Thursday, September 22, 2011

Getting the Most Out of Your .edu Email Address

       I still actively use my Virginia Tech student email account.  I never graduated Mason transfer alum) so I can only presume I’m considered a student still, albeit inactive for a while.  This got me thinking about the ancillary benefits of having an active .edu email address.  The first thing that popped into my mind was being able to sign up for Facebook.  Of course that is so 2006 or something; but here are a few special benefits exclusive to owners.
             Hulu will give anyone a 1-week free trial, but only students get the 1-month free trial (apart from the invasive Hulu Plus/Facebook account link).  Head over to the Hulu Plus sign up page, use your .edu email address, and enjoy the benefits of streaming TV to the max…or plus.

             For all you liberal democrats students out there…half off a New York Times digital subscription (including smartphone and tablet apps) :)

            I buy things from  Perhaps you do too.  Just use your .edu email to get 6 free months of Prime (I just said “Prime” because it sounded like I said Optimus Prime).  Didn’t know about the Amazon Instant Video thing either.  Check it out.
 Amazon Prime is a membership program that gives you and your family unlimited fast shipping, such as FREE Two-Day shipping and One-day shipping for $3.99 per item on all eligible purchases. Amazon Prime members can enjoy instant videos: unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows through Amazon Instant Video at no additional cost. 

        Pretty cool software for free. 
RipTiger is the fastest and easiest application to record streaming videos, songs and TV. RipTiger is capable of converting recorded videos to MP4, AVI, WMV, FLV and optionally transferring them to your iPod or any other digital video player.

             Dropbox is an online storage repository for file storage and sharing.  Pretty neat little app in the cloud (just don’t put anything critical or too personal on it as a word of caution).  Anyways, basic sign up yields you 2GB of storage.  Sign up with your .edu email and get bonus storage as well as additional referral bonuses as well.  Schweet!

Search Engine Optimization
             Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a sub-business of web development that focuses on optimizing a web site’s online presence (typically through hyperlinks from other websites) by pushing it to the top of the most popular search engine result lists on the Internet (namely Google).  The higher your website appears on a search engine, the more likely users are to click on it and go there – which in terms of online businesses means more traffic and likely more revenue.
            The reason I have SEO on this list is more indirect, but still relevant. It is no secret that search engines give much greater weight to websites that a linked to from .edu and .gov domains (more so .edu).  This greater weight typically leads a site to be higher on a search engine’s result list for a particular relevant query from a user.  By owning a .edu email address, you most likely have access to the university’s information network.  Whether it’s a particular webspace you have access to, forums, or other resources, linking to a particular site with SEO in mind could work to your advantage.  Just be careful not to abuse this as JCPenny painfully found out last year.  Hiring college students to post links to your site ain’t gonna fly with Google.

Alumni Correspondence
             If your school is somewhat near where you live and/or work, using your .edu address to send emails can sometimes work to your advantage when contacting a known alum of that school.  An alum reading an email with their alma mater in the domain surely will invoke a sense of pride and affinity.  This could work in your favor if it’s a matter of a job application, favor needed, or your asking your girlfriend’s dad out to dinner so you can ask him for permission to marry her.  Nobody cares about a hotmail, yahoo, or email.