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Not sure if this is an UX question, well somehow it is, but I didn't know a better place to ask anyway. So I will just throw it in here.

Let's say I have the domain johnsmith.com and I want people to reach me via email, what is the best email username to use?

Some examples:

  • john@johnsmith.com - redundant
  • john.smith@johnsmith.com - redundant and looks kinda stupid
  • mail@johnsmith.com - makes sense, but looks very "technical"
  • me@johnsmith.com
  • root@johnsmith.com - for the geeks among us ;-)

Of course, technically I can simply say that I will be able to receive *@johnsmith.com, however, for a better user experience I still just want one email address for public presence (website, business cards, etc.).

Any suggestions?

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Just don't use info, webmaster, sales, support, administrator, etc. etc., unless you have a very good spam filter set up. –  Marjan Venema Sep 17 '11 at 15:47
holla@johnsmith.com –  Patrick McElhaney Sep 17 '11 at 19:34
I quite like "postmaster@yourdomain.com" if you want the address to be impersonal. –  LaundroMat Sep 20 '11 at 9:18
One friend I knew had sendlukestuff@domain.com which I found extremely memorable. Possibly somewhat unprofessional in some circumstances. –  Kit Grose Feb 28 '12 at 1:30

10 Answers 10

up vote 30 down vote accepted

Remember that irrespective of the domain, it's the bit before the @ that is the reference by which you addressing the person, so you can detach the username from the domain name.

js@johnsmith.com keeps things nice and simple, but rather anonymous - who is js exactly

john@johnsmith.com has redundancy, yes, but keeps it on a personal level which is nice and friendly.

jsmith@johnsmith.com keeps it professional but j.smith@johnsmith.com makes the person being addressed even clearer, so is good for business cards (which should be personal and professional at the same time), and also email and smaller websites.

In between those two is john.s@johnsmith.com which is halfway between personal and professional.

info@johnsmith.com is good for websites as it indicates users are using the right email to answer any questions they may have, and also gives the impression of a larger organisation

If I had to give out just one email from the above, for all the locations it might appear, and where the individuals name is itself the domain, then I would use john@johnsmith.com despite the redundancy as it sounds the most approachable all round.

However - you give a specific example using fairly short names. if the name was Mahershalalhashbaz Ali and the domain was (purely following your example) mahershalalhashbazali.com then I would not use the email mahershalalhashbaz@mahershalalhashbazali.com...

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+1 for mahershalalhashbaz@mahershalalhashbazali.com :-D –  Omar Kohl Sep 19 '11 at 7:39
It may depend on local culture, but in the last case I would reconsider the mahershalalhashbazali.com domain as well. –  Agos Sep 23 '11 at 12:59
I ended up settling for john@smith.com or john@family-smith.us or something like that. –  André Apr 26 '12 at 11:22
Mahershalalhashbaz... there's some Sunday School trivia - it's the longest word in the Bible. –  Luke Charde Aug 2 '12 at 3:57
@Luke. It's also my family's cat's name. –  TRiG Sep 29 '12 at 17:52

The nicest one that I've seen so far was hello@myname.com. It came across as friendly and human.

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+1 for friendly –  tajmo Aug 29 '12 at 20:29

It depends what sort of people you want to contact you. I would suggest contact@johnsmith.com as a general one, especially on the website. Buisness cards you might want to try md@johnsmith.com or design@johnsmith.com. You can use the email to suggest that there might be a few more people than just you behind it.

Of course, you might want to take it on a more quirky route, and use talkto@johnsmith.com or ask@johnsmith.com. You need to focus it around the image that you want to give.

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Not that it works for every name but I'm not a big fan of redundantly repeating characters.

John Smith → john@smi.th

You'll need to find the appropriate TLD for this to work.

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.th doesn't allow second level domain names. So smi.th one isn't possible. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.th –  Marcos Ciarrocchi Jul 27 '12 at 11:31

If you have johnsmith@gmail.com, it's also geeky to use gmail@johnsmith.com. :)

I tried hello@myname.com, gmail@myname.com and ended up using contact@myname.com.

Though when typing in "to email address" in a mail client, the person typing hopes that the recipient's email starts with his name.

Like when I want to contact Mr. John Smith, I would probably type "john" for the autocomplete to find it.

The flaw is technically having your name in the domain name. The email assumes that the domain name is the name of the server, and not a person.

But since we are going to live with this convention for the coming many years, I figured contact@johnsmith.com would be the best to be straightforward. I also like hello@johnsmith.com.

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gmail@johnsmith.com is indeed funny and geeky but would probably cause major confusion in some people. Even if they "fix" your mistake and convert it to johnsmith@gmail.com they would still wonder if you got the e-mail or someone else did... –  Omar Kohl Sep 19 '11 at 7:43

How about the simplest of all i@johnsmith.com ? Nothing can get shorter that this. And it clearly describes that "I" am the person johnsmith.com refers to.

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From the usability perspective, john@johnsmith.com makes the most sense. Practical use case, if you are trying to give someone your email over the phone (for example to a travel agent) you can simply say

"my email is my first name, at my first name plus last name dot com"

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I have few suggestion such as

  1. KnockME@example.com,
  2. ReachME@example.com,
  3. shakeHands@example.com
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not so clever i think:) –  Herr K Sep 21 '11 at 17:11

I settled on the simplest. I simply give out t at timchambersusa.com. But, then, if you visit timchambersusa.com you'll see on that page that I say, "If you'd like to contact me, write to homepage at timchambersusa.com. (That's right: "homepage," as in "I'm contacting you via your homepage." Subject to change if I have to dodge spammers. When I reply to you I'll give you my regular email address.)"

If you google me you'll start to see the pattern that it simply doesn't matter. Any email will do. Pick one that is appropriate to the use. If it's not spammy I'll see it.

The clever ones can always find my "real" email associated with 1E4AF729D5CEFFD0.

-- Tim

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I use im because it is sweet and simple:


That is a real email.

It is also a catchall, and if I feel like giving out userexpereience@emailtravis.com it will also work. In this sense, I have all bases covered.

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