Category Archives: privacy laws

A new business website and domain needs new emails – generic emails you need and why

Your New Website & Business Needs the Right Emails!
Author: Chang Han (Google+)
Email addresses are ‘signals’ to the world and to the person you are corresponding to about who they are ‘speaking’ to.

Imagine sending a complaint to amazon and getting a reply from “” Now imagine you’ve just arrived at some random website after doing a Google search for a new mouse for your computer, a spare part for your car, or even an engagement ring (yes, a lot of people look for and buy each of these things online now!). You send an inquiry email and you get a response from “” or “” or even “” You may find the strange email address endearing or interesting, but more likely you will find it triggers a lack of trust and ‘strangeness’ you can’t quite put your finger on.

I am describing the power of the ‘signals’ we give off with the simple things like our email naming convention and the generic emails we designate in our organization or small business. In addition to the signals we are communicating to the public and to our potential future clients and customers, these words are also indicators of convention – that incredibly powerful background, unconscious indicator in our brains that say “familiar” and “trust” versus “unfamiliar” and “distrust.”

If you got a response to your complaint from “” or “” you automatically ‘know’ that you are speaking to the right person or department with your email correspondence!

So, let’s look at the generic email addresses that you simply must create as soon as you have set up your first domain, url and company website. Even if you are a company of 1 person – you still need these email addresses because you don’t need to publicize to the world that you are merely a company of 1 person! Even startups can look like an established, trust-worthy business organization from day 1.

1. email addresses

Emails are used for a number of purposes, including non-communication purposes. For example, if you have a privacy policy and you are an organization (i.e., successful enough to warrant having one person who’s job/time is taken up entirely by requests and tasks related to the privacy policy), you would likely have a generic email address that is assigned for that person (or dept) AND that could easily be kept the same even if the person were to change.

In today’s business world – especially in any western English speaking locale, in the United States, in Canada, in the UK, or Australia, etc. – it is imperative that you have some basics set up for personal privacy and complying with your local privacy laws. Often, you will also have to comply with other countries’ privacy laws as well if you are actively seeking clients or customers from that country! A great recent example is Canada’s CASL – the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation. It went into effect July 1, 2014 and it allows for severe monetary penalties if you do not comply, even if you are not in Canada!

For your privacy policy, I would recommend taking out your personal email as the ‘go to’ email for that policy, and assign something like ‘privacy@[your domain].com’ or ‘compliance@[your domain].com’ or even ‘contact@’ or ‘info@.’

This also looks more professional and the email can then be set up so that you or anyone else can access it easily without having to give access to your personal email. Of course, you can have this email address be forwarded to your personal account, or to your ‘work’ email or both to start off. The nice thing is that you want to keep all the emails that come in to this account in this email account’s inbox as well – and voila, instant record-keeping for purposes of privacy all in one place for as long as you want. (I usually keep the email there and store it myself on my own servers for safety and security for years even if a website I created or hosted were to get shut down, in such a worst case scenario, if need be)

2. Typical uses for email for any business are the following generic email addresses:

2.1 info@ – also used interchangeably with contact@, useful for giving an organizational feel to a website to have this in a few places where it’s appropriate (i.e., all questions about content might be directed to [your email naming convention]@ but any ‘general’ questions being directed to an anonymous info@ or contact@ will actually feel ‘safe’ to a few people who don’t want to bother the main man (you, in this case) with what they perceive as a minor question.

2.2 webmaster@ – used at the bottom for any website or IT administrative type emails. This is a typical thing for mid to large organizations, so having it available is a ‘signal’ that this website and the organization has its processes in place and is legit. Of course it can just go to you – or it can actually go directly to whomever deals with your website and IT issues (for me and the businesses I work with, it would be me) so that if there is a legitimate website related issue, you can get notice of it immediately and handle it directly. This is what I like to do.

2.3 sales@ – all businesses have sales. You may do all your own sales – or you may not – but sometimes it is important to have an email address that specifically signals to either the recipient or to the sender that the email represents a ‘conversation’ that is designed / has the purpose of ending with someone paying money to [your domain].com. Hence, a very useful email address.

2.4 yours – you need a good email naming convention. Don’t take this lightly, as the wrong choice will cause confusion for your clients, missed opportunities and customers for you, and even spam attacks and website/password hacks! I advocate simple – it makes sense to have an email that ‘signals’ you are a part of a legitimate organization and can be trusted with information related to the work, business, product or service that you are focusing on without you having to explain it to someone in a long conversation. Try [first name].[last name]@ or [first name].[first letter of last name]@, or even [first name]@ if you are small enough and personal enough as a company or product/service.

