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CompuServe Is No More — But Will Email Addresses Remain Active?

July 7th, 2009
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CompuServe, the pioneering online service, quietly ended its 30-year run on June 30. Current owner AOL made the shutdown announcement via email to its dwindling ranks of subscribers, prompting blog eulogies from nostalgic fans — and a little bit of snark from the peanut gallery (“CompuWHAT?”).

The news caught my eye, not only because I’m a former user.

I remember logging on to CompuServe to check stock market quotes and search a Lexis-Nexis-style periodical database during my first reporting job out of college. I also shared one of those now-ludicrous numerical email addresses with about four other reporters.

More relevant to the here and now is the notice that current subscribers can retain their existing CompuServe Classic email addresses.

The process requires subscribers to migrate their old accounts to a new, Web-mail service through an online registration form — but how many of those address will, indeed, remain active?

Subscriber apathy, user error, or technical glitches could cause many of those addresses to stop functioning. And if you’ve got CompuServe address in your email database, that could mean more bounces in the coming weeks.

So take a look at your database. See how many @compuserve.com addresses you’re currently mailing, and watch for bounces or other signs of inactivity in future campaigns. You don’t want to purge those addresses from your list immediately, but you also don’t want the ghosts of past ISPs threatening your list hygiene.

CompuServe Classic Mail Migration:
http://member.compuserve.com/mailcenter/default.jsp

CompuServe Eulogy from The PaperPC
http://paperpc.blogspot.com/2009/06/compuserve-classic-so-long-old-friend.html