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 oliverf@online.microsoft.com 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...