Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Don't Get Locked In By Your Internet Provider

My parents are not the most internet savvy people in the world. They know the basics like how to check email, visit websites (mostly bookmarked already), and perform Google searches. When it comes to tasks with more variations, like setting up an account or installing software, though, they always need help. So yesterday, I had the pleasure of setting up Gmail accounts for them.

They each have had the same email address for more than a decade. It's pretty amazing considering that I can't even remember the account I created at the same time. So why did they all of the suddent decide to get new ones? It's because they originally set up accounts through Comcast, who also happens to be their internet provider. Recently, the rate for their phone+internet+cable package went up, so they've been thinking about asking for a lower rate and potentially switching companies. In other words, they don't want to be stuck with the same internet provider forever.

If you haven't already, I suggest setting up an account with an independent provider such as Google, MSN, or Yahoo! as your primary email. This way, switching between internet providers won't be so complicated. You can shop around more freely without having to worry about losing your email account. Having multiple emails won't hurt either (if you can keep track of all). That way you'll have enough flexibility so you don't lose contact with anyone in case a company decides to stop providing email services to you. Give yourself more power as a consumer, don't get locked in.


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