst, last and middle initial are taken. I want to avoid using numbers and try to have a somewhat professional email address. Not for job hunting but in general. Preference is to use Gmail. Also I cant buy my own domain because I don't have a credit card and even if I did, my name is taken in .com and a few others I believe. I was thinking about using a suffix... so Anyone have ideas to fill in the blanks? Thanks!
posted by sillybugger to Computers & Internet (70 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried firstinitial middleinitial lastname combinations?

I would avoid having multiple dots in your email address if possible because they can be confusing for some of the less tech-savvy out there. My primary email is, and even when I spell it out for people nice and slowly, they still screw it up a lot of the time.
posted by Gator at 6:13 PM on June 4, 2012

My sister is in the same position. She uses firstname.lastname.yearofbirth - eg: JaneJones1967.
posted by Kerasia at 6:14 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also have an extremely common WASPy name and I had to go for numbers. I feel like a nice modest number will work better than the frighteningly long email you are proposing! Mine is two initials, last name, and birth year. I think it's fairly professional.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 6:14 PM on June 4, 2012

What about including your city name somewhere in there? E.g.
posted by Pomo at 6:16 PM on June 4, 2012 [7 favorites]

I use firstname.middlename@... for mine. I'm not sure how common your middle name is though. I'm glad I got it as my first & last names are pretty common and I'd probably be getting a bunch of email for other people.
posted by magnetsphere at 6:17 PM on June 4, 2012

I used mr[lastname] for mine.
posted by kavasa at 6:17 PM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Name of city where you live?
Your profession?
posted by Jehan at 6:17 PM on June 4, 2012 [10 favorites]

I have, both for my 'professional' address and for my domain.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:18 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

May I suggest that, whatever you do, you NOT use a zero?

Every single combination of my name/names (even middle) is always taken. Rather than be, I thought I'd be clever and be People screw it up all the time (use the letter o, actually spell out zero, etc.) and it's really a PITA.

How about something like [firstname][initials]? jane.maria.doe might be taken, but janejmd probably isn't (at least not for me), and is name-y enough to look professional.

(Related: someone with a very long last name emailed me recently--his email address was his last name with all the vowels removed--surprisingly effective! You could suss out what it was pretty easily, and (as long as you knew his last name), it's easy to remember and spell.)
posted by phunniemee at 6:21 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Gmail will ignore dots added to an email address. It considers to be the same address as

I agree that these are good choices:
firstnamelastname-[birth year]
posted by maudlin at 6:22 PM on June 4, 2012 [8 favorites]

I know people with very common names who use more than one initial from each name. So, for example,

Charles Thomas Barker

Could become

Can look a little classier than appending numbers.
posted by telegraph at 6:25 PM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

literally every combination of myfirst, last and middle initial are taken

So use your full middle name, i.e.,

I'd avoid using any numbers in your email address, especially your birth year. If you're say, sending out resumes, you don't want your age to be a factor in whether they hire you or now.
posted by orange swan at 6:25 PM on June 4, 2012 [15 favorites]

In lieu of using my birth year in my email address, I used my birth month/day (0703). I haven't had any problem using zeros, maybe because in combination with other numbers, it's pretty obvious they are zeros and not upper case O's.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 6:29 PM on June 4, 2012

I use "The Real" in front of my name when somebody else has claimed my name in any given service. It's not uber professional, but it's not really unprofessional either, and it's easy to remember. So I'm therealcroutonsupafreak, and you're therealsillybugger, etc.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 6:30 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

A friend of mine whose name is say, Michael Joseph Jackson, uses the email I kind of like that.
posted by Sal and Richard at 6:32 PM on June 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

You could maybe try registering a vanity domain and having the email ( forward to a gmail account.

Or if you have a hobby like ham radio, you can get an address and forward that.

If you set up your email client correctly, the recipient will not know (with some caveats), and it isn't that hard to do.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:34 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

My first name is Michael. My e-mail address is (Except that my lastname is not Jackson. Thank god.) This also has the benefit of being four letters shorter than would be. Perhaps you can do something similiar with your name.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:34 PM on June 4, 2012

What about some kind of play on words or interesting mashup? One of my coworkers is sillynickname.lastname, which is great because it's really memorable. (Think like old fashioned/kitschy nicknames like chaz, hank, butch, etc.) I went to high school with a girl who managed to get this AMAZING and HILARIOUS pun on her first name at hotmail, so good that I still think about it almost 15 years later. I'm a little tempted to get a saranoh or saranoaitch email address somewhere, but I think it's a little inscrutable; brianwithani or katywithak would work better.

