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05/01/2004 Archived Entry: "Don't Bug Me, Don't Spam Me."
Posted by CKL @ 02:01 PM PST

"[Q:] What's this all about then?
[A:] BugMeNot.com was created as a mechanism to quickly bypass the login of web sites that require compulsory registration and/or the collection of personal/demographic information (such as the New York Times).
"[Q:] Why not just register?
[A:] * It's a breach of privacy.
* Sites don't have a great track record with the whole spam thing.
* It's contrary to the fundamental spirit of the net. Just ask Google.
* It's pointless due to the significant percentage of users who enter fake demographic details anyway.
* It's a waste of time.
* It's annoying as hell.
* Imagine if every site required registration to access content."
-- BugMeNot.com

"When the computer industry wakes up from its dream and realizes people do not want to give out all their personal information, perhaps they will finally come up with a better way to make friends with their customers instead of alienating the hell out of them."
-- Poynter Online

"Welcome to Mailinator(tm) - It[']s no signup, instant email. Here is how it works: You are on the web, at a party, or talking to your favorite insurance salesman. Whereever you are, someone (or some webpage) asks for your email. You know if you give it, you'll be on their spam list. On the other hand, you do want at least one message from that person. The answer is to give them a mailinator address. You don't need to sign-up. You just make it up on the spot. Pick jonesy@mailinator.com or bipster@mailinator.com - pick anything you want (up to 15 characters before the @ sign).
"Later, come to this site and check that account. Its that easy. Mailinator accounts are created when mail arrives for them. No signup, no personal information, and when you're done - you can walk away - an instant solution to one way spammers get your address. The emails will automatically be deleted for you after a few hours.
"Let'em spam."
-- Mailinator.com

Replies: 29 comments

Yeah, I'll admit I'm trolling the net for a gmail invite, but this is a cool idea that is popping up everywhere these days. Another good alternative is dodgeit.com. Any invites left?

Posted by mike @ 05/01/2004 02:51 PM PST

disclaimer is that i'm looking for a gmail invite, too, but here's a comment in any case..

I've used these services before but I don't really see the point in it since I've come to the conclusion that spam is inevitable and there's also the factor of not knowing which email address you signed up with a few months down the road, etc.

Posted by sunil @ 05/01/2004 03:42 PM PST

I happened across your `Hotsheet` during my search for alternatives in combating spam with Gmail and spam`s parasitic ways of infesting mankind`s web experience. I find it appalling that the average webmail service attempts to placate the pains associated with spam by adding another `inbox.` Let me correct that; they offer a `bulk mail` folder to appease users. In this case I am referring to Yahoo Mail. Yahoo Mail and others continue in futility, to make it easier for users to deal with spam, but it is all in vain. There are a couple of things that need to happen first before spam can sustain a road to erradication. One approach, already being realized, is law enforcement and the crackdown on illegals. Second and most important, the user of e-mail needs to take action; such as the Mailinator(tm) service mentioned above. I must say that taking initiative into one`s own hands seems to be the strong viable route to a spam-free web. The problems will only continue to grow should anti-spam movements be solely left in the hands of providers. It is time for users of e-mail to stand up and make the change themselves. The Great Clark once said, "you shall see no fruits from a bearing bush should you stand to blame for its parching." I hope for alls sake that Gmail is a source of sanity during these crazed spamming days. Yes, this is a ploy in my play for an invitation to the Gmail service. I have heard so much about Gmail`s ability to significantly reduce spam and how it makes the webmail experience more comprehensible. I do not mind waiting until the launch, but it would be nice to get a head start. Warm regards, Rich Chuckrey - Systems Engineer, CSC

Posted by Rich Chuckrey @ 05/01/2004 06:13 PM PST

I think I have tried all the services that Google offers and would also like to try out their new email and orkut, too. Google seems to know where they are going in the PC world. My daughters have asked me for advice on different things and I tell them to go search on Google. We generally find our answers to most anything there.

Posted by Sharon @ 05/01/2004 08:36 PM PST

I am not ashamed to say that I chanced upon your website just looking for gmail invites.. but have already found three cool new websites

1. bugmenot
2. dodgeit
3. Your blog !

And yeah... would still love to get an invite.

Cool Beans!
Vic

Posted by Vic @ 05/01/2004 10:07 PM PST

Mailblocks offers a variation on the Mailinator solution. They allow you to create disposable e-mail addresses by adding a few characters to the end of your main e-mail address (They're called trackers).

If you start getting spam on that address, you can remove the tracker, and you also know who divulged that e-mail address. I haven't used Mailblocks too much. I find their whitelist approach a bit cumbersome, but not all that bad. The sender receives an immediate response that has a link to verify they're a human.
Going to the link and typing in the human-readable code puts the message into their inbox.

