Blog Master G

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Spam Invasion

Friday, February 6th, 2004 · 3 Comments

See update to item 2 below.

I’ve been using the same primary, “for human eyes only” email address for nearly a year. I began using said address last March when I finally got fed up with an inundation of spam going to my previous address, which I’d been using all over the Web and with Web services for five years.

Over the past year, I’ve made a concentrated effort never to publish said address anywhere online or even to input it into any online forms (those private party forms like my own contact form excepted). I have another address for that purpose. I’ve tried to emphasize to everyone who has this address to use it wisely and not to type it into any forms (“email this link to a friend!”) or add it to any services (“keep track of all your friends’ birthdays here on our site so that we can keep all their email addresses on record and later sell them to spammers!”).

Today it happened: The first piece of spam in nearly a year slipped into my spam-free email account:

    Date: Thu, 05 Feb 04 23:26:13 GMT
    From: Estella Bullard
    Subject: Domain names only $5.95/year! mw k g h

I guarantee it’s not because I published my address online or used it in any Web services. And I fear that this is the beginning of the end for this email address. Spammers are like ants: There’s never just one. Estella’s going to tell her friends that she got a good one, and her pesky friends won’t be far behind.

The lesson here, my friends and readers, is simple: We can help each other fight spam by using one another’s email addresses wisely. If there’s a link you want to send me, great. That’s why the computer gods invented copy and paste. If you want to remember my birthday, write it down or make a note to yourself in the wonderful invention called Yahoo Calendar. (But remember to use an address at which you don’t mind getting spam when you sign up with Yahoo.)

If we all follow these few rules of email etiquette, the Internet world can be a more pleasant place:

  1. Maintain two email addresses for yourself: One where you will expect to get spam and can use freely online, and one that you can enjoy without the clutter.
  2. Respect your friends’ private addresses. I don’t use your address online, so please don’t use mine. Update: Certain services, like Ofoto, excepted. I trust Ofoto and have been using the service for years. I also realize you can’t really copy and paste URLs from Ofoto albums, so please share away!
  3. Think of your private email address as your mailing address. Would you write down my home address on a slip of paper and hand it to a stranger on the street?

Tags: rants

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ben // Feb 12, 2004 at 5:36 pm

    I’m sorry, Gabe… I signed you up on a bunch of spam lists. I was a little mad at you guys for leaving the west coast.


  • 2 Jordan // Feb 25, 2004 at 6:52 pm

    There is always, of course, the chance that you’ve been hit with a war-mailer attack. We all love the ingenius evilness of spammers and in my time as a technical consultant I’ve worked with a few of these guys (and yes, I _always_ feel dirty afterwards). Much like a war-dialer is to modems, they have war-mailers that will brute force mail billions of the most likely mail addresses at known mail sites.

    So if, alas, the domain of “” made it into a war-mailer repository they will hit it with “” and millions of others. Anything they don’t get a bounce for goes onto the “good” list.

    You cannot have a mail address at, or any of the other majors ones that resembles something sensical without it being war-mailed eventually.

    There are lots of war-IM’ers as well that will blast ICQ, AIM, Y!IM with spam IMs. Boy is it awesome!

  • 3 John Hades // May 1, 2004 at 6:51 pm

    i actualy like spam. It’s not as bad as people say it is. It’s more like modern day advertisement. Yes, it might be bothersome but it might also be the future.