I always find it curious when I see an opportunity for a company to monetize that isn’t being taken advantage of.

Take email, for instance. Gmail offers free email. Yahoo offers the basics for free, though last I checked they charged for some of the “extra features” (ones that Gmail gives away for free, I should add). I’m honestly not sure what the current status of the service formerly known as Hotmail is.

I think that all of these services are leaving some potential money on the table.

One of the big things about the major services is that, because they are major and there are so few, it’s really quite hard for people to get the email address they want. Unless you have a really unusual name, chances are pretty good that the common versions of your name are taken. Nicknames, too. I was able to get “trumwill” but others, including nicknames that aren’t words, have been taken by people somewhere. My father has billhtruman at most of the major ones, but had to settle for billhtruman1942 for Google’s services, because there is another billhtruman out there (these are pseudonyms, people, in case you need reminding).

All of this is because every gmail account ends in gmail.com. Yahoo and Microsoft each have three options, so this thought is less useful to them. What I’m not sure about is why Gmail doesn’t have a ton of other options. Except, while Gmail is free, the others have a one-time fee. So dad could get billhtruman@notgmail.com and use that for his Google accounts.

I wouldn’t expect this to be a huge moneymaker, but it would cost next to nothing and when someone has the same username across other services, at least some people would be willing to pay for it.


Category: Market

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4 Responses to Money Foregone

  1. Mike Hunt Rice says:

    What I’m not sure about is why Gmail doesn’t have a ton of other options

    I would imagine it’s because of branding reasons. I can’t tell you how many people asked me what the hell live.com is. They were smart to switch to outlook.

    As an aside, I have broken down and started to use both GMail and Chrome.

    Anyway, I don’t know how much money is being left on the table. Even the pay services are dirt cheap, and you get a free email address with your ISP. It might be more trouble that it is worth to make them pay. You would have to have actual customer service in that case.

    I use my ISP email whenever I buy something online, so it has become my junk mail address. I will look at it once a week or so just to make sure something important didn’t slip through. Also, I look for deals from the companies I have done business with.

    • trumwill says:

      In my scenario, you’d be buying the email address (which is why it’s a one-time payment), not the service, so they wouldn’t have to supply customer service.

      I actually think the paid email services are absurdly expensive, given the lack of separation between what they offer and what you can get for free.

      How’s Chrome working out for you? Firefox crashed on me three times this afternoon. I am, for the first time, seriously thinking about making the jump.

  2. Mike Hunt Rice says:

    I haven’t had any problems with Chrome, but I don’t know enough to know which is better on an objective basis.

    As for buying an email address, I would imagine that you would be able to sell it as well in that case. Although, you can’t legally sell your phone number, so maybe the same rules would apply. This might be a case of something being more trouble than it is worth.

    Have you considered buying HitCoff.ee from Estonia? How about TrumWi.ll from Israel?

    Also, did you know that if you forget to answer the math problem (or get it wrong, I would imagine) that your post disappears? Ask me how I know this… (grrr)

  3. Trumwill says:

    No. If Coffee becomes a reasonably priced thing, I could see myself getting hit.coffee, though.

    I dunno, money is money. The fact that it’s just one-and-done makes it little hassle, as far as I’m concerned. Maybe you’re right and I’m overestimating how many people object to being billhowardtruman1 instead of bill.truman.

    I failed to answer the math problem, and the content of this post was waiting for me when I clicked “back.”

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