Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

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MnD
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Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by MnD »

I'm switching to Gmail for personal email. My work recently switched to corporate Gmail and I'd prefer to use the same system for work and personal.
For personal my full name happens to be available as FirstName.Lastname@gmail.com

Good or bad idea? I also plan to retire in a few years and I'll probably do some work as a self-employed individual after that and want something professional for personal email.
Is this considered a security issue or otherwise not a good idea?
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livesoft
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by livesoft »

I will be interested in what other folks say about this.

I use a similar e-mail scheme since about 1990 and have found no issues that my real name is out there.
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bottomfisher
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by bottomfisher »

MnD wrote:I'm switching to Gmail for personal email. My work recently switched to corporate Gmail and I'd prefer to use the same system for work and personal.
For personal my full name happens to be available as FirstName.Lastname@gmail.com

Good or bad idea? I also plan to retire in a few years and I'll probably do some work as a self-employed individual after that and want something professional for personal email.
Is this considered a security issue or otherwise not a good idea?
I have Gmail account that I use for personal and professional purposes. I haven't run into any issues in 3 years of having it. But I've never been vicitim to identity theft. I'm sure many will differ. I have a older seperate email account (not Gmail) that I use for buying things over the internet, website membership, retail accounts, and pretty much anything that would fall victim to unscrupulous people out there. The username is essentially anonymous. This account gets flooded with junk mail. Gmail does an excellent job of filtering junk mail
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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee »

MnD wrote:I'm switching to Gmail for personal email. My work recently switched to corporate Gmail and I'd prefer to use the same system for work and personal.
For personal my full name happens to be available as FirstName.Lastname@gmail.com

Good or bad idea? I also plan to retire in a few years and I'll probably do some work as a self-employed individual after that and want something professional for personal email.
Is this considered a security issue or otherwise not a good idea?
My advice is to use both.

Immediately grab the firstname.lastname gmail address lest somebody else get there first. Once you've retired use it for all professional correspondence. The recipients will know your name anyway.

Keep a spam-bait email address or two active and use it for everything else. For that, the relationship between your anonymous address and your name should be disclosed strictly on a need-to-know basis. And nobody needs to know.

PJW
Niko
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by Niko »

I've used a "full name" variant in my gmail since 2004 or 2005 when I signed up for gmail. My email is something like (first name)(partial middle name)(last name). I've never had any issues with this -- at least that I know of. Then again, I'm not an internet security expert, so I too am interested to hear from a subject matter expert on this.
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windaar
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by windaar »

I've used firstnamelastname@hotmail since the late 90s, and firstnamelastname@gmail for 10 years or so. No problems ever, and it's easy for friends to remember.
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dm200
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by dm200 »

The big advantage of using something close to your actual name is that folks are better at remembering it and knowing who is who. If you use a name that does not get recognition, confusion can result. BUT - definitely grab your full name (if available) so nobody else gets it.

Using a name that has certain inferences and connotations can be harmful is several ways. "DrunkByNoon@gmail.com", for example, does not present a professional image.
campy2010
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by campy2010 »

I use firstname.lastname@gmail.com. The major downside is that you get lots of email for those who share your first name and last name. I think spammers oftentimes use common firstname.lastname combos. So, there's that too.

Otherwise, no problems. If your firstname lastname is still available, then grab it.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by Ged »

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
MnD wrote:I'm switching to Gmail for personal email. My work recently switched to corporate Gmail and I'd prefer to use the same system for work and personal.
For personal my full name happens to be available as FirstName.Lastname@gmail.com

Good or bad idea? I also plan to retire in a few years and I'll probably do some work as a self-employed individual after that and want something professional for personal email.
Is this considered a security issue or otherwise not a good idea?
My advice is to use both.

PJW
I would definitely grab the fullname.lastname plus set up a second account as an alias. If you use Google Apps you can have both addresses end up in the same 'bucket'.

Also, google supports a method where you can supply a variation on your email address for each site that you register to. All you have to do is extend the name part of the address with a + sign. That is instead of ged@gmail.com, use ged+bogleheads@gmail.com. Any mail sent to that address should end up in ged@gmail.com.

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runner9
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by runner9 »

campy2010 wrote:I use firstname.lastname@gmail.com. The major downside is that you get lots of email for those who share your first name and last name. I think spammers oftentimes use common firstname.lastname combos. So, there's that too.

