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Alternatives to AOL/Yahoo!

In his article, Joel rags on users of anonymous email/AOL/Yahoo! accounts.

While I agree that user names could be better chosen for job application purposes, what is otherwise wrong with such services?

Scenario: I am a student.  I need to travel to job interviews, or perhaps I live with my parents while off-campus.  I need nationwide email service - available no matter where I go.

Yahoo! and Hotmail fit the bill quite nicely here.  I don't use them myself, as they are not reliable, but many users take that risk. (I have my own domain, and webmail, but that is not a solution that your average Joe will implement.)

Are job applicants really expected to send themselves numerous emails in an attempt to cycle through all the ads so they can vet out anything that may be threatening to the prospective employer?

What is the "Joel-safe" solution?

David Jones
Monday, January 26, 2004    with your own personal domain. =  $9.95/yr at godaddy.

the top level service at  is $39.95 a year.

If you can't afford $50 a YEAR to maintain your "internet presence" you also probably can't afford A COMPUTER which would make it pretty hard for you to be a good COMPUTER PROGRAMMER. 

note, I am not an employee of fastmail, just a very satisfied user of 2 years.

the real blank
Monday, January 26, 2004

Or, you can use the pobox remailer. I've had a pobox account since, I don't know, 1995 or so.

Brad Wilson (
Monday, January 26, 2004

I don't think he necessarily has a problem with the free accounts; notice the example he used "cooldude,etc.".  I, too, find stupid account names to be unprofessional and a bad first impression.

I'm sure Joel would have far fewer problems with something tasteful like {Firstname}{LastName}

Of course, if you *are* a student then use your edu account.

Monday, January 26, 2004

About 75% of all job applications I receive use Hotmail or Yahoo.

The point is that these accounts don't change as your .edu or work account or private account does. If you want the company to contact you a couple of years later than use Yahoo.

Stephen Jones
Monday, January 26, 2004

Which is exactly why I recommend pobox. If you want a permanent e-mail address that doesn't scream "I'm too cheap to spend $10 a year!", then pobox is perfect. :)

Brad Wilson (
Monday, January 26, 2004 - Free for now.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Perhaps Joel would be impressed by someone with a Juno email trailer? :)

Capn' Kirk
Monday, January 26, 2004

If a designer claims to be skilled in web design, but is too clueless and/or cheap to have their own domain, we gently place the résumé into the nearest garbage.

Along with the domain in the email address, we expect to see a decent online portfolio and résumé on their web site.

A lot of people claim to be web designers, but the ones who actually, you know, BUILD AND MAINTAIN A FREAKING SITE all by themselves really stand out.

I would imagine the thinking for programmers is similar. An AOL or Yahoo email address is a big sign the clue meter is reading zero.

BTW, I'd like to call on my fellow Americans to get rid of the stupid accent marks and just use the word "resume". Thank you.

B. Wringer
Monday, January 26, 2004

I have multiple email accounts, including email at my own domain, but I still tend to give my Yahoo email account out the most.  My Yahoo account is:

'' where xxx corresponds to my first, middle and last initials. 

The reason I tend to go with the Yahoo account is people have a really easy time remembering it.  Most people (that I'd give an email address to) know what Yahoo is, and giving them three letters on top of that makes for an email address that is relatively easy to remember and communicate verbally (I hate trying to take down people's email addresses when they are using domains where the spelling is weird, or has hypens, or whatever).

I think the real issue with Yahoo and AOL is there is so much namespace pollution these days you're almost guaranteed to get some wacked out login name, but I wouldn't ding anyone just because they happen to be using either of those services.  If anything, most people tend to be somewhat impressed that I have such a simple Yahoo email address as it gives a favorable rough estimate as to how long I must have been 'around' to get such a simple login.  (Though if they know my full name, they could do a Google Groups/Deja search and see I've been posting to Usenet since 1989; which is good in that it shows I've been hip to this whole Internet thing for a long time, but perhaps somewhat misleading as I'm 30 years old and people tend to assume that anyone posting to Usenet back then must now be significantly older).

Mister Fancypants
Monday, January 26, 2004

I've never considered getting a Hotmail or Yahoo account because I detest having ads attached to my email. The few times I've subscribed to a Yahoo Group, I've added a disclaimer to the effect of "I do not endorse whatever's advertised here" to the end of all my posts.

Chip Olson
Monday, January 26, 2004

I host my personal website with <a href=""></a> (disclaimer: I don't own or work for them, but they are cheap and have good tech support).

They give you free access to your email via <a href="">IMP</a>, which is a Hotmail-alike.

This way, you use IMAP/POP3 from your regular desktop, and when you're on the road, you can access your mail using a web-based interface. You give out one professional-looking address (as long as your domain name isn't or something) and get the benefit of Hotmail without the signature ads or the ton of spam.

C Rose
Monday, January 26, 2004

> I've never considered getting a Hotmail or Yahoo account
> because I detest having ads attached to my email.

Yahoo will happily remove the tagline on messages but
not for free accounts. You get what you pay for.

Monday, January 26, 2004

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