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Spam Replacing Postal Junk Mail?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the connecting-the-dots dept.

Spam 251

TheOtherChimeraTwin writes "I've been getting spam from mainstream companies that I do business with, which is odd because I didn't give those companies my email address. It is doubly strange because the address they are using is a special-purpose one that I wouldn't give out to any business. Apparently knotice.com ('Direct Digital Marketing Solutions') and postalconnect.net aka emsnetwork.net (an Equifax Marketing Service Product with the ironic name 'Permission!') are somehow collecting email addresses and connecting them with postal addresses, allowing companies to send email instead of postal mail. Has anyone else encountered this slimy practice or know how they are harvesting email addresses?"

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Man, the lumber cartel is NOT going to like THIS (1, Funny)

tehdely (690619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543501)

( TINLC )

Re:Man, the lumber cartel is NOT going to like THI (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543515)

As a lumber company executive I want to make aware our great misfortune, and hate to have to do this but Mr. Obama... We need OUR bailout too!

Do you shop online? (5, Interesting)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543529)

Every time I buy something on-line I have to provide my billing address so now the e-mail address I use and possibly more (can it read cookies?) is known to the vendor who can turn around and sell that information to others. How easy is it for some Javascript or something to poke around for e-mail addresses when you are at a site? Also, my e-mail providers know my address - i.e. yahoo, google, aol, apple and comcast. Could they be selling that information? I wouldn't be surprised.

Re:Do you shop online? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543561)

According to my email provides, my real address is 1 Microsoft Way.

Re:Do you shop online? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543779)

My standard email address for sites I dont wish to give my real details to is bill@microsoft.com

I used to give the local recycling centre as my real address.

Re:Do you shop online? (4, Informative)

aj50 (789101) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543603)

A given site can only read cookies which have been set by the same site (well, domain). There are various exploits to get around this called Cross Site Scripting (XSS) attacks which involve somehow putting javascript onto someone else's page (such as a slashdot comment). This type of attack can be thwarted by properly escaping any dynamic content.

Allowing access to other site's cookies is a problem because most sites which allow you to log in tell users apart by giving each of them a different cookie. By stealing someone else's cookie you might be recognised as them without having to log in.

Re:Do you shop online? (4, Informative)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544175)

Just a clarification. A site can only see cookies set *TO* that domain. Sub-domains can see cookies set to the parent domain as well. Beyond this, any site can *SET* a cookie *FOR* another domain, they just can't read it.

Re:Do you shop online? (2, Informative)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544241)

How easy is it for some Javascript or something to poke around for e-mail addresses when you are at a site?

Decent browsers don't expose data not created by the site, aside from the standard browser ID, and even that can be turned off. And if you use a browser with the security profile of swiss cheese, your email adress is not your main problem.

Also, my e-mail providers know my address - i.e. yahoo, google, aol, apple and comcast. Could they be selling that information? I wouldn't be surprised.

That's just about the only thing I trust Google not doing. If you want to know how they get it, try giving out different adresses to different sites and see which ones get what spam.

have your own domain-get universal forwarding (4, Informative)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543555)

I have my own domain- EVERYONE except family gets a different email address
one gets caught by spammers- the address gets killed.

I understand gmail allows using a + in the address line to sort mail in a similar fashion
googleid+identifyingstring@gmail.com and you still get it-- only you know the source.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (3, Interesting)

ticklemeozmo (595926) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543585)

Many websites which require email addresses discourage and in fact prevent the use of + while signing up.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543631)

If they're willing to not pay attention to the RFC, then I'd bet they are also willing to spam the shit out of me. I.e.: I won't do business with them, then.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543737)

You may have a hard time telling where it came from (they could accept address+marker@gmail.com and then scrub the +marker, it isn't exactly a secret).

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

shogun (657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543813)

Then you setup that account to only accept an email with + in the address its sending to. Anyone who strips the + would be attempting to spam you anyway.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543845)

People are advocating the use of the +marker with their usual gmail account; I suppose you could send out a request to everyone that you email with to add it, but good luck with that.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

wik (10258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543927)

Someone tell that to Verizon. They seem to think it's best practice to send the same marketing email to both the original address with the + and the same address without. Better yet, their unsubscribe facility refuses to accept the +.

I wish more people understood the +. I've used it to make incoming mail self-sorting for well over a decade.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (4, Informative)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543665)

Not so much that they discourage it, they just have badly coded email validators. The allowable characters in an email address is much broader than most systems' valid usernames, but the lazy just assume people will only have a username as their mailbox.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (3, Interesting)

SpammersAreScum (697628) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543791)

Yup. I suspect this is a case where Hanlon's Razor [wikipedia.org] should be remembered.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543929)

And you can get around that by putting a period in your regular email address and marking where you used that particular placement of a period.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

vally_manea (911530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543591)

Google allows for it but in a lot of cases the validation of the email is quite poorly done and it doesn't allow for such an address.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543639)

Yeah, because spammers are too stupid to s/+[^@]//.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543709)

won't compile, you fool! go back to perl school

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (4, Interesting)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543673)

If I need to reply to an email to join a site I'm dubious about, in other words actually receive it, I use the Trashmail addon for Firefox. It expires after a couple of emails. If they turn out to be OK, I can then change the email to a more permanent one in the options.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543701)

While using the + in this fashion is a great idea, it breaks the specification for email addresses in the RFC.

If Google wants to use email addresses this way, they should submit their own RFC, and maybe change the specification... for the better.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (3, Informative)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543793)

While using the + in this fashion is a great idea, it breaks the specification for email addresses in the RFC.

