How often do most people change their email address?
July 12, 2005 12:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for statistics about how often the average Internet user changes his/her email address.

Particularly people who use free, web-based email like Hotmail or Yahoo!, but any recent numbers about the general population of email users would be fine.
posted by junkbox to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
"...31 percent of email addresses get changed every year..."

Does this 2002 article help any?
posted by JPowers at 12:36 PM on July 12, 2005

As someone who maintains an edress file for notices to a group, I can only say "too often" and agree that most people do not think of advising of the change.
Sorry that this is no help toward the statistics requested, I just couldn't resist a comment. Of course, I am not bitter.
posted by Cranberry at 1:04 PM on July 12, 2005

Well, I bounced between a few free services (,,, some other) until February of 2001, when I got a hotmail account. Stayed using pretty much only that one until June of last year, when I got a gmail account, and now I use only that. And I do not really have any plans to change, being very happy with gmail.

In terms of email addresses at which to be contacted, most of the people I know have at least two, and forward

Does that help?
posted by kafziel at 2:10 PM on July 12, 2005

When I was a newbie to the net (4 years ago) I used my permanent email address for everything. Biiiig mistake. Within a short time it was spam city. When I had to change ISPs (due to server decommission in my area), it was a relief that I would soon have a new shot at internet privacy.

Now I have a new ISP and use my 'permanent' email address for private mail only.

I have a couple of disposable web-based addresses I use for shopping on the net, and ditch them and sign up for new ones once they become prey to spammers.

Best webmail? Fastmail, streets ahead of all others I've used, and ad-free.
posted by essexjan at 4:15 PM on July 12, 2005

I don't have any statistics (sorry), but I think the patterns may be changing. I changed my primary email address several times in the early years of my net presence, basically because my means of access to the net kept changing (school, jobs, etc). And a lot of my friends followed the same pattern: around 1998, for example, a lot of friends used work email as primary contact information, and many of the changes to that sort of thing were necessitated by moving jobs.

My eventual solution, which quite a few of my friends now use because of the hassle of changing addresses: a dedicated domain, with one primary email address that is only given out to friends - and boy, do I ever get pissed when one of them signs that email address up for one of the friendster-type sites. Whenever I sign up for something, I create a new address for it (for example, the email address in my profile is metafilter@mydomain). That way I can blackhole individual addresses if they get spammed. The other advantage is that I'm not tied to one ISP.

That's all a long way of saying: I don't think people are changing email addresses as often as they used to. Most web-savvy people understand the importance of separating personal from business use, and have either settled into using a "permanent" webmail address, or have come up with some way to ensure continiuity.
posted by flipper at 6:51 AM on July 13, 2005

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