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Don’ts of corporate e-mail address management

I keep having issues with client e-mail addresses that seem to have been intentionally designed by their IT dept to maximize error rates. I need to vent a bit, so here goes. Star if you can relate 😉

8 reasons why I want to punch your e-mail address policy authors in the face

E-mail addresses at your company…

  1. …don't use the full first or last names, making input confusing and error-prone  - they enforce a max length on one or more naming parts (e.g. with 7 max chars for last name, "David Somewhat" becomes dsomewha@, which looks and feels like a typo, and can't be guessed from prior conversation with John Foobar’s jfoobar@)  - they use oh-so-1990 trigrams (e.g. John Foobar is either jfo or jfr), which is collision-prone and results in numerous irregular overrides  - they separate the first and last name, but abbreviate one of them (e.g. d.somewhat instead of dsomewhat), which looks fugly.
  2. …don't use a consistent composition policy (e.g. sometimes first name only, sometimes last, sometimes nickname, sometimes combo…)
  3. …don't offer at least the canonical first-name.last-name alias, even if the preferred form is something else.
  4. …use underscores (_) instead of dashes/hyphens (-) and/or dots (.)1. …use multiple mantiss suffixes or domain prefixes to distinguish, somewhat arbitrarily, between contractors / externals and in-house staff, which prevents any sort of guessability and may change over time as external staff is brought in-house.
  5. …force external contractors, even long-time, to use their own, usually personal, e-mail address (e.g. Gmail) for professional work on behalf of the company.
  6. …don't redirect incoming e-mail to former-corp-name addresses to up-to-date addresses when the company rebrands.
  7. …keep using a short-hand and/or completely unrelated domain wrt the company's public-facing brand/name, making mailbox searches for all of a company's interactions highly inefficient.
  8. …forbid + extensions (e.g. john+somesupplier@your.co), effectively making bad actors of e-mail list resell untraceable.
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