No it doesn't. Using the plus sign in an email address is already specified in the RFC and has been for quite some time.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543851)

You have misunderstood me. The "+" character, like so many other characters (many more than most people think) has always been a valid character in email addresses. Using it in this non-standard manner, however, has not as far as I know been part of the specification.

I believe that using it in this way is a good idea. So why not submit an RFC, and try to make it part of the standard?

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (2, Informative)

MagicM (85041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543873)

RFC 5233 [ietf.org] mentions it.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543967)

Well, I'll be darned. Learn something new every day.

Funny, though, how this works opposite to the way subdomains do, i.e., name + detail rather than subdomain + domain. Backwards if you ask me.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27544157)

That's because the email is even older than the Internet. Hierarchical addressing in many earlier networks had the ordering reversed. In fact, early Internet addresses in Britain were written "backwards" by current standards. The current Internet domain name ordering is the exception rather than the rule. For example, compare these other systems: the import directives in Java programs, the identifiers in SNMP, LDAP and anything else that actually uses the ASN.1 standards from the OSI network model, or even simple path names on any commonly used system.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544277)

Yeah, it sucks that domains are screwed up (org.slashdot.it might be harder to read the first 7 times, but it is harder to spoof every single time).

Or, rather... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543897)

you did not misunderstand me, I just worded that poorly. Using "+" does not break the specification, it just extends it in an non-standard manner.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (4, Informative)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543805)

Which RFC, though?

821 (from 1982) does not allow it.
822 (also 1982) does.
2821 and 2822 (2001) also respectively don't and do.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543885)

Which RFC, though?

821 (from 1982) does not allow it.
822 (also 1982) does.
2821 and 2822 (2001) also respectively don't and do.

Ancient relics. It's all about RFCs 5321 and 5322. Don't you get a feed of all the latest RFCs?

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (3, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543977)

Ancient relics. It's all about RFCs 5321 and 5322. Don't you get a feed of all the latest RFCs?

I've got it set up as a podcast in iTunes.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27544287)

Yes, but read by our generous /. robot overlords?

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543819)

"+" sign is part of RFC, ffs.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543827)

What part of what RFC does it break?

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

MagicM (85041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543847)

That's not true. Per RFC 2822 (only relevant pieces quoted):

section 3.4.1:
addr-spec = local-part "@" domain
local-part = dot-atom / quoted-string / obs-local-part

section 3.2.4:
dot-atom = [CFWS] dot-atom-text [CFWS]
dot-atom-text = 1*atext *("." 1*atext)
atext = ALPHA / DIGIT / ; Any character except controls,
                                    "!" / "#" / ; SP, and specials.
                                    "$" / "%" / ; Used for atoms
                                    "&" / "'" /
                                    "*" / "+" /
                                    [...]

In other words, per the RFC, the local-part of an email address can contain a "+" (as well as a variety of other non-alphanumeric characters.

(The lameness filter is not very well suited for quoting RFC content.)

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (3, Informative)

number11 (129686) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543895)

While using the + in this fashion is a great idea, it breaks the specification for email addresses in the RFC.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

RFC5321 is the relevant RFC.

Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] summarizes the permitted characters in a somewhat more human-readable fashion. The "local-part" is the part of the email address to the left of the @:

>The local-part of the e-mail address may use any of these ASCII characters:
>
> * Uppercase and lowercase English letters (a-z, A-Z)
> * Digits 0 through 9
> * Characters ! # $ % & ' * + - / = ? ^ _ ` { | } ~
> * Character . provided that it is not the first nor last character, nor may it appear two or more times consecutively.

A "+" does not break the RFC. It may break some buggy address validators. (Note that there are also other interesting possibilities for breaking non-compliant software, such as case-sensitive addresses.)

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (4, Informative)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543729)

I understand gmail allows using a + in the address line to sort mail in a similar fashion
googleid+identifyingstring@gmail.com and you still get it-- only you know the source.

Only until someone 'helpfully' sends you something from a postcard site, joke list, or lottery draw. Then you'll get spammed at the "root" address (sans "+") and almost never again at any "+" address.

Don't ask me how I know this.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (4, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543743)

I have my own domain

So do I. I also have * addressing as a catch-all. When I have to provide an email address to register at a dubious site, I make one up that tells me something about where I used it; e.g., to sign up at example.com, it might be examplejunk@mydomain.com. That way, if I ever get anything sent to that email address and not clearly from example.com, I know exactly who sold my email address, and can add a filter deleting everything sent to that address. It hasn't happened, yet, but maybe I've just been lucky.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

mcelrath (8027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543913)

I've been doing that for years and years, and as another commenter notes, many websites are not compliant with the RFC, and refuse to allow + in email addresses. Not complying with the RFC should be a prosecutable offense, but I digress...

So I added underscores too. Everyone accepts underscores. In sendmail.cf you need to modify OperatorChars and add a rule copying the + rule. Look for 'R$+ +' starting a line.

But in practice, I've never actually done anything with these tagged email addresses. I get so much spam that it's not worth my time to hassle with it anymore. I just save it to my spam folder and Spamassassin trains on it, and soon I never see it.

When, oh when, will our law enforcement step up to the task? I'm tired of these criminals wasting my time and money.

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544209)

the problem is, most browsers transcode a literal space to a plus(+) when transmitting information, and a literal plus doesn't get translated. This means that most web server framework on the other end translate the plus in the original form to a space. meaning "yourname+filter@gmail.com" becomes "yourname filter@gmail.com" which is invalid. The issue is that web developer really need to take emailFromForm.Trim().Replace(' ', '+'); before they run other validity filters on the input, which they simply don't. The reason a plus sign is used, is it's allowed in email addresses (per RFCs), but not in the user name on most systems (ie: Unix)

Re:have your own domain-get universal forwarding (2, Informative)

zorg50 (581726) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544223)

You can also use Spam Gourmet at http://www.spamgourmet.com/ [spamgourmet.com] . It has several features that go above and beyond what GMail has (to my knowledge).

