When you move from one house to another, the Post Office will forward your mail to you so that you don’t have to worry about not receiving an important piece of mail. When you get a new phone number, the telephone company will forward your calls so that people know how to contact you. With email becoming an extremely important form of communication for both personal and business use, should email providers be required to forward emails to a new address when someone gets a new account? It’s an interesting topic and one that Federal regulators are investigating.
Of course you’re probably thinking that it’s simple to notify your email contacts when you’re switching to a different address, and it is, especially in Gmail or Yahoo Mail with their forwarding option. But what about the instances when a person has an email address through their ISP and their service gets canceled. That’s what happened to one woman, Gail Mortenson, who filed a six-page petition with the FCC after her AOL account was abruptly terminated which “devastated her business”. According to the AP, Mortenson said that she “lost potential clients because they couldn’t reach her, and she requested that Internet service providers, such as AOL, be required to forward email traffic from a close account to a new email address designated by customers for at least six months.”
Major email providers have yet to respond to the petition, but Richi Jennings who is an analyst with Ferris Research said that while the FCC could require companies to offer a free email forwarding service, it would be expensive to do this. He says, “Service providers typically operate with low margins, relying on volume to make acceptable profit.”
At this point, I don’t think that forwarding should be required. What I do think though, is that providers should give their users the option to pay a reasonable amount for a forwarding service. Email is an important communication method and if someone’s email is essential to keep a personal business going, they’ll be willing to pay to have it done.