Otherwise, no problems. If your firstname lastname is still available, then grab it.
I've used first and middle initials and last since about 1998. So, John Q Public would be jqpublic@gmail.com My last name isn't common but not overly rare either. I get mail for other people with the same initial sometimes, once got a utility bill and an auto loan bill for about 6 months each. Were a different name, different state.
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dm200
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by dm200 »

My main gmail account is first initial last name @gmail.com e.g. if my name were John Smith, it is jsmith@gmail.com. I got that because I got into gmail very early in gmail's existence. I have another gmail with the full first and last name john.smith@gmail.com, but do not use that very much. The full name version is not without confusion. My first name is common and the last name is not common, but not rare. On one of my emails, I got on a distribution of a guys hockey team in the Chicago area. I told them and they were nice - but it took a few months to have the team emails stop. Recently, on the firstinitial last name one, I received several emails from the admissions office of a college telling me how impressed they were with my academic credentials and hoped I would enroll as a freshman next year. I replied that they were about 50 years too late. On the full name, I once got on a distribution of a party crowd of young folks (it seemed anyway) of all very Irish names either in Ireland or the UK. On the full name one, I even received (with my first and last name) a job offer (with starting salary) for a building engineer somewhere in England. They were very impressed both with my credentials, as well as "my" in-person interview. All I had to do was supply a few documents and I was set to start the job.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by jeff1949 »

I've used my firstname.lastname on both email accounts of gmail and before that worldnet.att.net (all two of them!) in the last 20 years with no problem whatsoever.

Your mileage may vary.

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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by mike143 »

Guess I am [out of luck --admin LadyGeek], own firstnamelastname.com for both the wife and I, so email@firstnamelastname.com.
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MnD
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by MnD »

Grabbed it. :happy
My last name is relatively uncommon but as of a couple years ago my full name was taken in Gmail. Guess somebody deleted it.
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DoubleDraw
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by DoubleDraw »

I have used firstnamelastname@gmail.com for at least 8 years now and have had no security issues that I know of. Make sure to turn 2 step verification on!

https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/180744?hl=en
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by Kosmo »

Here's something interesting I didn't know until recently: if you have the email address first.last@gmail.com, you also have firstlast@gmail.com (no dot).

This can get troublesome. I have a cousin of the same name. His email is firstmiddleinitiallast@gmail.com. For the people who forget/don't know/miss his middle initial, I get the email intended for him. It's not a problem since I know him and I just forward them on, and I usually reply to the sender with his correct email. (Aside: a lot of them are in French, Spanish, or Portuguese, which I don't speak, but he does...so I can't read them anyways.) But it could be a nuisance if you don't know the person who's emails you are receiving and don't know where to forward them or how to correct the sender.

I've had no issues having my name out there. And it's fairly convenient for me since my work email is first.last@work.com, so people don't need to remember 2 separate email addresses.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

No problem with the name, my wife and I have done it for decades. However, I much prefer having separate personal and professional email addresses.

My wife does not keep them separate. She was telling me just yesterday that her admin was looking for an email from 2002 in my wife's account and found an old email from our son: "Mommy, look at this picture of a horse. I love, love, love you." As it happens, the email search was for litigation purposes, and it's all discoverable. No harm done, but still...
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by FabLab »

dm200 wrote:
Using a name that has certain inferences and connotations can be harmful is several ways. "DrunkByNoon@gmail.com", for example, does not present a professional image.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by Sam I Am »

Message deleted.
Last edited by Sam I Am on Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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N1CKV
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by N1CKV »

I have several gmail accounts. My main one is my firstnamelastname@gmail.com
all of the other accounts forward in to my main account, I have the settings set that when I reply it will automatically reply from the account the original email was sent to. People are none-the-wiser that I have multiple email accounts. This method allows me to have multiple addresses without having to check multiple accounts.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by gatorking »

Don't do it if your name is something along the lines of Venkataraman Subramanian :D
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by miles monroe »

a disadvantage i've found is that other people with the same name as mine use "my" gmail account as their junk email account. i've identified a couple of them on linked-in.

i'm tempted -- based on something i read in another thread -- to start subscribing them to stuff.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by mrb09 »

dm200 wrote: Wed May 15, 2013 7:49 pm My main gmail account is first initial last name @gmail.com e.g. if my name were John Smith, it is jsmith@gmail.com. I got that because I got into gmail very early in gmail's existence. I have another gmail with the full first and last name john.smith@gmail.com, but do not use that very much. The full name version is not without confusion. My first name is common and the last name is not common, but not rare.
Ditto. I got my gmail address in the original beta as first initial + lastname, and I get job offers, delinquency notes, children's pictures, all sorts of things addressed to folks with my initial and last name. If I had to do it again, I would have used a more unique name.
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Pajamas
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by Pajamas »

I think the best approach is to have different email addresses for different purposes. I have several Gmail addresses that are versions of my name and use one and hold the rest in reserve for when the current one becomes unusable. I do get spam on the current one but it is manageable and Gmail does an excellent job of putting it in the spam folder and no doubt stops much of it from even getting that far. Only once or twice a year does one slip through into my primary inbox.