First, it will forward the e-mails to any address, so you don't have to use GMail. Second, it lets you include an identifying string, like GMail. Finally, however, is the best feature: in the address you give you can specify the number of e-mails that you want forwarded to you before they start getting sent to /dev/null. You can also whitelist addresses if you choose. I've been using it for years, and it works very well.

identifyingstring.numtoforward.username@spamgourmet.com

I had enough (3, Interesting)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543563)

I use 2 emails, one for spam and one for private mails.
Now both my emails are full of junk, but while google spam option are working my old yahoo email is beyond saving.
Just keep clicking on "this is spam". It's not worth your time to understand why it's happening, and even if you do understand, you will find out it's impossible to avoid.

Hell, I can't even check my old SMS because it's full of spam.

Re:I had enough (4, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543657)

I use 2 emails, one for spam and one for private mails. Now both my emails are full of junk...

It should be:
One for email from IT persons.
One for registration confirmation and chainmail-forwarders.

Mod parent up: +5, Truth (3, Insightful)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543789)

Everytime I got a new email adres, there is always that one clueless git that adds my address to one of those cute 'send something funny every week' sites.

Never got that funny, but the spams just starts flooding in.

Now I'm a lot more picky about who gets to see my real address. The rest goes to my temporary catch-all of the month.

Re:I had enough (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543803)

I have 6 email addresses, basically for the same reasons, I just divide them up more finely.

--
Your tagline reminds me of Google: Love money, trust a few, do harm only to developing countries.

Re:I had enough (5, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543999)

I have 13 e-mail addresses. E-mail the public one, and you get sent a riddle, which if you answer correctly gets you the next e-mail address. Each riddle is more fiendish than the last, and nobody has reached the 13th e-mail address.

Re:I had enough (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544213)

Now that is a brilliant idea! How about using some of the harder questions from project euler? That'd really fix the spammers.

Re:I had enough (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27544361)

I've said it before- Email Certification.

Want to run a Certified Email server? Go to your ISP (or other such companies that may arise to offer the service). They check you out (Are you who you say you are? Do you have valid contact information? Etc...), then have you produce a Public/Private key pair. You give them the 'Public' key, and keep the 'Private' one to configure your email server with. Your email server must add an additional header with your Certifier's Certification Server (usually their email server), and a header that is encrypted with your Private key.

An email client that is Certification-compatible will, when it receives an email, look to see if it has those two headers. If not, it will handle it according to the user's wishes. This means NON-Certified email might be deleted, or sent to a different folder, or whatever. Whitelists/blacklists are still possible.

If the email has the headers, the email client will connect to the Certification Server listed in the one header, and download the 'Public' key to attempt to decrypt the other header. If the decrypted header is valid, the client treats the email the way it is configured to, usually by placing it in the Inbox. Again, whitelists and blacklists can still be used.

Here's the most important part: If the user receives Spam that is Certified, they can easily report it to the Certifier (email clients would have a 'Report Certified Spam' button that automatically shoots an email off to the Certifier, for instance). The Certifier can then contact the owner of the Certified Server and notify them of the spam. This gives the server owner a chance to stop the spam, in case the server was hacked or the spam was accidental. If the Server owner does not stop the spam, the Certifier simply pulls the Certification, by removing the 'Public' key on their server. From that moment forward, ALL email the Email server in question sends will be NON-certified (and quite frankly, probably deleted by the recipients).

If the Certifier refuses to do anything about the Spamming Server (because they are 'in on it', friendly to spammers, or just incompetent), then ALL Certifications from that Certifier can be marked as 'bad', either on a client-by-client basis, or thru the use of a Certifier black-list.

-There is no 'Central Authority'- your ISP Certifies you for a modest fee.
-You can still send non-certified email, so hobby mailing lists and the like are not affected- the people who receive the mailing list might just need to whitelist it.
-Legit email will (eventually, almost always) be Certified, so Certified emails can be sent straight to the Inbox. Non-certified email will (eventually, almost always) be spam, so it can be trashed.
-Any spam that is sent from a Certified server will quickly be reported by pissed-off recipients, and quick action will be needed to avoid that Certifier (and ALL the servers it has certified) from being put on a blacklist.
-Spam will dwindle as Spammers either move to 'spam-friendly' Certifiers (which are blacklisted so the spam never gets thru anyway), or will spend huge amounts of money switching ISPs every 2-3 days to get re-certified over and over. Of course, ISPs could take a clue from the Las Vegas Casinos, and keep a 'black book' of known spammers, and check new clients against them before Certifying them.
-This system does not need to be adopted all at once. Certified and non-certified emails can be handled both by email clients that are Certification aware and not.

It may not be perfect, but it'd be a good start.

ISP ? (3, Insightful)

johnjones (14274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543575)

first person I would suspect is the ISP or your webmail

without knowing any details of even the country your in it's kind of hard to guess...

but ISP's use deep packet inspection and even easier I am guessing you fill in your email address for their webmail and they bill you...

regards

john jones

What I do... (5, Funny)

Mr. Conrad (1461097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543577)

I just handle electronic spam like normal junk mail. Hit Ctrl+P and then throw the damn thing away. Good riddance.