What about a combo of your name and what you do for a living? A coworker of mine is jasonaccounting (name obviously modified). If that's taken, what about a combo of your name and the state, city, or region where you live? jasonsmithatl or billbrownohio would be fine.

What about a pop culture reference using an aspect of your name? I registered because was taken, and I couldn't come up with any meaningful yet professional combo. That's a joke on Sara Smiles, which is a song with my name in it that people often mention/sing when they meet me. I'm not really the Sara Smiles type, so I decided to invert it a little. It's still a million times better than, or something equally bad.

I know someone with a common name who has firstnamelastnamewastaken at yahoo, which is sort of clever.
posted by Sara C. at 6:35 PM on June 4, 2012

I'm (because first/last/mi combos were taken). I like that it's short and it doesn't tell too much about me - I've changed fields and moved repeatedly since I chose it. Friends will occasionally call me by my username, so it's catchy/memorable enough.
posted by momus_window at 6:40 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like the suggestions of adding your city or occupation, like or; you say you've tried various combinations of your fists, middle and last names, but have you tried lastname.firstname? smithjohndavid@ or smithjohnd@ or smithjd@?
posted by easily confused at 6:43 PM on June 4, 2012

I have a hilariously bland, common name, and I'm, since dots don't count. However, my middle name is also pretty common, so it was likely just luck that I even got that. I likely would have added location (SF) or work (writer/writes) otherwise.
posted by mostlymartha at 6:45 PM on June 4, 2012

Friend of mine has I thought it was fairly clever without being offensive.
posted by Mitheral at 6:48 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

What about emaildavesmith@
posted by advicepig at 6:49 PM on June 4, 2012

For privacy and identity reasons I would not put birthyear or birthday or city or profession or house number or phone number or any number ever associated with you. No periods because people screw that up regardless what gmail does. This stuff will get bounced around and correlated forever by government and finance and insurance and identity thieves. But your name is your name, and they already have that. Don't make anything else easy for them.

So that leaves
Firstnamemiddleinitiallastname__@gmail or more like firstnamemlastname__@ or
Flastname__@gmail or

Whatever the lowest number you can get in place of the __ , except avoid a zero or a one in the __ and avoid any number associated with you. An email such as that would be fully professional and understandable because of your common name.
posted by caclwmr4 at 6:50 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Teradude suggests:
posted by teragram at 6:50 PM on June 4, 2012

caclwmr4: "No periods because people screw that up regardless what gmail does."

Specifically gmail ignores periods in email addresses. You may think you're signing up for Firstname.Lastname._____ but to gmail, your real address is FirstnameLastname_____ but will cheerfully deliver you anything addressed to Fir.stna.mel.astn.ame__.___ or any other permutation. Something to keep in mind.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:57 PM on June 4, 2012

how about (like chef.tom.jones or accountant.jen.smith)
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:57 PM on June 4, 2012

I used First initial, middle name, last name. It worked for me. I also like emailfor[initials].
posted by patheral at 7:00 PM on June 4, 2012

first initial . last initial . "profession"
posted by xammerboy at 7:03 PM on June 4, 2012

How about some combination of your names + your city's airport code or area code?
posted by looli at 7:07 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you went to college, did they give you a life-long email address? You can use that for professional purposes, and have it forwarded to whatever gmail account you'd like.

Personally, I move locations and jobs often enough that neither one would be a recognizable suffix.
posted by barnone at 7:11 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Or sign up for another Fastmail, and forward that to gmail if you must.
posted by barnone at 7:14 PM on June 4, 2012

Someone mentioned your profession or occupation. What if you made it into more of a sentence? Like or Less "AOL" than the numbers, little more memorable, fun, but not totally unprofessional.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:17 PM on June 4, 2012

So, say your name is Jason K. Johnson. Could you try something

Also, Johnson.Jason.K, JohnsonJK, JKevinJohnson would work reasonably well.
posted by oddman at 7:18 PM on June 4, 2012

Someone I know with a very common and short name just doubled it for his email: Obviously, wouldn't work if your name was Cornelius Vanderbilt. Depending on your field, you could use a verb that says something about you--whether professional or personal but not private: JQSmithSkis or JQSmithCodes.

