Many shoppers have an email address they use only for secret shopping. Having an address for shopping is a good idea, because it can make it easier to manage the volume of email mystery shoppers receive. If you want to stay on top of your mystery shopping email, you can check that account on your mobile device while you are out-and-about. And if you want to take a break from mystery shopping, you can simply ignore that email account for a while.
Here are some tips for choosing and using your mystery shopping email address.
This is business, so your email address should be professional. It may include some version of the word “shop” or “shopper” in it, but that is not a requirement. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org would all be acceptable. Using your name is good: email@example.com.
What you want to avoid is anything that seems unprofessional, tacky or downright sleazy. Examples might include firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or anything referencing body parts, the occult, etc. Watch out, too, for unintended meanings. Could your email address be misread or misunderstood as something inappropriate? Then don’t use it.
Choose an email address you will have for a long time to come. If your email address is through your Internet Service Provider (ISP), such as AOL, Earthlink, Verizon or other ISP, you will lose your email address if you change ISPs. Even if you think you will never change, you are probably wrong. For example, many people using Road Runner lost their email addresses when Comcast took over service in their cities. They were forced to switch to Comcast addresses. When your email address changes, you will have to go back to the web sites of every company with which you are registered and update your records. Not a fun way to spend the day.
A good solution here is to use an email address at your own domain, if you have one. For example, I own www.IdeaLady.com and will continue to own it as long as I pay the renewal fee. Depending on where your domain is hosted, you will have anywhere from five or so available email accounts to an infinite number.
Another alternative is to use one of the free email services. There are downsides to this. Some limit the number of emails you may receive, or the size of attachments. Some have overly-aggressive spam filters that will keep you from seeing emails you want. A free account with a good service can be the best choice in many situations, though. I like Gmail, a service owned by Google. You can sign up for an account at http://www.gmail.com/.
Use only one email address with all mystery shopping companies. The reason for this is that if you choose to get MSPA certified, your certification code will be tied to your email address. If the code and the email address do not match, the company will be unable to verify that you are certified.
You will also need to tie your secret shopper email address to your PayPal account. If you already have an account, just add your new email address to it. You may have more than one email address associated with your PayPal account, and you should not have any problem doing this. Many companies will pay you via PayPal, and the address on file with the companies must match an address associated with a PayPal account for the payment to reach you.
If you are just starting out as a mystery shopper, get started on the right foot by establishing a unique email address you use only for mystery shopping. Use that address if you get MSPA certified and when signing up with each mystery shopping company. And don’t forget to associate the address with your PayPal account.
Experienced shoppers may choose to stay with the email address they have always used for mystery shopping, or they may decide it is worthwhile to set aside a few hours to change over to a new address and update all of the necessary records. If you are forced to change your email address (e.g., due to an ISP change) that is a good time to set up a separate email address for your secret shopping activities.