Email honeypot traps (4, Informative)

peterofoz (1038508) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543583)

I use a special domain name which maps all aliases (*) to my mail box. Nearly every email I use for online purchases or registrations is custom for that site so when I receive email from an unexpected source I can trace it back to where I originally used it. I also always opt out of companies sharing info. I recently caught out SCE having passed my email to a government energy program and called them out on it. If I get spammed on one 'channel', I can reroute it to the /dev/null mailbox.

Use temporary addresses (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543605)

Yahoo lets you create temporary addresses that you can disable at the drop of a hat.

I use those for most of my business correspondence.

Your mail provider may offer something similar.

Re:Use temporary addresses (2, Informative)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544003)

Gmail uses +'s. As in, username+foo@gmail.com will come to username's inbox. You can then use the filters to sort mail on that address (such as to the spam or trash folders.

Allow us to share your details with select partner (1, Redundant)

Iyonesco (1482555) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543619)

The only way you get spam is if a) you give your email address to businesses or b) if you use a service like hotmail where spammers send emails to random addresses and record the ones that don't get returned.

Businesses and spammers can't magically conjure your email address out of thin air so the cause must be one of the above. You've either signed up for a service and not unchcked "allow us to share your details with select partners" or you're using a popular email service that spammers target. Given that you're getting emails from major companies it sounds more likely it's the first possibility.

I registered a domain and use that for my email address and I'm careful to read what I'm signing up for so I get absolutely no spam at all. My opinion of spam is the same as my opinion of viruses - if you ever get any it's your own fault.

Re:Allow us to share your details with select part (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543835)

> My opinion of spam is the same as my opinion of viruses - if you ever get any it's your own fault.

Exactly! There is no reason for 99.8% of users to ever get a single spam.

Just don't be an idiot online, and you won't get any. I buy many things online, and am spam free - not through filtering, but because I used common sense.

Spam is only a problem because people *let* it be a problem, like so many other things in life, and then they go whining about the results. If you don't want spam, act in a way consistent with your wishes. It is simple and doesn't stop you from doing anything. If you are not willing to act in that way, then don't complain about the results.

Re:Allow us to share your details with select part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27544031)

If you are not getting spam sent to webmaster@yourdomain.com, info, sales, majordomo, help, feedback, advertising, accounting, admin, and billing@yourdomain.com and you have had yourdomain.com for a modest length of time, then something is filtering your spam for you.
These are being generated without any kind of harvesting outside of domain registration.

E-mail is Preferable, it can be Filtered (3, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543621)

Although it would be best if email marketers were simply swallowed by the earth and sent directly to wherever it is the bad people go, if they are going to continue annoying us then I would prefer that it be through email and not postal mail. At least with email they are competing on our playing field where we have a decisive technical advantage in filtering. If the choice is between them stuffing my post box with paper or trying to stuff my inbox with spam (they will fail due to ThunderBayes [mozilla.org] among others. What's the word? Thunderbird [mozillamessaging.com] ) then I say bring on the spam, we are ready.

Re:E-mail is Preferable, it can be Filtered (4, Funny)

fl!ptop (902193) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543689)

if they are going to continue annoying us then I would prefer that it be through email and not postal mail

i disagree, with postal spam at least if they provide a pre-paid return envelope i have the satisfaction of putting everything they sent me in that envelope, along w/ a few rusty washers (to add weight), and maybe a sunday paper glossy ad or two (more weight, and thickness) and sending it back to them on their dime.

Re:E-mail is Preferable, it can be Filtered (2, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543795)

Not only that, they have to pay to have the material designed, printed and mailed so it's not exactly free for them as it is with spam. Not only that, but even though they're using the bulk mail rate, all that junk mail stuffing your mail box each day is helping subsidize the cost of first class postage. In the case of spam, the spammers are being subsidized by the rest of us which is what makes it so bad.

Re:E-mail is Preferable, it can be Filtered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543759)

If they use email rather than snail mail, I am happy, at least it is environmentally less damaging and easier to automate filtering as said above.

Re:E-mail is Preferable, it can be Filtered (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544155)

Also, at least email is probably more environmentally friendly then manufacturing the paper, the ink, any other chemicals involved, and then shipping the stuff across country. It's really sad, when you think about it-- all that trouble just to deliver trash to my doorstep.

I know, that's not a novel thought; that's why they call it "junk mail". But it still strikes me funny whenever I really think about it. People almost literally manufacture trash and send it to your address against your wishes, just for you to throw it away without looking at it. What a waste. Not just a waste of materials and a waste of environmental resources, but what a waste of human effort.

Re:E-mail is Preferable, it can be Filtered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27544251)

postal mail?
Have not seen that since I put that "no commercial thanks" sign on my door.

I wish spam replaced postal junk mail (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543643)

It is a hell of a lot easier to deal with digital spam than the paper kind. The paper kind accumulates in my house and clutters the place up. It wastes dead tree and plastic. At least with the digital kind I can press a button and *poof* it's gone. I can only hope that more businesses will switch to 100% digital spam.

On a related note this is pretty much the same reason I don't get my news from a paper newspaper (well, among others). I got sick of having newspapers piling up in my home. I get 99% of all of my news through online sources (the other 1% is radio) and I'll never go back to having a paper delivered to me again.

Re:I wish spam replaced postal junk mail (1)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543933)

I certainly don't mind people sending me paper junkmail.

I've got a good use [alternativ...g-info.com] for it!

Re:I wish spam replaced postal junk mail (4, Interesting)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543991)

There is a trash can right next to my mailbox, which enables me to deal with paper spam about as easily as the electronic kind.

I do keep the little response cards with "return postage guaranteed" stamps, though. Those are great for gluing to bricks or other heavy objects you want to dispose of. Drop them in a mail box, and they not only get wind up in a mailbox at the company that spammed you, but that company gets billed for the postage, by weight. The heavier the object, the better!

Re:I wish spam replaced postal junk mail (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544049)

On a related note this is pretty much the same reason I don't get my news from a paper newspaper (well, among others). I got sick of having newspapers piling up in my home.

If I followed that logic, I'd never order pizza. Plus those boxes can't be used as emergency furniture as effectively as a stack of newspaper can.

BTW newspaper recycling has been available for the past 50 or 60 years - you might want to check it out sometime.

(This being Slashdot, I should probably mention this is all said pretty much tongue-in-cheek.)

Re:I wish spam replaced postal junk mail (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544197)

BTW newspaper recycling has been available for the past 50 or 60 years - you might want to check it out sometime.

See, and that is the thing. The newspapers piled up because I was loathe to throw them out knowing they would end up in a landfill somewhere. On the other hand (and this might come off as just plain lazy on my part) I didn't/don't recycle because the process as a whole is simply too much trouble to bother with. I know, I know, separate your plastics, papers and aluminum, etc. The problem with this is that recycling centers are few and far between in my area, and the trash man does not collect recyclables. I'm all for recycling but I think the process needs to much simpler before it takes hold in the majority of households (including mine).

I am a database direct & email marketer (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543649)

What's happening here is that there are companies that aggregate profile information, and they're able to link your email to your profile information. They then sell append services so the marketing company can add that email to your existing full name and address (FNA).

It is wrong for companies to append an email address and then market to it.

Companies do a lot with their (your?) customer data, including hygienization, appends, completion, profiling, etc. Most of this happends under the sheets, and most customers don't really want to know the details.

However, I advise clients to NEVER use an email append service for a variety of marketing and spam/technical reasons. Most clients will listen, some will choose not to. However, I'm seeing that more stupid companies will forge forward like its nothing, and companies with dwindling budgets are too suckered in by the cost savings.

Its only going to get worse.

GMail (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543651)

Once again, GMail is my solution to this. Prior to GMail, I used spamgourmet to keep my inbox clean. The oldest email I have used to get 30,000 emails per month that were all SPAM. Right now, it's getting about 11,000. (I haven't really used that address in a long time.

I have had maybe 10 SPAM emails in the last year make it to that inbox. (It's hosted under Google Apps.)

So once I found out how well Google's SPAM filters work, I quit caring about giving out my main email address. I give it to everything now, and if a company SPAMs me, I just mark it as SPAM. When enough people do that, it seriously hinders their ability to contact their legit customers, and they learn a valuable lesson.

There's a little bit of fallout from people who use the SPAM button incorrectly, but I think Google does its best to account for that, too.

Re:GMail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27544315)

At 30,000 per month you don't have a spam problem. My domain gets 10,000 per hour, but some RBLs and Spam Assassin keeps it usable.

Re:GMail (3, Interesting)

Sephr (1356341) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544353)

It seems you think spam is always all caps. All-caps spam is a trademark of the makers of that lunchmeat: http://www.spam.com/about/internet.aspx [spam.com]

E-Stamps, the only way to reduce spam (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543697)

E-stamps are the only effective way to reduce spam. Bulk spammers will go from paying something like 0.1 cents per message to say 25-cents, making it uneconomical, and more trace-able. When you buy an e-stamp, 1/3 of the amount goes to the recipient (usually as credit), 1/3 to the ISP, and 1/3 to a monitoring agency. "Approved" recipients could send for free.

Re:E-Stamps, the only way to reduce spam (4, Funny)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543837)

E-stamps are the only effective way to reduce spam. Bulk spammers will go from paying something like 0.1 cents per message to say 25-cents, making it uneconomical, and more trace-able. When you buy an e-stamp, 1/3 of the amount goes to the recipient (usually as credit), 1/3 to the ISP, and 1/3 to a monitoring agency. "Approved" recipients could send for free.

Your post advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative (X) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
(X) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(X) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
(X) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
(X) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
(X) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
( ) Asshats
(X) Jurisdictional problems
(X) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
(X) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
( ) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
(X) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
(X) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
(X) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
house down!

Re:E-Stamps, the only way to reduce spam (0)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543951)

(X) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money

It becomes the credit-card co's or ISP's problem, not yours. It's like any other $ transaction.

(X) Users of email will not put up with it

Why do you say that? It would be mostly automatic.

(X) Requires too much cooperation from spammers

Huh?

(X) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once

No, just agreement between a few big co's and/or a gov't project.

(X) Jurisdictional problems

International may be a little tricky, but this may also keep out "shady" foreign operators.

(X) Unpopularity of weird new taxes

If you only send a few messages a day, it would probably be part of ISP bundle, and frequent recipients can be put on your "free" list.

(X) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email

See above.

(X) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes

Maybe they would patch it if it cost them $.

(X) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves

No diff than any other financial transaction, see above.

(X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical

Yes: paper mail. We get paper junk-mail, but not the volume seen in email. And more tracable than email. Plus, it would still be auto-filterable, unlike paper.

(X) Sending email should be free

Security ain't free. Never will be. And if your volume is typical or you mostly send to the same people, it will be insignificant or none. See above.

Re:E-Stamps, the only way to reduce spam (4, Informative)

Helix150 (177049) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544343)

To understand why this won't work you have to understand how e-mail works. We start from when you hit 'send' in outlook.

Your message first goes to your ISP's or company's outgoing mail server. Let's ignore that for a moment.