Alternatively, if you can be a little wry, something like anotherJohnSmith@gmail would be humorous but not unprofessional except in the staidest of industries.
posted by elizeh at 7:26 PM on June 4, 2012

How about something business-like, such as (my favourite) or

Or a sentence:;
posted by matlock expressway at 7:51 PM on June 4, 2012

My name is depressingly common - I went with firstnameXXX where XXX is three random numbers (well, they mean something to me - it's the Köchel number for my favorite Mozart piece). It's been very convenient for gmail and venues where I don't want to operate under an alias, and to this day I can almost always get that as a username in most bulletin boards and the like (in those systems where username /= e-mail address). For gmail purposes, that was several years ago, and I don't doubt that my combo would have gotten taken if I'd been later to the party.

Nthing not to use birthdate or the like, but otherwise I think you're overthinking it. As a guy who looks at people's resumes a lot, I do look askance at silly (unless it's really, really witty), but lots of people can't get a straight permutation of their name on the leading free e-mail services, so a sprinkling of numbers is usually what people do. It doesn't seem frivolous at all.

All that said, of the ideas hit so far, if you just hate numbers, I think name.occupation makes the most sense, provided you're pretty certain you're not changing careers.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:54 PM on June 4, 2012

i use for one of my accounts.
posted by violetk at 7:56 PM on June 4, 2012

...combination of myfirst, last and middle initial are taken.

Have you tried using your full middle name? Like:

I too would suggest against using your birthday or city. Because that information + your birthday or city is a lot of information.

For my own name I tried, which was taken. I tried next and I got it. My name is never on those keychains or necklaces that say your name in big block letter that you get at little touristy shops, but I do get my email address!
posted by OsoMeaty at 7:59 PM on June 4, 2012

It's a sentence!
posted by whimsicalnymph at 8:04 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

I really like, and if you move and want to change it if you move, gmail is, unless functionality changes a ton, pretty easy to forward.

(Also, if it makes you feel better, having a common name gmail address with no numbers isn't all a bed of roses...unless you think it's fun to wonder about the lives of Austrailian Mike McNamara, UK Mike McNamara, the one from the U.S. in NA, and the other one in another state voting for country club policies via an elaborate secure site...which I guess I do.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:07 PM on June 4, 2012

I did the first three letters of my first name, my middle initial, and then the first three letters of my last name. No dots. So for instance: Mary T Smith= (mine sounds better than that though). Not sure if people necessarily understand it's my name, though.
posted by geegollygosh at 8:13 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:28 PM on June 4, 2012

I use ErinElizLastname, my first name, partial middle name, last name. It's memorable, personal, and shorter to write Eliz than Elizabeth. I suggest using some portion of your middle name.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:33 PM on June 4, 2012

maybe change your middle initial to something unusual (john x. doe) or make up a middle name (john danger doe)?
posted by katieanne at 8:48 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

how about something like (I used to get that spelling). So long as your name isn't something like Roderick Rogdgersonsen it shouldn't be too hard to spell out when required.
posted by singingfish at 9:16 PM on June 4, 2012

I've known a couple of people to use the Mr or Ms title in various ways, like:

Also short sentences, like:
posted by bethnull at 9:27 PM on June 4, 2012

I had a friend with a common name who had emailjohndoe@

Another friend had doejanedoe@
posted by radioamy at 9:37 PM on June 4, 2012

For what it's worth, NearlyFreeSpeech.NET will let you purchase a domain with funds provided via check or money order. That domain can then be set up to use Google Apps for Domains for email.
posted by lantius at 9:40 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Try your name backwards, maybe? I.e.

But yeah, you could always buy a URL and set up Google Apps for Domains. offers it for free, too.
posted by me3dia at 10:17 PM on June 4, 2012

FirstInitial LastName 3DigitsOfPi is probably not taken. If it is, try 4 digits of pi. Lather, rinse, repeat. Or you could use the numbers e, log(2), or anything else. Only useful if you want to present a math-geek aura. Which, deep down, you do.
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 10:21 PM on June 4, 2012

I don't recommend inscrutable permutations of your last name. My university email address was my first name encoded in rot13... it was a paaaain. I think backwards would be almost as bad.

