Think of a number

Ever been asked to say your email address (as opposed to typing or writing it)? How did that go for you? Not straightforward, is it?

When people choose an email address they don’t consider how easy it will be in the future to impart that address orally to someone else. So you get addresses like

foxi_laydee237@hotmail.com

or

kool-dood4u123@yahoo.co.uk

You have to describe such addresses, with a high chance of something going wrong in the process.

The random digits are usually offered by the system when you set up your email account – presumably because there are already 122 customers calling themselves ‘kool-dood4u’ or whatever.

So it occurred to me that it would be simpler all round to choose a purely numeric address. It’s easy to quote a telephone number – why not have just numbers in the first part of your email address? They could even be the same as your phone number for that matter.

You might agree that it’s a good idea – but it’s not new. CompuServe used a numeric addressing convention (like 12345.1234@compuserve.com) back in the day, but so-called ‘friendly’ addresses usurped them. In fact I understand that CompuServe Classic is finally shutting down at the end of this month after 30 years. In the history of technological development, sometimes the early simple ideas were the best.

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