That outgoing mail server looks at the recipient- user@domain.com. So it uses DNS (the thing that converts a name like www.google.com into an IP like 74.125.93.147) and asks what the MX (mail exchanger) servers are for domain.com. Domain.com has those listed in its DNS.

The outgoing mail server then connects to the domain.com MX server. It says "i have a message from person@company.com for user@domain.com". If the MX agrees to take it, your outgoing mail server transmits the message, and the MX sends a confirmation that it is accepted. They then disconnect.

If you're running your own mail server, or are using a company mail server, or a different email system, your ISP has nothing to do with this other than moving your packets around.

The point is that email is not a single system that can be changed like raising the fare on the subway. If you're the city and you want higher subway fares, you just reprogram a few thousand turnstiles (all of which you own) and you're done. Email/SMTP isn't like that, SMTP is an agreement, a protocol which millions of networks and servers have chosen to implement. Email is just another internet protocol, no different than AIM, skype, HTTP/wwww, FTP, etc. It's just one of the most widely used protocols.
There is no central authority to enforce anything like e-stamps. For this to be enforced, the domain.com MX would have to say 'please give me a tenth of a cent before I deliver your mail'. The only useful way to handle that would probably be with a 3rd-party clearinghouse for exchanging the 'stamps', so your mail server would say 'i give you stamp ID (long stamp id number)', the destination MX looks that up with the clearinghouse, approves it, then accepts the message for delivery.

For that to happen, both your SMTP server and the recipient's MX would have to be modified to deal with these payments, and optionally require them for mail delivery. There are many different mail server programs out there, this would require all of them to be updated to support payments, and then (heres the hard part) all the people who run them would have to install those updates. Then anybody who runs a mail server would have to do some financial setup to let them accept payments and send payments for email. IE, every random geek and company and IT department and ISP that runs a mail server now has to jump through a financial hoop. If I run my own mail server, does that mean i get 2/3 of the payment (the recipient fee and the ISP fee)? Does my ISP get it even though I'm not using their servers? There will be great resistance to this.

The main issue is, it would *NOT* be transparent, not to anybody. This would be a large, time-consuming and very expensive implementation.

Now let's say best case scenario, lets say you get all the major isps and webmail providers on board (msn, aol, yahoo, google, comcast, timewarner, verizon, cablevision/optimum, charter, adelphia, etc).
Let's say they immediately set up their system to start dealing with these micropayments.
What happens to the (literally) millions of companies in the US and abroad who run thier own mail servers, but whos systems are NOT updated? Can they no longer send mail to all of the above networks, or is there a break in period? If the payments are optional, what incentive does anybody have to adopt them?

Also you say approved senders can send for free. Who is an approved sender? What is the qualification? If it's difficult and expensive, some of the large bulk-mailing companies will try it anyway, and the smaller legit companies are shut out. If it's easy to get one even for a small biz, then the spammers will get them too. If extensive investigation is performed on the applicants, that money has to come from somewhere, so it'll be expensive. And whoever you put in charge of this all will undoubtedly want to make money off it so the price may well go up over time. No matter what you do, a lot of people are going to be very unhappy about this.

Say you have a 'free' list for each subscriber. Is this maintained on the server? Great, now the MX server which used to just relay mail has to maintain allow lists for thousands of subscribers. Expensive.

You say that the people with infected computers would patch if it cost them money-- no they wouldnt. Many of those machines are in asia where nobody cares and everybody runs pirated software. And for the US side ones, you're talking about having ISPs start packet inspecting their traffic to look for email to bill for. This is a BAD idea.

I agree with you that tiny e-stamps might help the spam problem. But I just don't see it happening anytime this century. One of the biggest principles of the Internet is that anybody can send any kind of data across it at any time for any reason. SMTP (email) is just another type of data, just another protocol. You can't just change it, even if you have a good reason for doing so it's just not physically possible.

Re:E-Stamps, the only way to reduce spam (0, Redundant)

Helix150 (177049) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543855)

this is never going to happen.

The only reason email works worth a damn right now is because everybody's email server speaks SMTP. Sure, SMTP has its flaws (IE lack of authentication and security) but it does what it's supposed to do.
Requiring payment for e-mail would require significantly changing, or outright replacing, SMTP. This isn't going to happen, because any changes will never reach critical mass. There's always going to be a million companies with email servers that haven't been patched since 2002, not to mention that most of the Internet would be up in arms about paying for e-mail.

There have been attempts to make email more traceable, for example DomainKeys and SPF. But take SPF as an example- it requires only the smallest of changes to implement, and still a huge number of systems don't have or use it.

But to repost something I found on slashdot a few years ago...

Your post advocates a

(*) technical ( ) legislative (*) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
(*) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(*) Users of email will not put up with it
(*) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
(*) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
(*) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
( ) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
(*) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
(*) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
( ) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(*) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
(*) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
(*) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(*) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

Re:E-Stamps, the only way to reduce spam (1)

Helix150 (177049) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543879)

damn, i was beat to it :\

Re:E-Stamps, the only way to reduce spam (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544013)

I replied to a similar form in an adjacent message.

One more reason (1)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543727)

Why tech savy people should be making tech policies in government. How many politicians know what data mining is other than that magical sheet of paper their advisors tell them will turn into votes when they mention specific words at a specific news conference. This was one inevitability of marketing / data mining to reach even further into our lives for the sole purpose of persuading us to empty our wallets in their direction.

Like any other scumbags, they will exploit it for all it's worth until enough people complain in a strong enough way to force change, at which point they will find ways to circumvent the law in reality while on the surface changing to stay within the law....like outside contractors handing reports with a "nudge nudge"....not unlike the CIA torture facilities.

