Own your e-mail address!

The title of this posting is not an offer - it is a very clear instruction. For ten years I have been using an e-mail address in the .za top-level domain (TLD) which is now (after numerous takeovers) owned by South Africa's largest ISP, MWeb. It has all been a mistake. MWeb has apparently not been properly maintaining the DNS records for the domain name which I am using and as a result many servers are now marking e-mail from me as spam. I am also paying about $20 per month in ISP fees just to keep this specific e-mail address. Two months of e-mails to MWeb have resulted in minimal action in this regard. It has however been clear to me for some time now that a reasonable person should want complete control over their e-mail address(es). The following requirements have suggested themselves.
  • Ownership of the domain name. This implies full control over DNS settings related to the domain name. It also implies the ability to create an unlimited number of e-mail addresses for various purposes, under the same domain name. Estimated cost: $12/year.
  • A domain name in a predictable, competitive and well-managed administrative environment. This requirement excludes Camoroon (.cm), Tuvalu (.tv) and - alas! - SA (.za). Basically only international (.com, .org, .net, .info) and US (.us) TLD spaces are under serious consideration.
  • An appropriate domain name. Anything that sounded cool as a student might be very inappropriate for a 50 year old professor. Bugsbunny.com is out and anything with one's surname (all my reasonable ones have been taken) is in. However, it could be that one does not necessarily want to reveal one's surname through an e-mail address and even though my domain name with surname and initials (similar to jfkennedy.com) is available I am hesitant to take it for this reason. The following item is also of concern with the initials+surname model.
  • The domain name should be easy to recall and easy to convey verbally, including over the telephone. A domain name consisting of numbers only could be very good by this criterion - numbers are very hard to confuse in most languages. The main problem is finding an appropriate number that can be easily recalled - first of all, by me. 1917.com would be good from this point of view but - given that one is presumably trying to establish a life-time address - perhaps too narrowly ideological. It is also no longer available.
If the .name TLD were better known it would be a good choice, of course, but unfortunately it is still a bit obscure. To summarise: I am trying to establish an e-mail address (or, rather, a long term domain name for a number of e-mail addresses e.g. darling@1652.com, professor@1652.com) subject to the requirements above. Any comments would be much appreciated.

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