When you move to a new home, it's a natural to head over to your old post office and fill out a change-of-address cards. After all, you want your mail to follow you to your new place, right?
But when you change your e-mail address, because you switched jobs or decided to try a new Internet Service Provider, who do you tell?
Colorado-based Veripost (www.veripost.net) wants to be the online version of the post office.
Normally, when someone sends an e-mail to an old address, they get a return-to-sender type of e-mail back. Normally, you'd become a long-lost acquaintance, no longer reachable.
Veripost allows you to stay linked to your old e-mail address long after the ISP has turned off your service.
Users register their old and new e-mail addresses with Veripost. If the sender knows to go to Veripost they can type in the old address and search the database for a new one. But don't expect the new address to instantly pop up on the screen.
If you choose, Veripost will first notify its customer that someone is seeking their new address. CEO Eric Kirby says the key to getting consumers to use the service is its "permission-based platform" that allows registrants to control who gets their new address.
"There's a privacy concern out there," Kirby said.
No one wants spammers to find a new address when one of the main reasons behind an e-mail change was to bounce spam back off a brick wall.
When you first register your old and new e-mail addresses, Veripost will ask if you prefer the streamlined or notification process.
Under the streamlined process, anyone with the old e-mail address can instantly receive your new address without you being notified. But by choosing the notifications option, Veripost will put that inquiry on-hold until you give the OK -- via e-mail.
It's a simple process, one that was long overdue, Kirby said.
"When you register, you become findable again," he said. When someone changes their ISP, it becomes a real hassle because people can't find you anymore."
The service is based around the old e-mail address. One cannot just log on to browse for existing e-mail addresses. You would have to know the old address to get the new one -- and that makes it even more attractive to consumers concerned with privacy issues.
For consumers, it's further attractive because it's free. Companies, those who send out mass e-mails, would have to pay for the service.
"Companies build relationships with their customers," he said. "They had this great customer and suddenly the e-mails are being bounced back. This allows them to possibly re-connect with those customers."