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Chicago drops directory for email, launches with @Identity service

July 13, 2012@Identity,, Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, power.comComments Off on Chicago drops directory for email, launches with @Identity service no longer a directory; owner also powering new email service at

This morning I read an article by Robin Wauters lampooning, which offers an email address and subdomains for a very steep price.

The site immediately reminded me of and its personalized email addresses. Indeed, is “powered” by @Identity, a company formed by owner Josh Metnick and Thought Convergence’s Ammar Kubba.

As I looked into this story I went to and was surprised to be forwarded to — a page pitching email addresses.

The Chicago directory is gone. Or at least hidden. Metnick is going all in with email addresses.

He’s had some success selling these addresses, and I guess it makes more money than the directory. (I’ve reached out to Metnick for comment.)

But I think selling addresses is very different from I certainly wouldn’t expect an @power email address to sell for more than @chicago.

When Robin checked, he was quoted $7,576 for a five year term. is (a still steep) $749 per year.

As you can tell from the comments to Robin’s story, it’s not easy to convince people they should pay for a vanity email address. There are plenty of vanity email address for free or at a very low cost.

I reached out to the whois contact on, Leigh Power. His company Power Assist, Inc. has owned the domain since 1992.

He said the pricing is by design.

“This is obviously designed to be for a rather exclusive group of people,” he said. “I don’t think the person that goes for a free email at Gmail will go out for it. We hope there’s a small group of folks who will be interested.”

The venture is being run by Scott Smith, a Canadian entrepreneur (and DNForum member). Smith tried to broker the domain last year to no avail. I’m chatting with him later today and will update this story.

With regards to vanity email services in general, I imagine customers will be concerned with who actually owns their email address. If you’re a business customer using an address, what happens if suddenly shuts down?

Selfishly, I’d love to see this form of domain monetization take off. But you can call me a skeptic (at least at these prices). I’m glad other people are trying it instead of me.

© 2011.

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