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November 07, 2005

1) I change my email address and give the new one out only to a select group of family and friends, not putting it on the web.
2) Spam drops literally to nothing.
3) I provide the new email address to two credit card companies, our phone company and the Apple iTunes store for billing purposes, and wince in anticipation at the potential onslaught.
4) Spam stays at zero.
5) A month goes by.
6) On November 2 I provide the new email address to in the process of starting an account.
7) On November 3 I receive four PayPal account phishing spams.
8) On November 4-5 that goes up to 15.
9) I receive the first Chinese-language spam on November 6.
10) The first lottery scam arrives November 7.

Spam is still much lower than it was, but I so enjoyed not getting any that I have actually, in the last few days, considered just doing away with my email account altogether.

I'm not stating categorically that is selling email addresses to spammers. My brother has mentioned rumors that Microsoft is cataloguing email addresses to which Hotmail clients send messages, for sale to spammers. It may be that I've commented on a blog that's broken and displayng email addresses in a way that harvesters can access them. Though if that's the case, Google doesn't know about it. The address I chose is mildly unlikely to be vulnerable to a dictionary attack, though it's not at all impossible.

Still: I'm pissed.

Posted by Chris Clarke at November 7, 2005 09:25 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs


This is why I have two emails, one for spam and one for not-spam. It means I still have to read the spam one, since I provide it for comments like this one and on my website, and for other signups.

One day someone will legitimately email me using a mangled subject line purporting to sell me pharmaceuticals and I'll delete it. Just so you know.

Posted by: KathyF at November 8, 2005 03:08 AM
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Kathy's plan is a good one and is the one I use-I have an email address for friends and family and one that I give out in commercial transactions. So far it's worked quite well. I change the commercial one when it gets too spammy-easy to do since there are so many free web email services.

Posted by: Stephanie at November 8, 2005 05:28 AM
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The way a lot of spammers figure out your email address is by using a "dictionary attack" on a domain, and making note of the ones that don't bounce. Then, they start hammering the legitimate addresses with spam. My yahoo email address gets a bunch of spam, and I don't use it in 'public' at all.

Posted by: Kevin at November 8, 2005 08:25 AM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs is too cute by far. just the name. let alone the concept. as jay leno said to hugh grant (admittedly in a far different context) "what were you thinking?"

Posted by: dread pirate roberts at November 8, 2005 08:46 AM
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I always provide e-mail addresses of the form -- gmail and some other mail agents will pass that through to the my.username mailbox, and if I start getting spam there I know who sold my address.

Posted by: John Costello at November 8, 2005 08:56 AM
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I went a long time without spam, but once the floodgates open, there's no closing them. However, I find with popfile my annoyance with spam has dropped significantly because it is amazingly effective at segregating the spam in another folder.

Posted by: Doh at November 8, 2005 12:34 PM
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I haven't been bothered too terribly by spammers (knock, knock, knock on wood). I, too, have several email accounts and use them for various things.

I do not have YOUR email address, Chris, so the following is something I would have emailed:


I am still laughing and saying "good one!" out loud!

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie at November 8, 2005 06:41 PM
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As much as I love the Tangled Bank, hosting TB was what made my spam deliveries go from zero to 30-45 per day. As a previous commenter said, "once the floodgates have opened, there's no closing them." This is so true. The most amazing thing about spam is that most of it is directed at the penis-bearing members of the species .. hrmmm, why do you suppose that is so??

Posted by: GrrlScientist at November 8, 2005 07:41 PM
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yeah, I use a hotmail address for any signing-upping or ordering or what have you on the web... I did make one mistake though, I replied to some listserv emails from people I know before realizing that the messages were archived on a website. Oops.

Fortunately gmail's spam filter seems to be the best around - I get dozens of spams a day apparently but never see them.

Posted by: craig at November 8, 2005 07:45 PM
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I'll second the gmail comment; spam shows up in my inbox only rarely.

Posted by: the_bone at November 8, 2005 09:08 PM
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Send me that email, by the way, Sir Uncle.

Posted by: Allison at November 8, 2005 09:48 PM
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I signed up to the yummy ones and haven't been sent any spam... perhaps they think I'm vegetarian.

Posted by: qB at November 9, 2005 03:08 AM
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=v= Check out for a way to get email addresses that you can give to sites -- and trap the spam if the site spams or sells you off to spammers.

Posted by: Jym at November 21, 2005 11:39 AM
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