I would love a GMail invitation if this qualifies as interesting.

P.S. I don't know of too many people who have played Fluxx. It's a great game. How did you hear about it?

Posted by dan @ 05/02/2004 12:20 AM PST

There is another interesting solution like mailinator, is called Spamday, you create a redirection valid during 24 hours.

http://www.spamday.com/?lang=en

Posted by Diego @ 05/02/2004 07:23 AM PST

Hey

The only reasonable solution to spam that I have encountered is the idea to make every client do a local computation and then send the email if the computation yielded the right result compared to the servers result then the email is sent, this would require spamers to have more computational power therfore making spaming more costly.Thats just my take on it.

P.S. I could really use a Gmail invite I would really appreciate it since my hotmail account is really getting on my nerves with almost no storage and also its yet another microsoft take over. Please .....

Thanks

Ivan

Posted by Ivan Gonzalez @ 05/02/2004 10:25 AM PST

BugMeNot looks interesting, and they make some good arguments. However, I haven't made up my mind personally on using them. I do think that sites that make valuable information available, should be able to ask for something (like information) in return. Then one can freely decide if it is worth giving such a price to get what they offer. But then again, until you have passed the gateway, you really don't know if the information they are providing if worth anything. Plus many of the registrations are a real time consuming pain to fill out--particularly when you have to dig through a mountain of legalese, to try to figure out what they are going to do with your personal information.

I had never heard about anything quite like Mailinator before. An interesting concept, but a limited use. I do already use another type of service that lets me make up addresses on the fly ( spamgourmet.com). They forward email to you, and part of the address you make up actually specifies how many emails they should pass through (1-20) before cutting off that variation of your address.

(And yes, I would love to get a gmail invite :)

Posted by Mark @ 05/02/2004 02:51 PM PST

The problem I see with these services is that they dilute the value of email. Basically, you use an email address to get something (say, an amazon.com account) and then forget about it. Then amazon.com sends you an important message about a delay for an order, and you don't get it unless you check this "throwaway" account (but why would you, if you have tens or hundreds). The reason most websites (those with good intentions) ask for an email address is for your convienience - so that they can send you important updates about your orders (ecommerce sites), let you recover your password (slashdot), or various other important reasons for communications. When people blindly toss services these trash email addresses, the system of communication breaks down. Your email address no longer represents you.

It would be like putting down a random neighbor's address on a credit card application, checking their mail until your credit card arrived, and then forgetting about it. Of course, when the credit card company sends you several overdue notices and threats of reposetion, you wouldn't get them.

Well, that's that. I think that every person should stick with a single email account that truely identifies them, so that communication on the web doesn't break down. Oh and you'll love this subtle connection: GMail allows you to do just this - you never need more than one account, because you have enough space, continualling improving spam filtering, etc. When people stop changing email addresses and using this throwaway accounts, we will also be able to build up a web of trust (truste.com offers this for free in fact) and leave untrusted identities shouting (spamming) at a wall.

(oh, yeah, and please count me in for a gmail account =)

Posted by Wendy Hill @ 05/02/2004 09:54 PM PST

Spamming is not all bad. Some people actually enjoy receiving emails, any emails. This is similar to people checking their (snail) mail box and getting disappointed at the fact that they didn't receive any mail, not even bills. For so reason, I have no idea what psychologist would call it, some people associate some degree of self-worth with receiving any email/mail. I for one think that any anti spamming option needs to give the user the option of turning it off/on.

Anyhow, hope this is interesting enough for you to send me an invite to gmail. Thanks.

Posted by ducknewbie @ 05/02/2004 10:59 PM PST

Interesting Comment/Fold Lore:

Avoid people who talk to themselves. According to Ukrainian legend, that could indicate a dual soul and the second one doesn't die! Also watch out for the seventh son of a seventh son, a person born with a red caul (amniotic membrane covering the head), or a child born with teeth. A vampire can result if a cat or dog walks over a fresh grave, a bat flies over the corpse, or the person has died suddenly as a result of suicide or murder. Unfinished business can also cause a body to rise, as can inadequate burial rites, including a grave that is too shallow.

Would love a GMAIL invite.

Posted by Gareth @ 05/02/2004 11:56 PM PST

haiku ode to gmail-

A hunger for bytes
my firstborn son named "Google"
daughters named Brin and Page.

