Changing your email address? Plan ahead

March 1, 2008

A couple of years ago I changed my e-mail address from AOL to Gmail. I am still redirecting people from my AOL address to Gmail, and I am still finding document templates, organizations and directories that have not updated my e-mail address.

Key Points

A couple of years ago I changed my e-mail address from AOL to Gmail.I am still redirecting people from my AOL address to Gmail, and I am still finding document templates, organizations and directories that have not updated my e-mail address.

A trickle of important e-mail still comes to AOL, so I have to keep checking AOL several times a week, and I will probably need to keep checking AOL for another couple of years.

When switching e-mail providers, it's important to remember the value of keeping the old e-mail address alive for at least several years.

"This e-mail address is being shut down. Please switch my e-mail address to "ksmithderm@gmail.com

Unfortunately, AOL does not permit automated customized responses - perhaps to increase the difficulty in switching away from AOL - so I have made the above message my AOL signature, and I send it to anyone - other than a spammer - who e-mails me at AOL.

One advantage of this manual process is that I avoid informing spammers of my Gmail address.

A partial list of people and organizations to inform when you switch e-mail providers will include:

You will also want to change the "autofill" settings on your Web browsers.

When you are considering changing your e-mail address, you should carefully consider both your new e-mail provider and your e-mail address.

If possible, you will want to get an e-mail address that is professional, reasonably short, and memorable - something like !ksmithderm@gmail.com

Kevin C. Smith, M.D., is a dermatologist in Niagara Falls, Ontario. He may be reached at ksmithderm@aol.com