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Computer Q&A: Comcast e-mail address changes not immediate

Thursday, March 20, 2003

By David Radin

Q: AT&T Broadband's Internet service is becoming Comcast. Will I have to change my e-mail address again?


A: Users of AT&T Broadband will, at some point, have to change their e-mail addresses so they end in @comcast.net instead of @attbi.com. However, despite what you might have heard, you might not need to rush to make the change.

Although the Comcast Web site says that you'll be notified by e-mail at your attbi.com address, even that information is not yet certain. According to Brian Jeter of Comcast, the company has learned from the unpopular turnover from Excite@Home to AT&T Broadband, and is giving its users more leeway in changing their addresses. He says that those who have heard from outside sources about a changeover plan have been misinformed -- and that the finalized changeover plan is still under review. He specifically notes that Ticketmaster, which sent out an e-mail advisory without Comcast permission about the changeover, has sent out a retraction.

Under normal circumstances, the company would give you 60 days from the time of notice to let all your associates know to contact you at your new comcast.net address before starting to return the attbi.com mail as undeliverable. The FAQ at Comcast's Web site tells such a story. Jeter of Comcast says that it is not true, and that Comcast will be pulling down the page with the incorrect information. According to Jeter, the company intends to give you until the end of 2004 to make the change completely. In the meantime, as soon as your comcast.net address becomes active, both will work fine.

AT&T Broadband customers have already lived through the hassles of changing ISP e-mail domains. Many of them were originally Excite@Home customers who were forced to change their addresses from @home.com to @attbi.com after AT&T took over the assets of the failed Excite@Home company.

The repercussions of such changes can be devastating. It's not a problem for people who have all their associates in their address books, because all it takes is a simple change of address notice. However, many change of address notices are overlooked in spam laden inboxes. In addition, anybody not in your contact list or address book might be skipped completely; and any subscriptions will be lost if you don't submit change of address statements to the publisher.

When @Home.com became @attbi.com, I suddenly saw a surge of change of address requests for my Megabyte Minute Tip Letter. In addition, there were thousands of people who had not changed their addresses for the Tip Letter, creating a glut of undeliverable mail. We noticed the sudden change, and did a mass update of all attbi.com addresses. But many e-mail publishers will not go to those extremes, causing large numbers of invalid subscriptions.

As soon as Comcast has more definite plans related to the changeover of e-mail, I'll discuss it here. Until then, you can read my report on dealing with ISP e-mail addresses at www.megabyteminute.com/features

Discover Card warning

A new type of e-mail scam is targeted at Discover Card holders. Using spam to blanket the net and find Discover Card holders, a fraud artist is tricking people to give him their credit card numbers, expiration dates, mother's maiden names and other information that can be used in credit card or identity theft. Although clicking on the links in the e-mail takes you to the real Discover Card Web site, the information is not submitted there, but is sent to the thief via e-mail. Discover has sent out a warning e-mail to its card holders, which I have posted at www.megabyteminute.com/features

David Radin is a nationally syndicated radio show host. You can sign up for his tip letter at www.megabyteminute.com or find an archive of his previous columns at www.post-gazette.com/interact. E-mail him your questions at david.pgcol umn@spamslicer.com

Click here for an archive of previous Interact articles

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