Posted by Moe @ 05/03/2004 07:58 AM PST

Here is the story of my life, I have nothing do do because I am living with my brother, away from my wife and son, and I collect information on how to save my marriage that I destroyed myself. 1 gb storage online woulf help me out a lot, since I can only use my brothers computer sometimes, and then the one at work, and I do not wish to go to survvivinginfidelity.com and aftertheaffair.net from work. But if I save the stuff and e-mail it to myself, I can work on things at work too.

The interesting story.

My wife and I, of 5 years, were going through some trying times. I decided to tdo the wonderful thing, of having an affair so I could feel loved again. WOW WHAT A GREAT IDEA.
That was sarcasim.

Just when you think your rrelationship is on the rocks, toss in an affair. Man this was the biggest mistake I have ever made. And it is NO way for you to in any way FIX any problem. Period.

The affair lasted a few months, and actually ended at the moment her and I had intercourse. (One fact of the affair my wife does not believe) The second I went into her, it was not the same feeling I had with my wife. I was subbing her for my wife, and at that time, I realized what I had done. And was a basket case from that point on.

I broke it off, and did everything I could to make my now suspecting wife think SHE was out of her mind. The other woman was a cowarker/friend, and was married too. I have a 2 year old with my wife, and the other has a kid too.

Anyway, after months of lying, the truth came out at the end of december. I just wanted it to go away. I was sorry and wanted it gone. The look on her face when I told her, was a look I never wanted to see. I hurt her soooo bad. It killed me.

Not only that, I have no idea what I was thinking, I tore up MY family, and both of our extended families, estranged friends. She asked me what I was thinking, I told her I simply wasn't. I never thought of the ramifications of my actions.

We have been seperated since the end of december. I am living with my brother, and my wife and son are in our house. I am doing everything to show her I am not the same person I was, selfish ass that I was. I am still paying for everything, helping her with whatever she wants, and am getting counceling to see what went wrong with me. Being away from her this long is killing me.

I do not blame her. I blame me. I am tourchered by this everyday. Its all I think about, and I am dying to work this out.

What do I do? How do I convey to her how sorry I am. I see some of you here are pretty rough on the "cheaters" and thats fine, I can take it. You are not going to say anything about me that I don't already think. She thinks I am still lying, about it only being one time, about me not loving the other woman, and planning to leave my wife for her. Which were never my intentions/feelings. How do you fix a marriage that is this messed up? It is the right thing to do, and I know that if she gave me a chance, I would make her the happiest woman in the world. She would all but forget about it, with all the love I plan on showing her. I have learned my lession.

Posted by Doug @ 05/03/2004 09:16 AM PST

Maybe you are a fellow codemonkey like me, heres a link to waste some of your precious time, enjoy ;)

http://scifi.pages.at/hackits/

(I've only been able to get up to level 10)

If you have any gmail invites i'd love to have one sprinkled on me. Toodles

Posted by jorge @ 05/03/2004 09:56 AM PST

What a wicked way we weave! Yikes, "privacy" will be the issue for the next 50 years. For those of us over 45, we remember "typing classes" and notes to girlfriends. The changes to social morals will be amazing to see as I age (and become my parents - who won't even leave a message on my anwering machine)!

Gmail invite, please!

Posted by rumpole @ 05/03/2004 10:45 AM PST

Its your attitude
not your aptitude
that determines your altitude.

If you liked it then plz send me a gmail invite please.

Posted by David @ 05/03/2004 06:53 PM PST

The sad thing is, there will always be spam of some sort or another. Where the solution will come from will not be the law (CAN-SPAM) or services like these, but artificial intelligence. Bayes algorithm is a general algorithm that has turned out to be excellent at classifying text documents. Bayesian filters in products like Mozilla Thunderbird (mozilla.org) and POPMail (http://sourceforge.net/projects/popmail/) learn what spam is and then filter it out based on what the user considers spam. From what I've read Gmail also uses an implentation of Bayes algorithm. It's kind of funny that one of the biggest problems of our day is currently best being solved by an algorithm devised over 200 years ago. For those who want more, NASA has an Automated Learning Group (previously known as the Bayes Group) which has some stuff on data analysis with Bayes and other classification algorithms, and as a bonus has a cool clickable atlas of Mars! (http://ic.arc.nasa.gov/ic/projects/bayes-group/). Also, "Machine Learning" by Tom Mitchell has a good intro to learning algorithms. --Michael Butt

Posted by Michael Butt @ 05/04/2004 06:06 AM PST

Hi

Im a student at Carnegie Mellon and yes Bayes nets are good and all but after taking Artificial Intellegence here I can tell you that its not as great as it seems.
To solve spam is going to require more than just filters but rather some type of restriction on sending messages that does not harm the common user. Any Gmail invites left?

