Since the PDC I've been monitoring newsgroups. So, I diligently followed our internal
guidelines for setting up and posting to newsgroups. That includes stuff like a legal
disclaimer that I don't really know what I'm doing and that even if I did Microsoft
would deny all knowledge of my existence. It also included a suggestion to use my
real email alias (oliverf) but to modify the domain to something like online.microsoft.com.
A human can figure out what my real email address is (get rid of the red "online."),
but a spam scraper won't.
I wish I'd followed that advice. I posted a reply to a question with my real email
address in the reply-to field. I assume I was thinking, you know, I don't get any
spam right now. Maybe some of it would actually be useful to me. Who knows what fabulous
products I'm missing out on? And, wouldn't it be convenient if Microsoft just mailed
me security updates right to my inbox as attachments?
Within about 3 hours of that post, I started to get spam. I used to get spam to my
university email address but I think that was before spam really took off. It wasn't
that big an issue. For whatever reason, my Microsoft email address didn't ever get
spam. Spammers don't seem to target us for their random alias generation tools, or
maybe they haven't got to the letter 'o' yet.
I changed my Outlook Express settings to firstname.lastname@example.org
for subsequent posts, but that whole barn door thing comes to mind... I guess I'm
now just sharing the pain that most people go through. Maybe Microsoft will let me
change my alias...