By Shannon Henry
We're all at risk of losing our e-mail identity if we switch jobs, or our Internet service provider goes out of business or we jump from one service to another.
If we move in the real world, we fill out change-of-address cards and set up a "can now be reached at" number.
But when you move your online address or it's yanked from you, your old e-mail self usually disappears.
It's the opposite of the privacy problem. Your e-mail friends and colleagues can't find you, although somehow, some way, those spammers always do.
Those who sell Internet access know that fear of losing e-mail identities is a big reason people don't switch providers. If I'm firstname.lastname@example.org and have had that address for years, I'm unlikely to move to another e-mail service even if I don't like AOL.
Some people have tried to solve the identity problem by setting up separate accounts for different parts of their lives. I find it's too difficult to remember all the accounts, let alone the passwords.
The clearest way to solve this problem sounds futuristic but is being discussed seriously today.
When we're born, we'd each get an e-mail address that we'd have our entire lives, like a Social Security number.
In the meantime, companies are starting to make a business out of the issue. Annandale-based www.Re-route.com launched a solution to this problem in March.
John Skowlund and some other Re-route founders started talking one day about the mother of one of the team, who felt trapped by her e-mail address. She wanted to switch providers but was afraid some of her e-mail would get lost if she did.
"People depend on e-mail," Skowlund says. "Now every business card has an e-mail address."
How It Works
E-mail messages sent to your old AOL or ISP address are retrieved by the Re-route server, re-addressed and sent on to your new e-mail address.
Then "change of address" notices are automatically delivered to the original senders informing them whenever their messages have been "re-routed."
How Much Does It Cost?
The service is free for many featured partners and $10 for one month of service for many other ISPs, and three months of service for $25. Please note that the service at this time does not work with all ISPs.
Washington Post Thursday, March 15, 2001; Page E01
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
About one in 20 of you reading this will switch your email address in the next month. Many of you who are currently subscribed to this newsletter will stop receiving the newsletter because of this.
Recently, many of my subscribers starting using this terrific email change notifications service from www.re-route.com . Every week I receive about 20 notifications from them informing me of email changes.
For most, the cost of the service is FREE for the first one month. Usually that is all one needs to notify others of email changes. If you want to continue the service after that the price is a very reasonable $10 per month.
If you are thinking about switching soon, I would STRONGLY recommend using their service.