Changing Your Email? It Ain’t Easy!

cyeOF ALL THE PROMISES MADE TO CONVINCE US TO SPEND LONG HOURS AT A KEYBOARD WHILE LOOKING INTO A small, fuzzy screen, e-mail has delivered best. It has permanently benched us from the unproductive game of phone tag and saved the lives of countless trees. It has also played a significant role in our somewhat successful attempt to dam the flood of information coming at us. We, like millions of e-mail users, have come to rely on it. The relationship remains quite rosy, until we have to change our e-mail service provider.

Maybe you need to change providers because you live outside of a major metropolitan area and the monthly long-distance fees or toll calls to a local node for America Online or CompuServe are killing you. Maybe your Internet service provider (ISP) went out of business, or you’ve moved to an area where it doesn’t have a local number. Maybe you’ve finally become too frustrated with your provider’s service. Whatever the mason, you’ll suffer even more disappointment trying to make the switch. We’ve got some ideas to ease the pain that we’ll tell you about, but they’re far from perfect.

Two entrepreneurs who’ve experienced much frustration are Daniel and Dennis Murphree, who build custom computers in Tilton, New Hampshire. The father and son spend about 100 hours a month using e-mail and browsing the Web to order parts for their company, Agape Computers, and to stay in touch with customers.

Their original provider, America Online, was a long-distance call away. They decided to try a local ISP to cut costs and saw huge savings in their monthly bills. Unfortunately, the Murphrees had problems with the service’s reliability from the outset. They left the ISP when it suddenly hiked its fees. They didn’t see an improvement with their new ISP, and after a few more months of lost communications, they switched again. The two are understandably cautious about whether their new ISP will meet their needs. Changing providers four times in one year cost their business dearly. They’ve no idea how many customers didn’t get through to them with all the switches.

In a Perfect World The Murphrees, and you, shouldn’t have to suffer. After all, it is electronic mall so it should be simple for e-mail providers to add a few lines of code and forward mail from your old address at to your new one at It should be, but it isn’t.

The problem is that your old service provider has to initiate the forwarding. Neither the major online services nor most ISPs offer this option. Although CompuServe leaves your mailbox open for 60 days after you cancel your account, it won’t forward your mail. You’ll still have to go back in and grab it. One ISP we spoke with said it might forward a subscriber’s e-mall if he left on amicable terms, such as moving or being transferred. But if a subscriber left because of unhappiness with the service, forwarding would not even be considered.

Since there is no forwarding, you’re looking at dumping all of your business cards, stationery, and collateral materials, as well as changing any ads or listings you’ve painstakingly selected for reaching your target markets. You’ll also have to worry about what clients will think when their e-mails to you come back with the online version of “Return to Sender: Address Unknown.”

Keep Two Accounts If you have to change your e-mail provider or are just fed up with its service, you need to take some temporary measures to keep from losing communications with valuable contacts. First, send a message to all your contacts with your new e-mail address. Then, keep both your old e-mail account and your new one for three months. This ploy should pay for itself with the first piece of new business that you would have otherwise missed.

E-mail software such as ConnectSoft’s E-Mail Connection and Global Village’s FocalPoint can access more than one account and collect all your messages in a single in-box. You simply inform all the users who are still sending messages to your old account that you now have a new address.

All of your messages may have to begin with the line, “Please send all replies or correspondence to” This can be tedious, but some programs such as the Macintosh application Claris [email protected] will automatically send a canned response to any messages coming from your old e-mailbox.

Never Again No matter what ISPs may wish, you should be able to change providers without losing your client correspondence. If you’re ready to switch, there are two options that will prevent you from losing e-mail in the future.



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5 Responses to “Changing Your Email? It Ain’t Easy!”
  1. Laura M says:

    I think I might give it a try. I think our folks are thinking of ways to make things easier and more convenient for customers. It’s what I need for my business.

  2. Gay Daughety says:

    It is actually not hard to change email. It is just that I am too lazy to do it. Afterall, I really do not have any reason to do so.

  3. Lillian King says:

    Definitely not easy! Especially to those who have been using their email for decades. I am running a business and most of my clients communicate with me through email. It’s a waste of time trying to get familiar with another email service.

  4. Janel Gillon says:

    Friends from grade school and former workplace know about my email and changing it might cut our communication line. I can update them but I am pretty sure that some of them would not be so attentive about my change of email.

  5. Lanelle Vonderkell says:

    I would think twice if somebody asks me to change my email. I actually tried but I got impatient with the number of steps I have to complete to finish the process.

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