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How professional is the use of gmail, yahoo and hotmail?
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:00
Flemish to English
+ ...
Oct 27, 2007

The use of gmail, yahoo and hotmail is being considered unprofessional by some.
However, gmail offers 4.4 gig of space, yahoo about the same and hotmail 5 gig.
Enough space to be used for storage of files and business-purposes? Accessible from anywhere in the world and if your computer crashes, you still have your mails.
How do you consider the use of those emailservices?


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 12:00
Turkish to English
+ ...
Yahoo has a lot of advantages. Oct 27, 2007

I agree that you can do a lot using a free account with Yahoo, or a similar service. I operated as a freelance translator for many years via my Yahoo account, and even ran a small agency through it for a while. Apart from the advantages you mention, you are protected from viruses when you access web-based e-mail as long you don't download any files.
I only abandoned Yahoo because it started sending genuine inquiries from potential clients to the "bulk messages" folder (which I empty without reading), or even not delivering them at all.
I now use an e-mail address at my own registered domain. In many ways, I am glad to have made this move. I can't help feeling that this creates a more professional impression. I am sure that agencies don't really care what e-mail address you have, but I am not sure that a serious corporate client would be too impressed with a translator who uses a Yahoo address.


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:00
French to English
+ ...
Turning the question around Oct 27, 2007

Hi Williamson,

Let's turn the question around.

As independent professionals, we take care to check out prospects before proposing our services or responding to inquiries. If an agency contacts me for a project and only has a gmail, yahoo or hotmail email address, I'll start to wonder who they really are and if/why they need to use free services when it costs so little to have a professional address. It is indeed possible to get one of those addresses with invented or doctored registration information.

If I am sourcing services, I want to know who I am dealing with and those types of addresses do not give me a good first impression. This does not mean I will not deal with those who only have those types of emails, but I will investigate further. For my part, I would not want to make things more difficult for prospects, rather I'd want to do what I can to reassure them about my business.

I may be overly cautious, but I'm not too comfortable with the idea of business correspondence and files (for which we are liable) sitting on these companies' servers... I may be foolish, but I feel more comfortable with email and server space provided by reputable web hosting firms. My email is web accessible, I can leave a copy of messages on the server if I like or move them to a secured part of my web hosting plan.

But to each his/her own!

Cheers,

Patricia


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Giulia TAPPI  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:00
French to Italian
+ ...
What does being professional mean? Oct 27, 2007

I had already seen another post dealing with more or less the same question, and I had been quite shocked by people saying these mail adresses do not look professional.
IMO being professional is just related to the accuracy and consistency of my work, not to this sort of things!
And I can assure you that I work with big firms and none of my clients ever thought I was not professional!
Otherwise, there are a lot of things to be taken into account.
Am I unprofessional because I do not have a car (in Paris, you really do not need one)? Or because I get free telephone calls from my internet provider? Maybe should I pay for this, to show I am more professional?


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keshab  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:30
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
gmail has some unique features Oct 27, 2007

No doubt huge storage capacity is a facility and some email providers is going to offer unlimited storage capacity. But I think today's professional demands mobile connectivity so that he/she can connect with business for 24 hours.When you are away from your computer, you can check your e-mail and reply through mobile/cell phone. In this regard, Gmail is far ahead of other email providers. It has a unique mobile software by which you can track your email easily. Yahoo also provides such software but still it is byte-consuming.
Gmail's file allocation system is also superb. All emails received from and send to a person (on reply basis) are clustered. As the result you need not to search to trace your old records manually. Just go to contacts and get all mail transaction of that person.
Of course Yahoo and other mail providers are growing faster to cater many facilities but still gmail (common looking, somehow) better for its necessary features.


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:00
Member
French to English
+ ...
Certainly always gives me an unprofessional impression of someone Oct 27, 2007

I think one needs to take on board the connotations of these kinds of mail services, and I fully apprecaite that these perceptions may be different in different countries.

Coming from the UK, I associate such services as Yahoo! etc. with amateurs, private individuals, 'play' not 'work' — and that frequently goes with the kind of frivolous 'nicknames' users of these services often hide behind, and the disproportionate use of them on dubious sites, where people are keen to remain anonymous.

In the professional context, I am naturally wary of people using such addresses; I would certainly check the credentials of a client more carefully before accepting work from them, and would always be very wary of agencies using them. A dedicated domain name is these days cheap enough to be worth having just for the sake of its PR value.

And if I want to outsource a project, if there is nothing else to choose between 2 translators, I would always choose the one who appeared more serious / professional by having a 'proper' e-mail address.

To address the point raised by Giulia: no, I wouldn't consider you unprofessional for not having a car, because I have no pre-judgements about the extent to which a car might or might not be useful in your professional life. To me, those are the criteria by which I will form an initial impression of a potential contct.

I am instinctively wary of someone who only uses one of these web-based mail services, or who only offers a mobile number (so easy to hide your true identity behind!) — but I would consider a mobile number as a professional + point IF it is given in addition to a fixed number (VoIP or other).