Keep it simple and quick, set up emails with all the right generic signals and conventions and have it forward to your current personal email, and continue to send emails from your personal email. But ‘give’ people your preferred ‘work’ email address or appropriate generic email address for when they send you emails. Little to no effort and cost and a big return on the subconscious impact of who you and your organization is to the recipient/sender!

2.5 support@ – a signal that the person is dealing with a person/dept that is specifically attuned to and intends to provide solutions for any problem that the person may be having related to the website, the service, or any person related to the service.

If you find this useful and would like similar suggestions for email signatures, please contact me and let me know! : )

Send me a message on LinkedIn – you can connect with me by joining our LinkedIn Discussion Group and you’ll also find an entire community!

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Social Media for Business – Do’s and Dont’s if you have any staff

Author: Chang Han (Google+)
Did you know there are also stricter and stricter rules and regulations related to using social media?

Use it well, and be rewarded richly with great business – use it improperly and be punished with a bad reputation, negative brand, and even worse – fines and jail time!

How is that possible, you ask?  Well, I’m glad you asked.

Companies and small businesses are more and more often accessing social media sites to both find the right employee and assess job applicants as well as even monitor staff after they are hired.  After all, if you have someone speaking to your customers and representing you and your product or service to the public, you don’t want that person to have a facebook page that would shock older customers and potentially be harmful to young children!

However, using Social Media has every increasing risks due to the rapidly changing use of social media, which drives the rapidly changing and increasing laws and regulations regarding it.  These regulations don’t have to be local and specific to our province to apply to you – those regulations in other provinces and in the federal regime, and also – believe it or not – those in the U.S. are becoming more and more intrusive on you and your use of social media in a business context.

Put it this way: the line between social media for private, non-commercial purposes and for business purposes is fuzzy.  And it gets fuzzier and fuzzier.

Recently, there was quite a hububaloo (is that a real word?) about companies insisting that employees and job applicants provide their social media account passwords.  No kidding.  This was the only way a company could go check someone’s social media account and look at even those private features shared only with existing family or friends or contacts.   From a business-owner’s perspective, you had to do this: many of the best people for sales or marketing already have a huge network and their private features are shared with hundreds, or thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people (in the case of Twitter).  Often, it is this very fact of having a large network that makes the person an ideal candidate to help you and your business!

If that person was working for you, what are they saying about your business just by posting their own personal facebook posts to their own personal facebook account, especially when you are a small business and you share a lot of contacts?  What if this person doesn’t make a clear distinction between their work and their personal lives – what if these posts are seen by thousands of people?  You can see why having social media passwords could be considered crucial – especially if you understand the importance of branding and reputation.

However, the backlash to the business push for social media account passwords was intense.  It raised some public awareness about the importance of social media in business, and also provided ample fodder for a big policy push.  Who doesn’t want a popular new legal area as part of their political platform, after all?

Where am I going with all this?

You may have gathered that I can be a little long-winded at times.

Here’s my point.  There are 3 essential areas that you want to look at when you are thinking of maximizing your leverage of social media – including using social media via your employees and contractors – where you want to both tread carefully as well as have an open and honest conversation about with the people you work with.  Here they are:

1. Privacy Laws

Many jurisdictions have now enacted legislation prohibiting a business requesting personal passwords.  Don’t do it.  BUT – beware.  If your employee or contractor is using personal accounts in order to help your business – i.e., their gmail, their facebook, or their twitter, etc. – then you MAY not have any access to that information.  Don’t risk your essential business information, including customer leads, client information, marketing and promotional material and campaigns.  Have a clear written agreement that covers each aspect, and HAVE THAT CONVERSATION I mentioned above.

2. Labour Relations

Be cognizant that your application of any social media related rules, policies or even what you might consider your own ‘preferences’ could easily be seen as a potential unfair labour practice violation.  This area doesn’t apply to you unless you have staff ‘on your books’ – but if you do, you better know the basics so you don’t have a claim filed against you!

3. Discrimination

Social media deals with personal information, such as age, race, disabilities, etc.  Any of these areas of ripe for discrimination claims if they are perceived to be the basis for a reduction in pay, lost project or contract work, or other negative result suffered by your employee or your contractor.  As a result, if someone you pay merely believes that they are being treated differently and they have a reasonable connection between your actions or words to their social media information with their personal information – such as the above -referenced type that you are not allowed to discriminate against for – watch out!

These risks merely mean that social media should not be taken lightly.  It is a very powerful tool – and as they said in Spiderman: “with great power comes great responsibility.”  (or was that Superman?)

Be responsible.

And win in your business!

Want to ask me a specific question?  Send me a message on LinkedIn – you can connect with me by joining our LinkedIn Discussion Group and also find an entire community!
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