Computer Help forum

General discussion

The wisdom of using my full name as my email address.

by thegibson / June 29, 2010 8:11 AM PDT

I've been looking to get a new e-mail address and over from Yahoo to Google so I can take advantage of all the Google services (voice, maps, etc.) and tie them in with my e-mail account. Pretty much all of my options for e-mail addresses have been exhausted except one: my full name, which includes my middle name, so essentially my e-mail address would be:

The majority of the people I know who use Gmail use some semblance of their name: either first.last@gmail, or last.first@gmail, or whatever, but using my full name makes me hesitate.

Does anybody know what legitimate security issues might come into play if I decide to do this? Or is a name pretty much public information anyway and having it has my e-mail makes it simple for my friends and family to remember and doesn't put me at any higher risk?

I'd be interested to know what you all think.


Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: The wisdom of using my full name as my email address.
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: The wisdom of using my full name as my email address.
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
by gargamel360 / June 29, 2010 8:56 AM PDT

I personally don't see any problem with first name, although any type of identity disclosure can be considered a risk, it is minimal risk here. Last name I would hesitate strongly. Both together? No way.

There is no benefit for me to do so, and if there isn't any benefit for you either, I would not. If you are trying to promote your name as a celebrity or professional, those are the times to think about it, imo.

Any other use of your last name like this offers only risk with no reward, like playing in traffic.

But I have a fairly unique name, so my decisions are colored by this also. As there are very few others who share it, I am easily singled out. If you have a "John Doe" type name, this might lower your risk.

You cant really run out of options for your e-mail address name, since nothing related to you needs to have anything to do with it.
(Unless, as I stated above, you are trying to build off of your name)
i.e.>> or

Collapse -
I do it
by Jimmy Greystone / June 29, 2010 10:39 AM PDT

I do it, but I set that account up for a very specific reason. Originally it was for sending out resumes from. I've since adapted it for "business" type uses. I have another email address I use for personal stuff, and 2-3 other email accounts I use when some site insists on me having to sign up for something, but I don't feel like getting spammed by the place which can now claim an existing relationship.

You just have to remember, that if you're selective about to whom you give that address out to, it shouldn't be a big problem. There is at least something to be said for being able to hide in a crowd. It's not the world's greatest defense against anything, but when it comes to email addresses, one is really as good as the next. Besides, in the world, there are probably at least a dozen people with your exact full name, including middle name. And this is information you readily give out all over the place. Some random person on the street comes up and offers to shake your hand, while introducing themselves, don't you introduce yourself as well? You're not giving out your social security number (or it's equivalent if you live outside the US), mother's maiden name, or any of the other info usually asked when you're verifying your identity. I don't really see the problem. Especially when you see all the crap people share on sites like Facebook and Myspace. People share details on those sites that goes above and beyond the wet dreams of would-be stalkers. Your full name is hardly THAT useful. Anyone can likely figure that much out by just following you around for an hour.

I'd say it's good that you're at least thinking about these things, that puts you well above the average person these days, but in this particular case, your concerns aren't justified. But keep that quality of questioning the wisdom of various actions. It will serve you well at some point in life if it hasn't already.

Collapse -
by thegibson / June 29, 2010 1:40 PM PDT

In this case it will be my default email for everything, personal, professional, etc..

Collapse -
In that case
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / June 29, 2010 8:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Usage

I would follow Jimmy's advice.

A "Professional" email account using your full name is fine if it is for business purposes or some other professional use.

But for personal use, why not something else? Does Google allow more than one email account per user?

I must say I'm surprised that all combinations are unavailable. For instance, my surname is Flaxman, and I have used email names in different formats in the past, eg;

mflaxman @

mark.flax @

mark_flax @

mflax @

mark.flaxman @

mark_flaxman010 @

And so on.

My first email account was m123e321 @ (although the numbers were different). That was given to me by my first ISP 15 years ago, so I had no choice.


Collapse -
by thegibson / June 30, 2010 5:54 AM PDT
In reply to: In that case

I have an unbelievably common last name... and I hate putting numbers in addresses. Thing is I want this to be my new email address forEVER. I want to marry it and grow old with it. I could come up with a unique name that's available ( but again, I want it to be a professional email as well, mostly because I don't want to juggle multiple accounts.

I want the perfect email address, and my full name seems perfect... except when you consider possible security issues.

Collapse -
I've heard of many things,
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / June 30, 2010 6:07 AM PDT
In reply to: name

but married to an email address? Happy

At the end of the day this is your choice. Weigh up all the pros and cons and make your decision.

When I think about it, I realise that there is so much of my identity on the internet that having a full-name email address probably doesn't matter.

One thing I would be aware of though, that's the "Send/Forward to All" syndrome. In a fit of anger you create an email, or forward an email, with some criticism or derogatory remark, then you 'send to all', only to realise immediately you've pressed the Send button that there was one particular person, boss, business customer, or so on, that you really didn't want to see it.

That's why I suggested two or more email accounts. One for personal use, the other for business/commercial use. It limits the fall-out.


Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions

CNET Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for great gifts under $100?

Trendy tech gifts don't require a hefty price tag. Choose from these CNET-recommended useful and high-quality gadgets.