Once Spammed, Always Spammed
When I first registered my personal domain name
five years ago, I eagerly created my custom email
address, "email@example.com." Short and memorable,
consisting of my nickname and shortened version of
my last name, I thought I'd created the last email
address I'd ever need. Such was my eagerness that I
plastered the address all over the Web sites I
created. I also used it online for everything from
entering sweepstakes to registering for online
products and services. You live, you learn; in no
time, the spam started sprouting in my Inbox.
The 'bots quickly harvested my address from the
Web sites I'd created, as well as from the message
boards I frequented. The companies to whom I'd
given the address put me on their mailing lists,
and sold or gave away the address to countless
online marketers (read: spammers). Before long, my
email routine comprised equal parts sending and
deleting. Finally, it got so bad that I had to
change my email address completely and cancel the
whole "firstname.lastname@example.org" account.
What I've just described is not novel in any
way. I'm sure many of my readers have gone through
such tribulations, either choosing to create a new
address as I did, or just putting up with the junk
by exercising the index finger on the Delete
button. The twist that makes the story interesting
is that I just recreated the "email@example.com"
address the other day on a lark, just to see if
it's become "purified" in the intervening years. I
thought that perhaps, over time, the invalid
address might have been slowly removed from the
countless spammer mailing lists on which it had
replicated. If there was any rhyme or reason to the
spamming, maybe repeated "bounces" would have
signaled some spambot to remove the bogus
No such luck. Once spammed, always spammed. In
just two short days, the address that had been
inactive for three years or more collected nearly
100 spam email messages. Apparently once you get on
these lists, you're on there eternally. You might
choose to abandon your email address, but they'll
never give it up.
So guard your address well, if it's not too late
already. Give out your address only to those whom
you trust. If you need to sign up for any online
services or register on any Web sites, take a
moment to create a free Hotmail or Yahoo email
account and use it as a secondary "spam" account.
Otherwise, you'll get branded with a big fat "S,"
as one of the "Spammed for Life."
Strickland ALL RIGHTS