What’s a phone book?  Never mind that.

“If you don’t know I am not going to tell you” is how the Internet treats you if you need to find a friend’s email address.  When they change it and don’t email everyone they know of the change (and even when they do).  You will perhaps say Facebook, Twitter, et al will come to the rescue. This may be true in a lot of cases – but why rely on a rescue plan that’s as ephemeral as a fart?

Ephemeral you say (word of the day btw)?  I’d like to use a Yahoo example.  What if Yahoo fails (and we see it has teetered a bit).  I’d hate it to fail of course, but “what if” is how we need to approach the problem.  Say it goes poof.  You have no email now.  Um… what do you do?  Well of course you search through all your contacts and send out an email – hey I changed my email to pinkbunny42@somenewISP.com.  Please DO UNNECESSARY WORK, I need you all to update your address books. People all have the lazy gene on the Internet.  They’ll assume they can get to it later.  They won’t be able to find that email when they next think of you… The common thought you all have when going through this is “The close friends in my life know how to contact me regardless”.  Yup – well in this world you might also have moved, changed your cell phone number, and, not that it is relevant, been issued 4 different credit card numbers “because we detected suspicious activity” this year.  The point is (important) stuff changes all the time.  The perfect storm can leave you in the Internet’s dust.

Not to mention every site on the Internet you log into and forgot the password of – will no longer be able to email you a password reset.  This list is LONG.  Far more onerous than changing a credit card number.

Aside: Website password advice – use lastpass.com

Imagine a rock.  One touchstone that’s always there.  No matter what.  Your email address.  From beginning to end it never changes, not once.  Are you willing to go that extra mile to save a boatload of future pain?

My domain, mcyork.com, was registered on 1995-02-03.  Not the start of the Internet by any means but the start of my online life.  Associated with mcyork.com is my very first email address ianm@mcyork.com.  I HAVE changed my email now to ian@mcyork.com.  I never sent friends an update.  If they use ianm@ – I still get the email.  My replies are now from ian@.  Over time, but without a worry on my part, they will soon start to use my newer more current email address.  In fact, the more luddite-prone friends of mine will never know or need to know, my email address was modified. @mcyok.com is mine, I control it and all the email addresses (near-infinite) that can be associated with it.

What’s the answer/point?  Own your domain / control your destiny!

“Ok, thanks but there’s a catch, right?  To manage all that is probably technical and difficult.  We KNOW you are a geek with a blog!”

Let’s go through that over beers.  I’ll get you started.