I never had spam until personal contacts had malware and my email address was harvested from them. One person in particular repeatedly used CC instead of BCC to send "Christmas letter" type emails about his mid-life crisis to everyone in his address book. He kept doing it even after I asked him not to, so I finally asked him to remove my email from his address book completely. My email address ended up on dozens of his contacts' computers.

I have had a couple of other personal contacts who got malware and spam was sent to me from their address. One email address was also compromised in the Yahoo hack many years ago. I'm not sure if the Equifax hack involved my email address, which they have as I had requested free reports from them.

As far as other people with similar names using my email address, yes, it has happened. My first and last name combination is not unique but I use initials and last name.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by protagonist »

I think using your real name for any account online (email, facebook, amazon, whatever) is a mistake unless you have to.

Anyone who wants to target you for any reason , especially if your name is slightly unusual and they have a clue as to the state where you live, can very rapidly get your address, phone number, and who knows how much more information.

Yes, there are other means to track people, but that one extra step is a big one, given how much easier it is if they already know your name, and the millions of people out there who are easier to track than you.

Besides, it is really not necessary, or even very useful. If you want people to find you, they will find you. I have been on Facebook under a pseudonym since 2004. I have never , to my knowledge, been "found" as a result....no email spam, no obvious unwanted linkages, nothing. But the people that I care about know where I am and who I am.

I'm not risk-averse in life or unusually paranoid about these things. It just seems like common sense.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by Billionaire »

I've been using firstname_lastname@hotmail.com and firstname_lastname@yahoo.com for about 20 years. No problems, others than tons of spam. I contemplated getting a gmail account, but I store so much on both of my other accounts, I feel like I'm married to them for life.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by azurekep »

protagonist wrote: Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:44 am I think using your real name for any account online (email, facebook, amazon, whatever) is a mistake unless you have to.

Anyone who wants to target you for any reason , especially if your name is slightly unusual and they have a clue as to the state where you live, can very rapidly get your address, phone number, and who knows how much more information.

Yes, there are other means to track people, but that one extra step is a big one, given how much easier it is if they already know your name, and the millions of people out there who are easier to track than you.

Besides, it is really not necessary, or even very useful. If you want people to find you, they will find you. I have been on Facebook under a pseudonym since 2004. I have never , to my knowledge, been "found" as a result....no email spam, no obvious unwanted linkages, nothing. But the people that I care about know where I am and who I am.

I'm not risk-averse in life or unusually paranoid about these things. It just seems like common sense.
Agreed. Though paradoxically, while there have been many more security compromises in general since this 2013 thread was started, e-mail has become more secure through the use of 2FA and security questions. And institutions, in general, are more aware of social engineering that can sometimes thwart any protections that are in place.

I remember reading a case, probably around 2013 or maybe a little earlier, where somebody, let's call him John, had an e-mail address with his name either in the address or periodically revealed in the messages. A bad actor learned the email address and the name of the account holder, figured out the server settings (POP, port numbers, etc.) and started reading John's e-mails. (This apparently was not a password-secured e-mail account or else the password was easily guessed.)

It turned out some of the correspondence was with a lawyer and the discussions involved investments. The lawyer was the intermediary between John and John's broker/brokerage, making buys and sells based on John's guidance. The bad actor used social engineering to impersonate the lawyer when talking with the broker/brokerage and somehow (the details are fuzzy here) managed to essentially hijack John's brokerage account and make his own buys and sells.

While I unfortunately didn't keep the article and so forgot many of the details, the takeaway at the time was that other people could read your mail, and if sensitive material were being discussed, with the right information, a bad actor could use social engineering to drain a brokerage account.

Again, I think e-mail security has tightened up to the point where this particular hack might not work, but I just think its common sense to limit the amount of personal information out there. Social engineering is one of the weak points of security and armed with vital bits of personal information, a great deal of mischief could be done. Especially when an e-mail hack is combined with phone-based social engineering.

TL;DR: The right pieces of personal information combined with social engineering can result in harm.

Edit: As I recall, to add insult to injury, "John" was not able to be reimbursed for his brokerage losses.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by rec7 »

I have been doing it for many years. Other than some store receipts and a few people sending me things for a meeting to the real John Doe no problems. I have a common name.
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3dream3
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by 3dream3 »

I agree... I would grab firstname.lastname@gmail if you can. I personally use lastname.firstname@gmail since that was the only one that was available a long time ago. I also use another more generic email for other stuff. I think having a professional email with your name is good to have. I have had this for a long time and have no issues... at least not that I'm aware of.

