Admiral car insurance has been accused of putting up premiums for people with Hotmail addresses, claiming that they are more likely to crash. It would be relatively easy for Hotmail users to get their premiums back down again by changing to a more respectable Gmail address, but unfortunately none of them will be able to, because they don’t know how to use the internet.
In the beginning, we all got a Hotmail address to use as an alternative to a work address, some time between discovering email and realising your boss could read them all (circa 1996). The downfall started – and this will be a curiosity to digital natives – when people started to pay for their personal email account. Because it was free, Hotmail attracted all the people who didn’t want to pay or didn’t know you could and thereby became tainted by them, this being the era when paying for stuff still conveyed connoisseurship, rather than cluelessness. It didn’t help that there was nothing sacred about a Hotmail account, because you could just get another one, so there were a lot of email@example.com. Plus it was global, so you could never get your own name unless you added nine digits after it, like a Russian trollbot. Soon, it was all basically teenagers and people who needed a second email account for their double life.
With the passage of time and the absence of a brand overhaul, the word “hotmail” near your name started to be quite ageing; like “ntlworld” or “blueyonder”, it was a sign that you weren’t keeping up. It was a deduction that wouldn’t stand up in a court of law, but online it is inference, not certainty, that drags you down. When you could have an ageless Yahoo address, there is just no call to leave this kind of footprint, unless “incredibly old” is your calling card.
Obviously, the coolest email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I discovered this when I gave my email address to the warranty guy in Halfords and he went: “Ooh, business lady.”