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Saturday, 16 June 2018

Changing my email address on websites

This blogpost forms a twin with the blogpost that was published yesterday and should be seen as a response to it. Both posts are about how technology sometimes doesn’t work the way it’s meant to work.

It has been finished. I have changed my email address for a number of websites that I intend to continue using in future in one way or another. The reason for making the change was that my internet service provider sent me an email telling me that my inbox was 90 percent full. When the inbox became 100 percent full, it went on, I would no longer be able to receive emails to that address. That email address was the one the company had assigned to me when I had signed up to receive the service they provide. I had used this email address for a number of different websites to log in, so it would cause me considerable difficulty if I was no longer able to receive emails to it.

Only the year before, I had emptied the inbox manually. At that time, when I had tried to log into the account where this task is performed, I had had to change my password. I didn’t want to have to do this again. Also, getting help on the phone with this company is very difficult because they have in place an automated call handler that requires you to navigate through a complex web of steps to get to speak to an operator. If you walk to the company’s store at the shopping centre looking for this kind of help, they just tell you to call the help line with your phone.

So, predicting that the ISP’s email address would at some point become inoperable, as I had decided not to empty my inbox, I started changing my email address on a number of online accounts. With some, including Twitter and Facebook, you have to use your password to make the change. With Microsoft, I went to the store in the city and had a staffer there take me through the process. But even then the company uses two-step authentication. This means that after you try to log into your account with your email address and password, they then send a one-time code to your mobile phone that you have to enter in a field on the website to proceed. After typing the new email address in the relevant field on the web page on their site, before you are able to save the change, they send another one-time code to your phone. And when I got home, an email was waiting in my inbox (the one I wanted to stop using) from Microsoft telling me that unusual activity had occurred with regard to my account, and that I should log into their website and confirm that the action that had been taken had in fact been taken by me. I did this (again by way of the two-step authentication process).

Paypal won’t let you change a primary email address until you have made an alternative email address your primary email address. Once this has been done, you can delete the first email address. Amazon had a fairly easy process on its site for changing the login email address, but here you still have to use your password to make the change. AbeBooks was no trouble at all. I had no problem either making the change on the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) website. With the Sydney Morning Herald, I made the change then subsequently an email arrived from Fairfax Media in my old email address inbox, so I sent a message to the company through their help page to have them complete the change. Airtasker lets you use Facebook to log in.

Facebook flatly refused to acknowledge the email address I wanted to change to using for my login, telling me that the new email address that I entered in the field on the website was invalid. I don’t know how the company establishes if an email address is valid or not. I sent a message to the company through their help page about this problem and some days later received a message from them acknowledging receipt of my message, but they didn’t respond to my complaint and had said that they probably would not do so.

Instead, with Facebook I had to opt for specifying as my primary email address a secondary email address that had already been registered in the system. Luckily, there were already two email addresses registered on the site for my account, so the change here eventually went ahead without impediment. Twitter was a bit dicey because they won’t let you use the same email address for more than one account, so it was lucky that the email address I wanted to use now for my primary Twitter account had not been used on their site before.

With the bank that operates my cheque account, I went into the branch and had a staffer there walk me though the process, which involved logging into the internet banking interface on a laptop PC located in the shop and using two-step authentication to make the change. With another bank I use, I went into a local branch and had the teller there make the requisite changes.

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