Editor’s note: Nick Lovegrove is owner of, a real estate website provider.

We are big fans of the big filing system in the sky. Ground-based filing is sooo 2005. What I am talking about is the ever-growing Google Docs cloud, the online office tools for the creation of documents, spreadsheets, presentations etc., and the storage of them.

Though we’ve never actually "lost everything," we’ve all heard a few of those doomsday stories of computer crashing woes, and the threat nonetheless is always there.

Sure, we’ve been through external hardware auto backups and automated online backups like (which we thought were pretty good), sharing work across a network. However, even with the best of intentions, as geeks say in Las Vegas,  "What happens on your computer, stays on your computer."

Stuff to the fluff

Which is why we felt pretty early on that moving all the creation of that stuff (work) to the fluff (cloud) where it was going to be stored would be a pretty good idea. The goodness of this idea has already been waxed lyrically here at FOREM. Yes, it’s great that teams can collaborate, etc., etc.

However, what I wanted to share today was about taking the next step. I mean really making a commitment to the cloud and in doing so fix its biggest annoyance for us.

You see, we’ve always not fully committed to Google Docs. There was something that always stopped us from full adoption. That reason was having to use a Gmail address as the primary e-mail address to share this stuff with the folks down below.

Not that Gmail is bad, far from it, but for anyone who is serious about their brand, online or otherwise, having a matching email address to their domain name is about as basic a first step as it gets. Having worked towards a considered online brand, sending your e-mails from Gmail just seemed like a step in the wrong direction.

You see, as well as being great and powerful, Gmail is also free for everyone, which simultaneously places it in my mind with a Hotmail or Yahoo account.

I wanted my company to be able to get all the advantages of the cloud while retaining the branding of my e-mails. Is that too much to ask?

Gmail minus "" equals great

Fortunately, this can be achieved by subscribing to Google Apps. For current users of Google Docs, you are already a dab hand at this. You know Google Apps inside out at this point, because it’s essentially the same as Google Docs.

The big reason why we moved over to Google Apps is that you can essentially place your domain — that’s right, the root of your e-mail address — under Google’s wing.

When you have done that, you simply (haha) have to change your MX Record (what the what?) to point to Google and then your lovely e-mail will appear in your Apps Gmail account. It’s Gmail alright, but each of your lovely e-mails will float down the ground with your brand’s suffix, ""

Google has done an impressively horrible job with the explanation of how to do this. Really, it made a geek’s fingers tremble over the keyboard, and Go Daddy wasn’t much help either.

If you are thinking of doing this, perhaps use the holiday lulls to do it rather than the spring market, as a little disruption of your e-mail account could occur when you are transitioning, although ours went smoothly.

What does this cost? $50/year/account for oodles of storage.

Are you using Google Apps? How was your transition?

View the original blog post.

Future of Real Estate Marketing is a part of Inman News.

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