I have a friend who uses, which is nice. I use my three initials with a 3-digit number. I was number-resistant for a long time, but abc123 is super easy to spell out, and I kindof like the way it looks. I chose a number I like, not a number with any significance (ie, not a birthday or anniversary or anything). I actually have firstnamelastname@gmail, but my first name is hard to spell, so I find initials123 easier to use.
posted by snorkmaiden at 10:32 PM on June 4, 2012

I have [firstname][profession] @ gmail at the moment but I am liking the contact [name] apart from how irritating that would be to dictate to people. And I figure the profession is where I'm using the professional email - personal stuff goes elsewhere.
posted by geek anachronism at 11:32 PM on June 4, 2012

I use my first two initials and my last name. If my name were Jane Anne Doe, it would go like this: But I chose that because it makes the prefix of my e-mail address look like a verb, which I thought was clever. I think most people would do it the other way:
posted by linettasky at 11:35 PM on June 4, 2012

My name was taken as a domain name, so I just shortened it to By accident, I ended up with a really short email address :)
posted by jrockway at 12:16 AM on June 5, 2012

I don't like seeing numbers, especially the year of birth in email addresses, how about:


My father put an x in his otherwise common name, so
posted by humph at 2:24 AM on June 5, 2012

I do
posted by nuclear_soup at 4:51 AM on June 5, 2012

If they key is to be memorable, so people can enter the address from memory, add some sort of unique title to the beginning:

Plus, that gives you something to aspire to every time you check your email.
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:55 AM on June 5, 2012

I've used, but I also have an account for for all the sites whose newsletters I don't want to read.
posted by specialagentwebb at 5:35 AM on June 5, 2012

I've not seen color

As an aside, I knew jobhunting would get me spammed, so I set up: and just had everything forward to Most recruiters had no issue with the "temp" email addy and replies coming from the "real" one.

I disagree that backwards is bad, but I may be biased, having spent time in my yute learning how to touch type and how to touch type it backwards ;).
posted by tilde at 5:55 AM on June 5, 2012

I have my normal address and then which seemed like a good way to separate it from personal stuff
posted by rmless at 6:18 AM on June 5, 2012

I stuck a "g" in front of my name, which made it easy for people to remember that it was a gmail address.
posted by juniperesque at 7:04 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I want to point out very quickly that gmail doesn't see punctuation or signs in email addresses. EG: is the same address as johnsmith1998@ or john.smith1998, etc.

It also doesn't see plusses, like will deliver to, you use this trick to track who is selling your address to whom when you do sign-ups or to easily filter all emails from a given source.

Sorry this is no help towards picking your name, just a little gmail trick.
posted by TomMelee at 7:06 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

one I've used is firstname + first few letters of lastname, i.e
posted by randomnity at 7:53 AM on June 5, 2012 is probably available.

Guess how I know?
posted by IAmBroom at 8:55 AM on June 5, 2012

Of course, if your name is Marsha, it's probably taken. Or Rick...
posted by advicepig at 9:25 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

You may not be able to afford your own domain, but do you have friends who already have one? It's fairly common within my (admittedly geeky) circle of friends for folks who host their own mailservers on their own domains to host email accounts for friends. If your friend bob owns (and doesn't have a homepage you wouldn't want a potential employer to see), you could ask nicely for And if you're wanting to use Gmail because you prefer the interface, you could have it set up to forward at
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:40 AM on June 5, 2012

My initials are ABC (not really)... My email is (not really)
The disadvantage of this is when you're verbally telling someone your email, you have to spell the whole thing out.
posted by cheemee at 11:30 PM on June 5, 2012

I suppose in Chelsea Stark's case she might do or (or is that like the BeetleJuice thing?)
posted by tilde at 8:24 AM on June 6, 2012

Contact Grace Lee, Lee Grace Contact
Hello Grace Lee, Grace Lee Hello
Message Grace Lee, Write Grace Lee
That Grace Lee, The Grace Lee
Grace Lee Engineer, Grace Lee Programmer
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:58 PM on June 7, 2012

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