This is one more example of why the system itself is broken. Government ruled by corporations and special interest groups will always ride rough-shot over everyone for a buck.

spam is so 90's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543745)

I haven't got a single spam since the late 90's. I don't mean that I have something filtering it out for me. I don't have any filters at all. A few simple precautions are all that's necessary to be spam free.

Spam is a 20th century problem.

and linux is still for fags (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543763)

like taking that cock up the ass fags? why don't you just get aids and die.

Re:and linux is still for fags (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543831)

I do indeed like taking a cock up my ass. Better still a dildo or a hand.

But I do play safe (condoms, gloves) and don't intend to die soon.

Get a better troll.

Re:and linux is still for fags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27544037)

shut up faggot.

Popular Domain? (1, Interesting)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543785)

Is your special purpose email address @ a popular domain name? I noticed that when I opened my Gmail account, I was getting unsolicited spam within a few hours, and I had not shared the email address with anyone at all.

My main email address is at a university's domain. I've used it for years and give it out on any half reputable site, but I get absolutely no spam on it. I know that my university uses blacklists and some heuristics to delete spam before they get to any inbox, but I've heard it only gets about a third of incoming spam.

So, does Gmail post any new email addresses in a sort of anonymous phone book, or was my user name easy to guess (I had used the same set of letters and numbers on very many sites before I got the Gmail account)? I don't know, but in my case, the popular domain seemed to bring spam.

This doesn't address the fact that it's main stream companies that you do business with that are spamming you. Have you used the user name of your special purpose anywhere else, or attached the email address with your personal identity in any way ever?

Re:Popular Domain? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27544123)

So, does Gmail post any new email addresses in a sort of anonymous phone book, or was my user name easy to guess (I had used the same set of letters and numbers on very many sites before I got the Gmail account)? I don't know, but in my case, the popular domain seemed to bring spam.

Err, sorry. I've been using pgn674@gmail.com as my fake email address for years whenever I buy viagra.

Re:Popular Domain? (1)

Fumus (1258966) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544147)

I have two GMail accounts. One has the same login as the one I used for my account on DeviantArt, and the second is just random gibberish. As one can guess, the first one gets ton of spam (though it's filtered, but I don't use webmail) and the second doesn't get any spam at all.

Email Append (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543841)

It's a service called an "email append", offered by the major credit reporting companies. The purchaser gives them a list of names and addresses, and the credit reporting company finds matches with email addresses. They send an opt-out mailing, and the email addresses of everyone who doesn't opt-out are returned to the purchaser.

Re:Email Append - BINGO! (4, Interesting)

TheOtherChimeraTwin (697085) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544263)

Yes, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Experian eMail Append [experian.com] overlays deliverable email addresses onto your active customer file and contacts customers via email on your behalf to obtain permission to communicate with them online.

By "permission" they mean they send you email until you complain. If they happen to pick an email address that is normally not read by a person, they don't get any complaints. (Not that I opt-out of spam; I block it.)

Further on, they state Retain your customers by keeping your brand top-of-mind through consistent, relevant and interactive email communications. Yeah, good luck with that. I know four companies that have just lost my repeat business.

Thanks to all for an excellent discussion.

An interesting change (2, Interesting)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543867)

In the UK, junk mail does subsidize the postal service, so although you can opt out, they plead with you not to, as it would increase the cost of normal post by quite a margin. How much of this is real and how much is just them desperate to hold onto an income from companies paying them to shovel shit through our letterboxes is open to question. I do accept it in principle though.

If that switched en-masse to email, those contracts would expire, meaning snail mail prices would increase. The Royal Mail don't have any way to transfer delivery from paper to email, so they couldn't recoup those loses. Since email is free, nobody would make any money from these mass email contracts.

On the other hand it would cut down on a LOT of wasted paper, which 99.99999999999999% people take from door to bin, bypassing the eyeballs, some people do recycle but not enough.

While email is great for most communications, snail mail is sometimes required so it can't be allowed to die. I doubt it would die if they lost the junk mail contracts.

For me, the worst offenders are the magazines and newspapers you have to pinch at the spine and shake over a bin before opening, to release all the leaflets stuffed inside. Is it not enough that for every 5 pages of a publication, 3 pages worth are adverts? If that's the state of the magazine industry, maybe it deserves to die too. The internet has already steamrolled over many business models, what's another one to add to the list?

Perhaps a solution would be a commercial / personal email distinction at an ISP level with a legal backing. Personal email is always free, commercial email costs say 1p per email. Charities / schools etc would be exempt from charge too. Make it something you have to declare with your ISP and legally stand by. Spammers using botnets wouldn't be affected since they operate illegally anyway, but it'd regulate the "normal" "legal" marketing companies. Make it a legally enforceable requirement to ONLY email people who have opted in, and fine them for ALL breaches.

Re:An interesting change (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544293)

Do you have Fedex in the UK? I assume so. The cheapest rate Fedex charges is a good indicator for how expensive paper mail could possibly get if everybody opted out of junk mail. How much mail do you send in a year? Would you seriously mind spending the extra money, if you knew that it was saving swaths of forest all over the world? Seems like a pretty cheap investment in the future, to me.

Also, chances are that if paper mail got that expensive, a lot of things people use it for now would go out of fashion, and be replaced with electronic mechanisms. Even more paper saved, even less dioxin in the rivers downstream from paper mills.

Re:An interesting change (1)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544359)

I'm not sure if we have Fedex in the UK, I don't think so. There are private delivery services apart from the Royal Mail but the issue is about entire country coverage. A large part of the Royal Mail costs are about rural areas where they lose money but have to cover as part of their charter. Large parts of Scotland, Ireland and Wales are rural, where a village can be 50 miles from anywhere and have 10 houses and a corner shop which doubles as lots of things. It still needs a postal and bus service.