On another level, I have always found the ergonomics of these systems irksome; I know they have been improved since I last used them seriously, but even so, I find them cumbersome to use, and although there are some advantages to having your mails stored centrally, I feel these are outweighed by the extra time it takes to download things when you want to. I have also frequently experienced highly inconvenient outages (at least if my ISP is temporarily uncontactable, I can connect using another one, and still reply to all the mails I've already got), and many confirmed instances of important mails not getting through, or being seriously delayed. And I find I am perfectly able to access my 'conventional' e-mail service via webmail from practically anywhere.

[Edited at 2007-10-27 17:37]


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:00
French to English
+ ...
initial perception Oct 27, 2007

Giulia TAPPI wrote:

I had already seen another post dealing with more or less the same question, and I had been quite shocked by people saying these mail adresses do not look professional.
IMO being professional is just related to the accuracy and consistency of my work, not to this sort of things!
And I can assure you that I work with big firms and none of my clients ever thought I was not professional!
Otherwise, there are a lot of things to be taken into account.
Am I unprofessional because I do not have a car (in Paris, you really do not need one)? Or because I get free telephone calls from my internet provider? Maybe should I pay for this, to show I am more professional?


I am just talking about factors that influence initial perception , before anyone knows that service provider or prospect. Only after one works with someone can professionalism be ascertained -- and then the widgets don't matter at all.

Patricia


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
First impressions indeed Oct 27, 2007

Patricia Lane wrote:
I am just talking about factors that influence initial perception , before anyone knows that service provider or prospect.


Exactly. When I'm contacted by an outsourcer whose email address ends in gmail, hotmail, yahoo, or even aol.com, I'm slightly wary and do a fair amount of checking around before accepting a job from them.

I wouldn't use such an account for my business address for the same reason I wouldn't show up at a business meeting in dirty jeans and beat-up sneakers: it may not indicate whether I'm trustworthy, but it makes a less-than-serious first impression.

[Edited at 2007-10-27 14:21]


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:00
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Have been using a paying Hotmail account Oct 27, 2007

Hi Williamson,

I have been using a paying hotmail account for about 6 years and first it was going fine. I have a large email account and can receive up to 20 MB in attachments.

I am now having recurrent problemsm like not being able to get into my inbix and messages either being delivered without their attachment or after several days or not at all.

I am seriously thinking of switching to another one, perhaps the webmail account of Proz. Not the free one, too many unwanted ads, but the paying one.

Don't know if this helps you. So, it used to work fine, but not anymore.

Good luck!
Lucinda


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The Misha
Local time: 05:00
Russian to English
+ ...
Oh, boy ... Oct 27, 2007

Now we have THAT to worry about. And just to think that it has once been about actually being able to do a good job... Then came the CATs, and now we have to worry about the kind of email address you use too. Where is it all going?

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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 05:00
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Am I nuts? Oct 27, 2007

I do not understand why using an account (gmail) which is extremely effective, has tons fo storage, etc. and rarely lets me down, makes me seem less professional? Is it more professional to spend money on something I can get for the same quality for free? I am quite sure my accountant would disagree.
Gmail may not carry a designer tag, but it is hardly the equivalent of dirty jeans...


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Satto (Roberto)  Identity Verified
Colombia
Local time: 04:00
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Right on! Oct 27, 2007

Patricia Lane wrote:
If an agency contacts me for a project and only has a gmail, yahoo or hotmail email address, I'll start to wonder who they really are and if/why they need to use free services when it costs so little to have a professional address. It is indeed possible to get one of those addresses with invented or doctored registration information.




If a paid service is so cheap why be so stingy not to get one and add to your image instead? Do you want to be considered cheap? You only have one chance to make a first impression.


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:00
Member
French to English
+ ...
Don't know about gmail Oct 27, 2007

Juliana Starkman wrote:
Gmail may not carry a designer tag, but it is hardly the equivalent of dirty jeans...


Personally, I don't have specific preconceptions about gmail, so I don't automatically associate it with the others.

However, as a general principle, viewed from the outside (and with all due respect to your accountant!), it doesn't necessarily look like sensible economy, but rather, like being cheapskate and reflecting a penny-pinching attitude.

It's like visiting a professional in a shabby office, or going to a dilapidated shop — or printing your invoices crooked on cheap quality paper; "spoiling the ship for a ha'p'orth of tar" often comes across as a lack of professionalism.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:00
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Previous thread Oct 27, 2007

Williamson wrote:
The use of gmail, yahoo and hotmail is being considered unprofessional by some.


A previous thread on this issue.
http://www.proz.com/topic/79892



[Edited at 2007-10-27 15:45]


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Giulia TAPPI  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:00
French to Italian
+ ...
but so many things make a first impression... Oct 27, 2007

I think going to a business meeting with dirty clothes has nothing to do with making a good impression. It is a professional fault.
But as far as gmail or hotmail are concerned... I think also pseudonyms used on this site might look unprofessional, as well as logos and pictures.
And before working with somebody I do not know, I ask him which are his terms of payment, and try to know if other translators were paid before; I do not look at his mail address!


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