Friday, November 29th, 2013
I’ve had this web domain for years and invested tens of thousands of hours in content generation, site maintenance and relationship building. Throughout my university years up until now this has been the main marketing channel that brought in business and income. It endorses my expertise. It provides a form of legitimacy that I need to sell myself as a professional. And it makes me look good when people hunt me out as a web professional.
However, over the last two years there has been a growing (and slightly annoying) problem with emails that I receive through my main email account. The one attached to this domain.
A South Australian lawyer shares the same name and has a very similar domain name. His URL is different by one letter because he includes a middle initial. And I get approximately three emails per week from clients or people related to his law firm.
At first I used to forward these private and confidential emails along to the other Steven Clark. Then I began replying instantly to the sender that they have the wrong email address. But my issue with both of those solutions was the lawyer perceives that the problem doesn’t exist simply because I’m the sap using up cognitive load dealing with these errant emails.
Add that up… three emails times fifty two weeks in a year. That’s how many times I receive notifications or meeting requests, attached PDF and Excel documents clogging up my limited account space… over 150 free services that I have provided in the last twelve months. I’m not an employee.
My other concern is that I am receiving private and confidential legal documentation. This is really not a good situation. But it comes about because they chose their domain name or named their business very badly.
So at the moment I’m ignoring this spam. Because that’s what it’s become from my perspective. I have a huge sympathy for the lawyer and can see how this has occurred but I really don’t like having to deal with my clogged up inbox or the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach that private information isn’t being appropriately secured.
The moral of this story is probably that a near enough domain name is always going to be an issue. One letter wrong in the sender’s email address and the communication channel has a high likelihood of chaotic error. If you only receive 99 per cent of your mail then you really have no idea what should or shouldn’t have arrived in the first place.
I really don’t know what to do about the issue though. I know it would bother me if I was their client.