The mystique has finally worn off Gmail, I think - you don't need an invitation to sign up any more, there's a little "try Google Mail beta" box below the main entry thingy on Google these days. Since it says "Google Mail" rather than "Gmail" this may be a UK-only thing - there was a UK company making their own Gmail product (and languishing in total obscurity) which wanted umpty million pounds for the use of their name in the UK, the result of the eventual settlement was that Google gave them about five quid and now use the Google Mail name in the UK.
So anyone signing up via this route will be email@example.com (I think), not gmail.com
But it's still the same service as Gmail, and in the unlikely event that anyone reading this still wants to sign up and hasn't done so already, that's one way to get an account.
later: Sorry, firstname.lastname@example.org, but messages sent to email@example.com will also reach you - it's an alias for the normal gmail service.