Logic of corporate IT changing e-mail domains?

One of the part time companies I work for is now changing the corporate e-mail addresses for the company for a third time in four years. For purposes of not identifying the company, let’s say that my address used to be yarster@XYZincorporated.com. Then it switched to yarster@XYZgov.com, and finally to yarster@XYZinc.com. Every time they do this, it causes HUGE amounts of headaches for the company, because it effectively invalidates every business card we have handed out to a client, many of whom don’t contact us on a regular basis. It also makes us look very flakey and unstable when we have to tell everyone “our e-mail addresses have changed to…” during the transition period.

Obviously I am only looking at it from the marketing/business development side because of the huge disruption and damage it causes us. But there MUST be some advantage to doing this from a corporate IT standpoint, presumably that saves money. And no, we did not have some corporate scandal that caused us to have to change our name like Valujet becoming AirTran, or Anderson Consulting becoming Accenture. This company is just a technical services firm that does work for the Government. So to anyone who works in a corporate IT department that had their e-mail domain name changed (if that’s what you call it), why the Hell do you do this? What’s the compelling business or financial reason for this disruption?

Did their web address change at the same time? I’d suspect that’s the reason. It costs money to keep multiple names.

As for why they changed their web address, the first one is kinda obvious: the new one is shorter. The second I can only think is because they don’t want to be associated with being only working for the government. Their web presence is small enough that they don’t think the change will hurt anything.

Other than the price issue, it would also be weird if the email addresses for people on the website appear to be from a different site.

.com domain names are cheap, so cost isn’t really a viable excuse for not keeping the old domains and aliasing all the old email addresses to the new domain.

Do they really invalidate the old addresses when they switch? My work email has three different domain names that all alias to the same account, with two variants at each address (my full name and my abbreviated name), making six addresses that all work. I can’t imagine it’s that difficult to keep them all working.

My only thought would be sometimes it can be helpful to look like multiple companies.

One of my customers runs a carpet cleaning business, that is three businesses on paper.

He can handle 5-6 customers a day with himself and his 2 staff.

#1 Discount service, very cheap rates, only books 2 customers per day, not unusual for his first appointment to be 10-14 days out, only does the basics, anything beyond running the cleaner over the carpet is extra. Moving furniture for you, extra.

#2 Mid range service, first few spot/stain treatments included, will help with a few heavy items appointments usually 5-7 days out. will book up to two of these per day.

#3 Very Expensive service: They will come in, move everything for you, all the bells and whisles included, available within 2 days, usually by next day, occasionally same day if desired.

50% of his revenues come from #3
30% from #2
20% from #1

All of them have different websites, different phone numbers, different email addresses, and different target marketing. So he draws business from different market segments while still preserving the brand integrity of his “fancy” service.

Yeah, and this is trivial to do with any email software out there. You receive at the old address, and when you send from the new address, the problem sorts itself out in a few months. The last company I worked for, I had something like 6-7 domains on my email address, due to various acquisitions/mergers/etc.

Actually, it’s probably a pain in the butt for IT, too.

The two times I’ve had to switch domains, the push for the change came from the sales and marketing side of the operation. Is the company trying to break in to any new segments, where XYZinc.com might come off as a bit more appropriate than XYZgov.com?

black rabbit - They have acquired a number of small companies over the years, but they are all in federal government services, with the possible exception of some state and local prison work that is still really ‘government’ when you get right down to it. The only thing I can think of that could go non-Government is that they signed an exclusive distribution deal with an energy management company that puts specialized meters on large buildings to determine optimum heating/cooling/ power needs that is supposed to cut yearly energy costs by 30%. My understanding is that this ‘exclusivity’ is currently specific to it’s use at Government facilities as the energy company itself does large office building already, but doesn’t understand the Government sales process. As such, I see us as being 95-99% government services. I really don’t see who all these fictional ‘commercial’ customers are that would buy our services now or in the future, which would necessitate the changes back and forth.

As far as shortening the ‘XYZincorporated.com’ to ‘XYZinc.com’, that is obviously easier to type, but if everyone is used to typing it, why go through the headache?

My first thought was that maybe the sysadmin is getting overwhelmed by spam and wants new email addresses to start fresh.

Really?

Probably they were told to do it.

My thought too. I wish my company would do that.

I can think of two reasons. The first is that one of the government customers had a problem with the yarster@XYZgov.com address. I’m sure your company didn’t intend this, but it looks a little like they’re trying to emphasize a government connection. The second is that after acquiring the other companies , they wanted to standardize email addresses, etc.
I work for a state government agency and up until about a year ago, there were all different domains being used by different state agencies - myname@nameofagency.state.abbreviationofstate.us , myfirstname.lastname@abbrevofagency.abbrevofstate.gov , myname@abbreviationofagency.gov and every permutation you can think of. In addition to that different agencies used different email ,HR , and timekeeping etc. software. Now , alll agencies are moving to standardized email addresses and website addresses ,and we will be using the same software, as all IT functions will be consolidated in a single agency and all personnel functions will be consolidated in another agency etc.

One thing that occurred to me was that they forgot to renew their domain registration and it was poached out from under them?

I’m not sure why a private company would want gov in their name unless they sell governors for trucks. “inc” sounds more business-like. The only other reason for name-changes would be a revolving door in management where everyone catches re-branding fever.

Bottom line. There’s no competent reason for anyone to do this.