Norwegian Internet start-up, Nameplanet.com, is offering a free, personalized email address service. Subscribers are asked a few simple questions and then issued with a family-name-based email address, such as [email protected]

Nameplanet has invested in a huge number of domain names based on popular family names worldwide. Where possible, the company has invested in .com names, but has also acquired domains from some less well-known agencies, suffixes like tc, and co.uk are also available.

Bargain The company also offers a free email-forwarding service, and users can change ISP without having to change email address. The company claims it can handle up to a billion names in multiple languages worldwide.

Mail can be forwarded, or else managed on-line through the company's secure Web site. The company plans to offer personal home pages, online hard-drive space - similar to iDisk - and a WAP (Wide Area Protocol) system "in the near future".

It hopes to make money through on-line advertising, targeted mail shots and sales of demographic information. It also offers an opt-in, rather than opt-out system to receive such ads, protecting user-privacy and preserving personal bandwidth.