Launching an Email Service on Your Domain Name

Over the past couple of years, a number of people have asked me for my opinion on starting an email service on one of their domain names. Most of the time, these domain names are either very short or brandable in the sense that people would want to have the vanity email address. While an email service can be good to increase page views, brand recognition, and stickiness, I generally don’t recommend doing this for a few reasons.

As a service provider – especially a service as vital as email has become, you will be held responsible for any service outages or interrupts. Of course you can blame Google or whatever application you decide to use if something goes down, but as the face and contact for your company, people will look to you for answers. I get frustrated when my email service goes down – as infrequently as that is. Imagine if you have 1,000 frustrated people emailing you from other email services!

Maintaining the privacy of millions of emails, logins, passwords…etc can be a very big responsibility. While in theory it shouldn’t be too difficult, constant hacker attacks, worms, and other malicious attempts to crack your servers can cause problems for you. It can also be expensive to hire a company to watch this for you. Not only can you expect bad PR if someone hacks into your email system, but there could be legal liability as well.

Another reason is that I believe it can encumber a domain name if the owner ever wants to sell it. Whether the owner is charging for email service or not, if he has opened it up to allow others to use the domain name for email, the owner could potentially be required to host the email for an extended period, and many buyers won’t want to have to deal with these ramifications – unless they are driving serious revenue. I am no legal expert, so consult with an attorney on this.

I know of one person who launched an email service and regretted it, and I want to give advice to those who are considering it. I personally wouldn’t advise doing it.

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Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I once owned an email service, and I must say it was very profitable at that time. I launched the site, promoted the service and people started to sign up.

    However, as the service became more popular, the number of daily sign ups increased exponentially. So did the traffic and bandwidth on my server, hence costs went up drastically. At that point there were the first outages. But what was worst, is that suddenly thousands of spammers and bots began to use the (free) email service.

    That was when I decided to shut the site down. Overall, I made a nice profit and I later also sold the domain name, but you should know that, once the service reaches a specific size, running a reliable and money-making free email service can be very costly and laborious.

  2. I agree with Elliot. If you are starting it with the intention to make it a serious and viable business then that is one thing, if you are starting it just for a few quick bucks then that is asking for trouble. Too much headache and liability.

  3. What about just selling the email address but not an email service – ie provide an email forwarder but require the user to manage the rest? Gmail does this perfectly well for example (and for free).

  4. I do entirely agreew with your wise advice, Elliot. I once considered doing it, but having in mind all those potential issues, I gave up. I just make available some addresses to friends for free, on a domain name I know I want to keep for myself.

    Especially now, there are some excellent, very professional email services (I like AlienCamel and FastMail, strangely both Australian companies). Paying a fee to such companies seem definitely to be the best choice one can make at this point.

    Regarding forwarders (Morgan’s remark), the problem still remains the same if you decide finally to sell the name.

  5. Many people from the Acting industry including my sister who is an hollywood agent said I should turn my domains and into e-mail service. For example, or

    Actors are very vain people and there are thousands or hundreds of thousands of them who want to be one. Also, it fit’s well with the .tv extension. Would do you guys think?

    Thanks, Jim

  6. These are very interesting comments! I must say that I have considered an email on some of the older local government domains that I have like: =

    or =

    It seems as though an email service could be the gateway to a community site for all of the Boards of Commissioners in the US by getting them addicted to an email service first.

    I’d like to see more opinions on this topic!

    Thanks, Chris

  7. Chris, I wonder… do not those people at the Boards of Commissioners already have their professional email address? do they really need another one? And if they want a private one, they probably prefer it not to reflect their professional affiliation.

    Anyway, whoever starts today a email service should provide some quality features. Do not forget – as I mentioned in a previous post – that there are excellent email services on the market, beside Gmail. It should be more than just a name, but also something pleasant to use and with attractive feratures. And there is competition – beside the ones I mentioned already, take a look at the long-established, for instance.

  8. I almost started a free email service on Who knows, perhaps someday I will. Anyway, we were looking at working with a company called which seemed perfect for the task. Basically you resell their service with your domain but you get to put your logo all over the place so nobody knows it’s FuseMail. If this is something you are looking to do, ask for Henry when you contact them and him Joe from itzmail sent you.

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