Thanks

Ivan

Posted by Ivan @ 05/04/2004 08:17 AM PST

I'm also not into the spam thing. I hope that someone comes up with a very strong spam filter. For instance, I have cox.net for email right now and if I don't check my email at least 4X a day. I will have around 100 emails. Only 10 would be something I would even consider looking at.
I like the idea of gmail and the whole storage bit. I think this would help with all the problems we have trying to send email to each other. My inbox is constantly full due to junk email I receive. I think the 1gb storage would help many of us out there who are constantly also sending attachments.

Posted by ariel balaguer @ 05/04/2004 08:47 AM PST

Forgot to mention, I am also looking for an invite to gmail if you have any left.

Thanks

Posted by ariel balaguer @ 05/04/2004 08:48 AM PST

There was an article on slashdot a while back about a spammer, Alan Ralsky, who was complaining that CAN-SPAM would cost him $3000 or so. Well some enterprising individuals got the home address to his $700,000+ estate and signed him up for every piece of junk snail mail out there. If that happened more often to these spammers maybe services like these wouldn't be necessary in the first place.

With regards to providing personal info to websites, I agree with washingtonmonthly.com (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/mt/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=3802) and what the people are saying there about not providing personal info to websites. It is an unnecessary invasion of privacy most if not all of the time. The NY Times doesn't need my household income to tell me what's going on in the world.

Please let this qualify for one of the remaining coveted invites!
--mike butt

Posted by mike @ 05/04/2004 12:47 PM PST

Hmmm...what is interesting? The fact that hotmail is 'down' every so often. That I am in RedZone every day. That I get emails bounced if I ever go on vacation since storage is full, so have to log on in the hotel lobby to delete junk. And wait for that person emailing their mom, dad, sister, brother, aunt, uncle and 100 friends just so I can log in to Junk Mail, select Empty Folder, and walk away. And, I am a constant seracher of email due to my disorganization - so this is perfect for the disorganized organized individual....

That's my plug for this email service....

Anu

Posted by AK @ 05/04/2004 01:23 PM PST

The server is too busy
I don't know what to do
My e-mail is important
I don't know bout you

Now I can log in
A message from the staff
My junk mail filled my inbox
I can only laugh

Gmail, save me Gmail
"Google" is the way
I will leave you hotmail
Cuz Google saved the day

Mark

Any more Gmail invites? Please :)

Posted by MD @ 05/04/2004 01:59 PM PST

So, you want an interesting comment... how about interesting picture? See my Yafro web page and if I get a Gmail invitation, I'll let you see my Gspot!

Posted by Mindy @ 05/04/2004 03:35 PM PST

Mailinator seems like an awesome concept, I'd have never thought of it, but I could see how it might be very useful.

I have an overflowing hotmail account, and can't wait until I get a chance to start using a Gmail account.

It's nice how you tempt us with the thought of an invite, something that's still a little out of reach.

But even in a dictionary 'interesting' has a broad and subjective definition. If I don't come out of this with a Gmail account, I'd at least know I've stumbled upon a very interesting blog.

Eat. Sleep. Google.
Thanks for your time!

Posted by Alex @ 05/04/2004 05:48 PM PST

I never had heard of BugMeNot.com before I read this. As others do, I think it is an interesting idea to be able to grab login information for "sign in" sites. When signing up for news sites, just to read the article, such the way the NY Times Online operates, I find it a bit annoying and tedious, but I prowl through the sign up page anyways. To tell you the truth, I do not think I'll use bugmenot.com. I'd bet the time it takes you to go there and find a fake login is around the same time it takes to fake your own account. Why fake your own when everyone can use one phony one? Well, regardless of the user information, since it is false either way, is the fact that the website would probably prefer you to create your own account for security and user statistics purposes.

It would be interesting to see how much false information is poured out in sign up web pages. I tried look for data, but I came up dry. Anyways, I don't think the popularity of constant "sign ups" will go away. If anything, it will get more complex as webmasters will want to be able to verify user information in order to gain more accurate statistics or to even make money. I also wouldn't be surprised if we started seeing more legal contracts stating that user information provided must be lawfully correct. Creating services like BugMeNot.com and Mailinator.com don't fix this problem. Instead, they feed from it and use it to gain their own popularity and use.

That’s my take on the issue. It was interesting reading everyone’s comments as well.

I did indeed come here originally trying to come across a gmail account. Whether it proves successful or not, this blog’s happenings gave me a good read and a slight chuckle.

Cheers!

Posted by Ken @ 05/04/2004 11:22 PM PST

Google is clean and simple
No one else compares
All others are spam and popups
GMail is the only one who cares

- Adam

Posted by Adam @ 05/05/2004 08:19 AM PST

Posted by @ 00/00/ 00:00 PST

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