Stop Using Your Internet Provider’s Email System
Email From Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a Trap
All over the world there are millions of people committing a frustrating and sometimes expensive mistake. Without knowing it they’re trapping themselves into a system that is difficult to leave. I am talking about internet service provider email systems.
Why is Email from your ISP Bad?
Sure, that free email address seems convenient. Back in the early 90s, there were no great options for free email. It was a compelling feature to receive a free email address with your dial-up internet account. Maybe you had a fancy system that offered you multiple email addresses! The point is, there was little choice back in those early times. Then came systems like Rocketmail (that was later bought by Hotmail). Now we have Yahoo, Gmail and a number of others. It’s easy to get an email address from one of these systems.
Why should you? Because it saves you from being trapped. Suppose you want to switch internet service providers, but you’ve given out your ISP email address for years. Maybe you’ve even used it professionally. If you stop paying the provider, they won’t keep your email address – they’ll just close it. Any emails to that address will bounce and the sender won’t know what your new email address is. Worse, you won’t know about the email and the sender won’t know what your new address is. While most emails aren’t that significant, some are. It’s for this reason that I’ve seen people continue to pay an ISP monthly for months, even years. The ISPs know this, and it’s the reason they want you to use their email system. They want to make it difficult for you to switch, knowing that this will mean additional funds for them.
There are other, less likely reasons, too. Suppose your ISP goes out of business? What if they merge and they force you to change your address? They could change their spam filtering, or some other policy, that makes your email more prone to infections or otherwise less usable. It’s best you stay away from these email systems. After all, their business is providing you with internet access – not email. The two aren’t the same and one of the two gets far less attention than the other.
What Email System Should I Use Instead?
There are lots of alternatives you can use for email. I suggest one of the big three- Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail. I suggest exploring all three, maybe even creating an account on all three. As all three are a bit different, see which one makes the most sense to you. There are many lesser known alternatives that could work just fine for you, but the list is too long for me to cover all of them. Further, I know all three, have accounts with two of them, and trust them. Gmail is my primary email system as I also use an Android phone, for which I’ve written many articles. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t say one is better than the other.
What do I do if I Have ISP Email?
If you’re already using the email from your ISP, you might be thinking that you’re trapped – that you missed the boat. That’s not the case. The best thing to do is come up with a plan.
- First, select a new email system. It can be one of the ones mentioned above or something else. Make sure you’ve experimented with it, though. No one wants to deal with you changing email addresses every few weeks.
- Second, plan on when you will stop using your provider-based email – I suggest no more than six months. Most people should opt for two months.
- Third, add a signature to your provider based email that indicates your email switch. Mention when you will stop using the email system but, and this is key, give everyone a shorter time-table than you’ve committed to. If you’re going to stop using the email in two months, tell them you’ll stop in one. People procrastinate, you see, and they tend to avoid making this sort of change.
- Fourth, once your time period from the third step is reached, stop using your old email. If possible, set up an auto-responder (sometimes called an out-of-office responder or similar) on your old email system. This auto-responder should tell people you’ve stopped using your old email and to use your new email address. If you can’t set up an auto-responder, you can go back and check on your old email periodically, but not nearly as often as you check your new email.
- Lastly, once your final time period is reached, stop checking your old email! Sure, some things might get stuck in there, but it can be very freeing to start over with your email. Imagine all the spam you’ll avoid!
And that’s it. Email can be very useful, but the ubiquity of email has become a burden for many, especially when you’re dealing with the safety issues that everyone faces. It’s important to have as much control over your email as possible, and following my recommendations here are an important step in that direction.