We love our Internet Service Provider (ISP) – their product offerings are great and their service even greater. And look at that: in the spirit of giving during this Christmas season, they’ve doubled our data quota at no additional cost.
And we’re most definitely gladly taking that giving from them. But we continue to resist taking their other giving – their 10 x free 1GB e-mail accounts that come with every broadband plan. There are two reasons for this: diluted branding and contract stickiness.
We’d be building their brand, not ours.
Brand-building is an integral part of our (your) business. Of any business. A strong brand means it’s easier for prospective clients to find us and for our existing clients to stick with us. And when the time comes to exit the business (a long way off yet, but still …), our brand’s goodwill will potentially mean a higher exit price for us.
Building the SMEfy ( … e-business solutions for SMEs) brand means incorporating it everywhere: our website, business cards, promo/marketing materials, presentations, participation in industry and business activities, etc.
And that’s just it. Every time you use your ISP’s free e-mail accounts, you’d be building their brand first … and your brand only second. The @my-isp.com in firstname.lastname@example.org dilutes the effectiveness of our branding effort for SMEfy. .
smefy.com.au is ours and ours alone. So, hello there from email@example.com (NOT from smefysupport@my_isp.com)!
We’d be effectively locking ourselves to another contract with our ISP.
We have a 24-month contract with our great ISP. But using their free e-mail accounts for our business will effectively make us their captive customer for far longer period than that. Maybe far longer than we want to be.
Because it’d be inconvenient (particularly for our customers and suppliers) later on to untangle our business identity from our ISP’s free e-mail accounts. When the contract is at an end, it’d be too tempting to simply renew it rather than avail of alternative, more cost-effective, options that’s available at that time.
And there’s the security issue, too.
How do your customers know they’re dealing with you when they receive an e-mail from yourbusiness@my_isp.com (or firstname.lastname@example.org)? They don’t. Any of your ISP’s remaining customers can create that yourbusiness@my_isp.com e-mail account (once you’ve left it and stopped using that e-mail address yourself). And anyone anywhere can create a email@example.com (or firstname.lastname@example.org) account. There’s no way to confirm for sure who are behind these e-mail accounts.
But when we send you our @smefy.com.au messages, you know you’re dealing with us. Our registration of this domain name is quite transparent (see http://whois.domaintools.com/smefy.com.au).
It’s surprising how many businesses use either their ISP’s free e-mail accounts or free e-mail accounts from the likes of Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and others to conduct business. Sometimes even when they already have their own yourbusiness.com website.