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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Changing Is the Hardest Part

About a year and a half ago, I changed my ISP to get high speed internet. With all the researching I do online and the way I like to have pictures of everything, I was just wasting too much time waiting for pages to pull up on dial up. I hate the cost of high speed, but I was able to justify it by my usage of it as a writing tool. However, at the time I decided to retain my dial up ISP because 1) it would be back up in case my cable connection went down and 2) It would be a pain to change my email addresses everywhere.

I've come to the conclusion, though, that reason 1 is invalid. My cable connection rarely goes down, is never down long, and the two times it was down, I discarded the idea of using my dial up ISP because I couldn't stand the wait times any more.

Reason 2 still stood, but I decided it was ridiculous to pay a monthly fee for something I don't use anymore and haven't used (except for email addresses) in probably a year. This meant it was time to start changing my email addresses and wean away from the old ISP to my newer one. It has been an incredible PITA, beyond what I expected.

First off, I should mention that I had 6 email addresses with my dial up ISP. At the time, I thought it was a good way to stay organized (it wasn't) and I used a couple of them just to email stuff to myself on other computers. I was able to get rid of half those addresses rather easily. The remaining three...sigh.

One email address is the one I used primarily for retailer newsletters and for ordering stuff. I knew this one would be tough because there are retailers online where I used this address, but didn't sign up for newsletters. I was going to have to remember all the places I used it. But I thought it would be simple to change the address for retailers who are sending me newsletters. I was wrong.

At the bottom of most every email is an unsubscribe link. Click it and you're out. Very few of these newsletters have a link marked update your email address. Why not? Why do you make it easier for me to unsubscribe completely rather than just change my address?

So I go to their site and change my email address. That should take care of it, right? Not so much. I've had etailers continue to send me newsletters at my old address long after the period they said it would take to change. I've had them send me newsletters to both addresses long after the period they gave. I go back to make sure I changed the email address, and sure enough, I have.

The newsletter that came in this morning has been from one of the worst ones to deal with. There's a link to update information. I clicked it, updated, and it looked fine. I then unsubscribed from all their newsletters because I didn't want them and wasn't reading them. I thought it was handled, but no. New newsletter was in my inbox this morning. It's been a month, more than enough time to process my changes. I tried to handle it again.

Now I can't log in at the site. My old email address gets an invalid warning, my new email address gets an invalid password warning, and when I try to get it reset, I don't get any email from them. I've tried to click the unsubscribe link, but it tells me an error has occurred and that I should contact their customer service, but before I can click on the link it provides, the screen goes to the home page. What? Give me a chance to click the link! I'm not slow either, but by the time I read the message, the screen was updating.

Then there's the newsletter I want that also had no way to update the email address. I figured I'd unsubscribe and then resubscribe again. Guess what? I can't find any way on their site to subscribe to their newsletter. What are these people thinking?

It's been an ordeal and I haven't even notified most of my friends and acquaintances yet about the email change because I can't get rid of the damn ISP until I can sort out my subscriptions anyway. It makes me wish I'd just used my Gmail address for everything and never gave any retailer my ISP address. It's ridiculous and incredibly difficult to make the switch. What's that slogan? The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer. Whoever said this never tried to change email addresses. It's beyond impossible.