Today US email list owners can breathe a collective sigh of relief because Comcast has just informed MarketingSherpa that they have revamped their transition plans for the 1.9 million @attbi.com email accounts they acquired last year.
As you may recall, these 1.9 million broadband accounts had been slated to be switched over to new @comcast.net addresses starting "sometime in February."
Initially Comcast had not planned to forward any mail from consumer's old accounts into their new boxes, nor to allow the old boxes to remain operating for more than a very short period.
Many mailers were concerned because these broadband accounts represent some of their best names, consumers who are eager and active Net surfers with great connections.
MarketingSherpa has kept in contact with Comcast to track the situation, and last night received word from spokesperson Sarah Eder on the following points:
-> Schedule for changeover
No names have been changed over yet, nor will any be changed for at least "several weeks." When the switch occurs, it will not happen in one fell swoop either. Comcast will change one "region" and then move on to another region. They are being slow and careful.
-> Old accounts alive "through" 2004
Comcast has altered its plans for the old customer accounts radically in favor of consumers and list owners.
Now the old @attbi.com accounts will continue working "though 2004." Plus, best of all, mail sent to the old accounts will be automatically forwarded and integrated into customer's new @comcast.net mailboxes.
This means you do not have to worry about people neglecting to check their old box as they get used to the new one.
-> Not all accounts are "matching"
Unfortunately, Comcast is merging the @attbi.com accounts in with its current list of @comcast.net accounts. This means that some names moving over will be duplicates of different current account names. Which means some @attbi.com customers will be assigned different names.
In other words, you can not assume that everyone will have the exact same email address only with a changed ending.
The duplication rate is "very low" notes Eder, "as the AT&T Broadband customers and Comcast high-speed Internet customers not long ago were on the same @home network and received [username]@home addresses."
We do not feel this makes it safe for you to simply slice the old ending off your @attbi.com names and stick on a @comcast.net, because if you do end up mailing to a duplicate name by mistake, that would be SPAM. You are too smart to take a risk like that right?
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