Everyone likes free. From free products to free services, free is good, but not always for a business. Businesses try to keep costs down any possible, but cutting corners may affect the business and its appearance. This is where free email comes in to play, and for a business, free email is bad.
While appearance isn't everything, sometimes it is merely a requirement. For a business, some lenders require a dedicated business email address to obtain credit. If a lender doesn't feel comfortable loaning money to a free email address, how would a consumer feel paying for services rendered? Imagine receiving a quote to replace your home's air conditioning units from email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org. This email address may raise the questions: Is this a legitimate business? Do they have insurance if something goes wrong?"
No one likes to lose business or not reach their intended contact, but with free email that risk is higher. Some businesses strictly deal business to business having no retail customers, because of this they may decide to block yahoo.com, gmail.com, hotmail.com, etc. addresses to eliminate spam and malicious emails from passing through. While most email providers have some sort of email filter, there are no filters yet available that provide 100% spam protection with a 0% false positive rate.
Free email platforms are so popular that hackers spend a lot of time trying to hack into these accounts*. If one decides to store business contacts on an account that is hacked, spammers can send out malicious messages to prospects and existing clients. If any of the above happens, who can be contacted to help? Who can help reset the account's password? Free email services do not offer any type of customer support where you can call in or email for assistance.
Having a domain and an email aren't costly either. A business may purchase a domain sometimes for less than $20 a year. Add an Office 365 Email only license for around $5 a month, and a business can spend less than $100 a year for a domain and email. Many businesses spend more on their business cards! With a proper email address, the business looks professional and displays they are a "real” company with a dedicated communications system.
*Sept 9, 2014 - 5 million Gmail addresses and passwords leaked
*Jul 11, 2012 - 450k Yahoo addresses and passwords leaked