Also, I have even have gone so far as to grab the same firstname.lastname@gmail for my small kids... not that they'll actually use it now. However, I do use it and send emails to their accounts with pictures and other random stuff that I get from their teachers at school. So, when they get older, they have the choice of keeping the email or not... but also can go through all the emails that I've sent them over the years and reminisce.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by Sandtrap »

I use different email addresses for each category. Personal, business, unanimous, disposable.
There are accounts that seem to do better with my name in the email address, not all.
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dbr
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by dbr »

I haven't been able to use my fn.ln or my initials or any other ordinary combinations of my name in ages because it is always already taken. My name is far less common than John Smith yet I am amazed that if I Google myself the first dozens of entries are not me. As a result I end up with things like dbr001 or dbr99.

However, I do think it is not professional, unfriendly, and sometimes backfires to use anything other than one's name in a straightforward way. By backfire I mean choosing a weird name that might give a bad impression to someone. Usernames where anonymity is an issue are a different thing.

Disclaimer: dbr may or may not be my real initials or may be something entirely different.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by likegarden »

We use FirstnameinitialLastname@etc for 30 years and had no problems. This is probably known all over the world because we got scam Emails from China, Nigeria and Russia.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by knpstr »

gmail does not make "." distinctions

So if first.last@gmail.com is available so is firstlast@gmail.com

both e-mail address will receive the exact same email.
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dm200
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by dm200 »

knpstr wrote: Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:30 pm gmail does not make "." distinctions
So if first.last@gmail.com is available so is firstlast@gmail.com
both e-mail address will receive the exact same email.
Right. I have a gmail account with first initial last name (e.g. jsmith@gmail,com) - and I get tones of email for someone with a dot after first initial (e.g. j.smith@gmail.com)

I really like a person's name (recognizable) in emails. It is very confusing to get an email from someone you know (say Sue Jones) and the email is qxyort.123@xyz.com
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by iamlucky13 »

I suspect the fact that I use a unique name comes across as somewhat less professional in job-seeking than had I used firstname.lastname1234@server dot com or similar.

However, even though I joined Gmail way back when it was an invitation-only beta product, firstname.lastname and several similar variants were already taken for my moderately generic name. I didn't want numbers, so I came up with a unique name and have just stuck with it.

I actually incorporated my first name in it, which has turned out to confuse multiple people.

At one interview, the main person I was dealing with apparently looked at my email address, not my signature, and thought "iamlucky13 @ server . com - His name is is Iam Lucky."

He then introduced me to the rest of the interviewers that way.

That was the first time I'd considered the address I was using might not seem professional.

If I had used my full name, I might be even more careful about who I share that address with. As is, I don't give that address out for much more than friends and family, banking, and healthcare.

Almost everything else goes to a different account I keep, but even so, I still get some junkmail addressed to me by my full name, so somebody in that last has apparently let their contact list be compromised. Premera is a obvious possibility, but it started before their big data breach.
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dm200
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by dm200 »

Some "creative" personal email names could be harmful when on a job search (or other things).

I doubt "Icandrinkeveryoneunderthetable@aol.com" would be a positive (with rare exceptions) or similar.
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by azurekep »

dm200 wrote: Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:29 pm Some "creative" personal email names could be harmful when on a job search (or other things).
Jobs and job searches are one thing. In fact, depending on where one works, the email address may be assigned to you -- you have no choice.

But for things like banking, I have no qualms about non-name names. It feels funny at first using strange names. But it has no impact on whether you can set up or maintain an account. As long as the e-mail name is not something disrespectful, you're okay. If signing up in person, you can always joke about the name or say you're doing it to prevent your email address from being stolen. Everyone understands this. They just want your money and the knowledge that you're a good credit risk.

You get more laughs with companies and organizations on those rare occasions when you have to disclose your secret answers to your secret questions. Having the CSR repeat a long string of random alphanumerics or some snarky phrase is pretty funny. But again, they understand. (Just be sure to change the secret question/answer after having to reveal it.)
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Re: Using full name for email - bad or good idea?

Post by daveydoo »

MnD wrote: Wed May 15, 2013 6:25 pm I'm switching to Gmail for personal email. My work recently switched to corporate Gmail and I'd prefer to use the same system for work and personal.
For personal my full name happens to be available as FirstName.Lastname@gmail.com
Perfect for work; no good for home use, imo. For all that Craigslist, eBay, school email, neighborhood association garbage (that always fall into marketers' hands), spouse and I have a very generic-looking gmail. Yes, you can make a separate gmail every time you want anonymity, but I would avoid this. If you're grandfathered into it (i.e., have used the same "real name" email since earthlink or AOL), then a case can be made for maintaining it for the sake of continuity, but if you're just getting started I would choose anonymity any day.

Wait, why not include your birthday, too? Then no one will forget! :D
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