Email: Drop the junk; keep your contacts

Lincoln Spector

Moving to a new email address isn’t as daunting as moving to a new house. But sometimes it has to be done.

You need to make sure that all the right people and mailing lists get your new address; you don’t want to share it with everyone.

Sometimes an email address becomes obsolete. Perhaps you’re switching ISPs, or maybe you no longer want to pay for an address or the related domain name. More likely, an old address has become a magnet for spam and less dangerous, but still annoying, junk mail.

But if you simply kill off your email address, you’ll lose a well-established communications link. Important bank or credit-card notifications might never reach you. Old friends could drop out of your life entirely. You no longer receive newsletters you actually want to read.

Transitioning to a new email address takes some planning. You need to wean yourself from an old address, slowly and carefully, while raising up the new one. I know how it’s done because I’m now in the middle — or, I hope, nearing the end — of this task.

Making a poor choice of a domain name

If only we’d known then what we know now. Many years ago, I decided I needed my own domain name. I first picked what I thought was a clever pun on my name: “” But someone already owned it, so I then picked “”

That turned out to be a really poor choice. Imagine saying over the phone, “My name is Lincoln Spector. My email is Lincoln at the link inspector — as in the person who inspects links — dot com, with no spaces.” Honestly, I didn’t try to confuse people. It was just one of those teachable moments.

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Lincoln Spector

About Lincoln Spector

Lincoln Spector writes about computers, home theater, and film and maintains two blogs: Answer Line at and His articles have appeared in CNET, InfoWorld, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications.