When the time comes for a virtual “change of address,” friends and family not aware of this change will wonder where you went. Unless your intention is to run and hide, you can prevent your contacts from receiving bounce-backs and yourself from missing important messages by informing everyone of your new personal email address. You may want to choose one, or all, of the options that exist to accomplish this task.
Change of Address Directory Service
While numerous free change-of-address directory services exist, all work in much the same way. After setting up an account with a service, you list both your old and new email address. Visitors to the site start by looking up your old email address. Depending on the preference you set, your new email address appears by default or the visitor goes through a verification process before gaining access to your new email address. The verification is usually a double opt-in email verification to ensure the user is legitimate and to avoid spam.
Using an Auto-responder to notify individuals of your new email address requires that your old provider supports auto-responding and that you keep the old account open for a short period, such as 90 days. Check with your old email provider to see whether they offer this service. They may list this service under a different name such as “Vacation Forwarding” or “Auto Forward.” The way it works is that you fill in a form with a subject line and message body, set the responder to “On” and then indicate whether you want a response sent only to people in your address book or to anyone sending you an email message.
A disadvantage to using an Autoresponder is that by including your new email address in the Autoresponder message, you are also inviting spammers to follow you. To prevent this from happening you can use an Autoresponder in conjunction with a change-of-address directory service and direct users to the directory site.
If you want to retain full control over who does, or does not, gain access to your email address, there is always the do-it-yourself method. Keep the old email address open, check it daily and respond to messages via your new email address. After you are certain those individuals you want to have the new address do in fact have it, shut down the old address.
Another option to notify those in your address book of your new address is to import your address book into your new account and then send out a group change-of-address message.
A consideration for the do-it-yourself method is ensuring your message does not end up in a junk mail folder. Take care of this in the subject by clearly identifying yourself with a subject message such as “Change of email address for (your name).” In the message body, include your new email address and a reminder for the user to add the address to their safe-sender list.
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