The private options cherry pick which parts to compete with and leave the unprofitable parts alone. The same applies to bus services, where private competition avoids the rural areas like the plague as they are mostly running empty.

I agree though that if mail got too expensive, we would vastly reduce our dependency on it and find other electronic ways to do the same things.....for almost everything.

We live in a junk yard, and the dogs rule! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543903)

Junk mail (kills trees), spam (kills brain cells), and robo/spam phone calls (kills my sunny outlook)... I think its time that we, the geeks of the world, found out where these shitheads (the CEO's of the companies in question) live, what their email addresses are, and their phone numbers. Then we inundate them with junk mail by the ton, spam email by the drive full, and 3am robo phone calls. Turnabout is fair play.

As a postal worker, I'm okay with this (1)

Draconistarum (1184867) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543909)

I'd much rather just set something to a spam filter than deal with all the waste that junk mail creates. Damn presorted standard

Wierd connection in SPAM (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543965)

I have recently noticed spam coming in to an invalid email address in one of my domains. Since I was curious abut this, I redirected these emails to an actual mailbox. I was the first registrant of the domain that receives these (the TLD only became available 3-4 years ago), so the address has never been valid.

What is really odd about these emails is the the "To:" address (not the envelope address, but the To address listed in the header text of the email) is a valid email address in another of my domain names. Both domains have private whois data, so there is no connection that can be made through the whois information. The only public link between the two domains is the common mail server (highest priority MX record).

In summary, the emails have an envelope address which is an invalid address in one domain, but the header address is different and valid address in a second domain. Note that any address that is valid on one of my domains is valid in all of my domains. Curious, yes?

Egham is "spam capital" of UK (4, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544019)

Email filtering company MessageLabs reports that Egham, Surrey, on the suburban outskirts of London, is the town that receives the most spam in Britain [today.com] .

"It's not like there's much else to do," said Boris Busybody, 77 (IQ), of Egham Hythe, idly whirling his four-foot penis around his head in a desultory fashion. "Expanding your manhood, growing your breasts, increasing your sperm ... the Lib Dem phone calls get a bit much. That's Doctor Busybody, by the way. My Ph.D arrived last week."

Spam has revitalised the local economy. Mr Busybody has given up cab driving and is now working a lucrative job processing payments from home after he sent them his bank details in response to an urgent security message. "I had that King Otumfuo Opoku Ware II in the back of my cab once. Very generous and helpful fellow."

The Egham Tourist Board has seized the day, with plans for a 50 foot tall penis sculpture at Junction 13 of the M25 on the exit ramp to the town. The sculpture will be encircled by a genuine imitation Rolex and spray a fountain of Spermamax, obtained at a very reasonable rate from a Canadian pharmacy. "You will search an hour for your underwear in the ocean of our spam!" is to become the new town motto.

"I did get a good one the other day," says Busybody. "Barrister Matthew Sergeant Busybody of MessageLabs said we could promote our town to millions of people just by sending them an advance fee to process our incoming email. The stuff they try! 'Scuse me, V!k@grk@ kicking in, got to go have sex again. Sorry."

I caught an email database thief this way once (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27544041)

I also use crafted email addresses so that I know that any junk that comes to 'myname-netfilter' or 'myname-openvpn' for example, must have been harvested from these public lists. But I do this everwhere anytime I have a contact and put in an email address, the -extension tells me to whom I gave it.

So the story goes that one day I got junk mail from a company advertsing wireless products like antennas, wireless cards, cables, and the like. And when I look at the headers I see that it was sent to 'myname-someothercompany', that happened to be a contact who also sold wireless gear and so forth, and so it quickly became clear that this new company had taken the email contacts belonging to the other company, probably to seed their customer list. So I contacted my supplier and told them it looks like they were robbed, and yep, it turns out a recently fired employee and one who had went to work for this new company, had taken their email database (amoung other things). Although they denied it the evidence was simply overwhemling and in the end they paid up and that was that....

   

kdawson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27544045)

Dearest kdawson,

Please kill yourself.
Thanks in advance!

Love,

Mom

Pay-Per-Spam, anyone? (1)

scorpivs (1408651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27544357)

(Let us assume, for example, the sender uses software or a mass-email account with a company:)

Suppose an email Recipient receives ve$0.02 credit for every message reported as spam, debited against the Sender's account and payable to the Recipient's email account, in increments of ve$10;

Further suppose, the otherwise legitimate source of said software or mass-email account must by regulatory restrictions through CAN-SPAM register for the purposes suggested herein; and

(among other things,) pay the Recipient, as the Service is commercially benefiting, and/or restrict the Sender'(s) account - bear in mind, no one wants to set up or install commercial email routines every 100 messages while racking up $50 expenses, but it takes money to make money, and customer satisfaction...

Although the following is very much the clear and present reality, Heaven forbid even one person, objecting to spam, should receive the following notification-

"You have received a collect spam from [nobody]; do you accept the charge(s)?

Painfully, this indeed is what is currently going on, but to put it in those precise words, well, you get the idea.




What ever happened to the thing about, "...it takes money to make money..." anyhow? The internet gives only spam the right to negate that? Yeah, right... get a life, you lawbot.

And why, for goodness' sake, hasn't it been the case, all along.


Anything else is simply a case of WHOIS harrassment through a third party.



A no brainer, out-of-place, casts a lot of pennies the wrong direction, and were talkin' a lot of pennies, here.
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