One of my colleagues believes that you can tell a lot about somebody from their full name. He doesn't like it when I say "I was talking to a friend and..." - he wants names. Well, being a geek, I think you can tell more about somebody from their email address. Maybe I'm a cyber-snob, but I do judge people on what comes after the @. I'm not the only one - the BBC ran an online story on the subject, and Chapter 3 of the Netwars book gets stuck into one domain in particular.
All the mail heading in my direction goes via 22 Outlook filters. This isn't overkill, or technology for the sake of it - if I didn't sort my mail into 29 different folders it would be an horrific task to deal with it each week. But there's always some mail that passes through these filters and languishes in my Inbox, and it's usually at this point that my cyber-prejudice comes into play.
I've just set up a 23rd mail filter to act on these remaining messages and filter out all those that appear to be from web-based free-email accounts. Hotmail, Netscape, Yahoo, Excite, Postmaster, etc. Why? Well, although there are several useful, legitimate reasons for using these accounts (I occasionally use IanFNelson@yahoo.com when I'm away from home for extended periods), I find that they're primarily used by web weirdos who have something to hide. It's exactly the same as receiving a paper based letter without a signature or return address - it'd freak me out. Some of my friends use these accounts, and so those messages are already filtered out by this time - my "Filter #23" should only pick out emails from strangers. I'm not saying that I'll never read these messages - it's just that I'll leave them until later, and I'll take what they say with a pinch of salt. Surely every internet service provider gives you email as well as web access? MS are now advertising Hotmail with the slogan B_who_u_want_2_B, or some such "phrase". Well, if you don't wanna be yourself, don't email me!