Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spammy Yummy!

Another one of those spam hatred posts; didn't check my gmail a/c for three days and now I see 165 spam messages: I have no inclination to sift through them even though there might be few false positives. At least, with my gmail I was very careful with posting it on public forums; heck I would try to use to register to public forums in case I really had to register but the darn Google Newsgroups didn't let me use any other a/c except Google to post to their forums (there are some disadvantages of using SSO after all); so now my gmail email is open to spammers to harvest, and I guess the monsoon was really good this year cause the harvesting seems to be going on in full swing!).
Digressing a little; I believe there are two ways your email is spammed: 1) It's somewhere on a public facing site so is harvested by bots/spammers (2) You provide your email address to a site and they sell it off to harvesters. For (1) if you indeed have to make your email address public there's not much you can do; except use throw-away email addresses like mailinator.
2) If you have your own email provider with a default catch-all email a/c then it's easy; create unique email addresses for every site that you are registering with; for instance my registration email address could be for the Ameritrade site and for site; this way at least once I start getting spammed I know who sold my email address (and perhaps create Junk filters). Unfortunately; this doesn't work for majority of people; who don't have their own email provider. I think it would be great if public email providers like Yahoo, Google & MS etc. supported some kind of "catch-all" functionality with the email addresses that they provide, something like if I prefix or suffix my actual email address with some text and a delimiter; the mail would still be forwarded to my real email address for e.g. (here # is the delimiter and ameritrade is the suffix) should fwd mails to and then I would have to way to know in case ameritrade ever sells my email to some spammers.


  1. gmail does support that - use the + sign.

    Like if your email is, you can use

  2. Well, that's what happens when you've taken a 7 month break (& have been livin' in a cave) & being infrequent with the happenings on the online world: you bitch about not having something which actually you already have :). I guess, the next step in the process for gmail would be create a filter based on the To address and either label such mails as "Spam" or delete them directly. Hopefully, other free email providers will also implement something similar.

    props for the info!