Get a "Permanent" Email Address to Conserve Time and Energy

In our fast-paced Internet world, email addresses change frequently, and keeping address books up-to-date is a challenge. Sending everyone change-of-address notices or using temporary email forwarding services such as helps, but then you and all of your correspondents still spend considerable effort updating records. And you may have far more places to update your email address than you do your paper mail address -- it can be hard to keep track of them all. A better solution is to get a permanent email address that never changes.

But if you do get a permanent address, be careful to whom you give it. You may wish to use a number of discardable addresses with those who may send you junk mail or otherwise misuse your address. Plus, I highly recommend you use a sophisticated email program such as Eudora to filter your email for you.

How do you get a permanent address? One of the best options is to get one from your alma mater. Many colleges and universities provide free email addresses to alumni that automatically forward your email to your current email account. That way regardless of the ISP you use or the company you belong to, sending email to your permanent address will always get to you. Colleges and universities will likely survive much longer than any business or individual. Most email programs can list your permanent email address as the return address on emails you send (so replies go to your permanent address rather than the address of the account you are using at the time).

A more flexible alternative is to purchase your own domain name. This costs around $35 per year, but your choice of email addresses is much broader and you can generally have as many as you like.

A third free alternative is to get an email account with Yahoo!, Hotmail, or some other web-based email company. With this kind of email account you do not even need your own computer -- you can use any computer with a web browser (Macintosh, Windows, or UNIX at a friend's house, library, school, or Internet Cafe). I personally recommend Yahoo! over all others because Yahoo! is large and likely to survive a long time, it is trustworthy, it provides a great set of associated services, your Yahoo! email address can forward to another email address or you can keep your email in Yahoo!, and you can read your email on the web as well as retrieve it using most email programs (using the POP mail protocol).

By the way, I personally do all three of the above. My college email address and multiple domain-name email addresses all forward mail to my Yahoo! email account. I fetch and filter mail from Yahoo! using Eudora on my main computer. When traveling I check my mail on the web from whatever computer is handy (at libraries, friends' houses, hotels, or Internet cafes). I use Yahoo! as command central for my personal calendar, address book, and many other services in addition to email.

Copyright © 2001 Timothy S. Oey.

Permission granted to reprint or excerpt as long as it is attributed to Timothy S. Oey.

Last updated 2001/08/16