I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping my personal email address away from spammers. Such a good job that for a matter of months, maybe even a year, I haven’t had any spam in my personal Gmail account at all…
The email address that I give out on the internet is probably full of spam, but since Gmail’s spam filter is so good, and I read messages to that address in Mail.app, I don’t notice the spam there. I generally use my personal account for friends, people I meet in real life, work, and real life memberships and newsletters (such as Just Jeans, Myer, Borders). I’ve noticed in the last couple of months that the spam folder has a new bold number next to it in my personal account. Most days it only says (2), but it ticks me off and I have to go in and delete them.
I’d love to know who gave my email address away.
Apparently there’s a little trick that could have helped me find that out, if I’d known about it sooner.
Keep your email address safe(ish)
If you use a Gmail account, you can use a suffix to your username in your email address that will tell you who the email is coming from.
Take an example (not a real one, you can email me on my contact page though), firstname.lastname@example.org. If I give that to you guys as email@example.com, then I know that you’ve obtained my email address from my blog. Or, I could sign up for Twitter and give email address as firstname.lastname@example.org. Then, if I get spam from that address, I know that it was Twitter who betrayed my trust and gave my email address to those under-handed, amoral marketers.
I admit, this doesn’t exactly help prevent spam, but at least you know who is giving (or possibly even selling!) your email address. If you want to, you could cleave business with them or take action against them (if they promised not to share your address).
Update 19 Aug, 2008: I’ve tried to use this a couple of times, but it hasn’t worked because some websites don’t consider ‘+’ to be a valid email character, even though it is.
Disclaimer: I have seen no evidence to suggest that Twitter do anything dodgy, so far they have offered a faithful service. They just seemed like relevant example.
I hope no one’s real gmail address starts with example!