Keeping your e-mail address off the junk e-mailers' lists isn't easy, but here
are some ways to avoid dropping it in their hands:
- Never give your e-mail address unless you have to. If something (an online
form, product reply card, or etc.) asks for your e-mail address, don't give it to them.
Especially if you don't know the company or Web page who wants it. If you can't get to what
you need (especially online) without providing your e-mail address, check to see if the site
says anywhere that your e-mail address won't be sold or used for advertising. If you can't find
anything that says that, you have to decide if it's worth getting some junk e-mail (and being
permanently put on the junk e-mail lists) to get to whatever is being offered.
- Don't post messages to Usenet newsgroups. This is probably the single-biggest source
of e-mail addresses for the junk e-mailers, because thousands of messages get posted
daily, each labeled with someone's e-mail address. On any one day, I could easily collect
1000 different e-mail addresses from newsgroups, and so can anyone else. If you decide you
must post to Usenet, consider using an anonymous server. At the very least, it will hide
the fact that your e-mail address is in the US, which is probably something that junk e-mailers
- Don't put your e-mail address on your Web page. It would take considerably longer
to gather 1000 different e-mail addresses from Web pages, but it could be done. If you want
people who visit your Web page to be able to write to you, there's almost no way to avoid
putting your address on it somewhere.
- Don't submit your address to any of the Internet "people directories". There are
some places on the Internet where you can enter your name, e-mail, etc., to let others find
you (i.e. an Internet "white pages"). It also makes your address easy to find for junk
e-mailers, because they can do a search for "Jones" and get a hundred different e-mail
addresses. Put in your Web page address (if you have one, and if the directory service
will let you) instead - anyone who wants to find you can, but it's an extra step for
someone just collecting e-mail addresses.
- (From Tom Donohue) Don't post your resume with an online resume
service. As with Web pages and Internet directories, resume services
are an easy source of hundreds of e-mail addresses because anyone can look
at the resumes. If you must post your resume using one of these services,
try and not list your e-mail address, or try and get a second, temporary
e-mail account to list on your resume so that the junk e-mailers won't get
your real address. Once you take your resume off the service, get rid of
the temporary address to add even more invalid addresses to the junk
e-mailers' address lists.
- (From Dan) Put an IQ-test into your return address. I.e if your
address is firstname.lastname@example.org, specify a return address like
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
etc. If you do it clever enough, a machine cannot deceiver your
address, only humans. This works as a deterrent.