I don’t want advertisers to track me down, either by address or email. Junk mail is junk whether the postal carrier brings it or it arrives in your email inbox as spam. What if an advertiser tracks you down to deliver it? Is it still spam or stalking?
Many online veterans use dummy email addresses to sign up for various offers here and there. Why? Despite good intentions, email lists get sold or “lost” and then “found” by unscrupulous spammers.
So, the email address you cherish is also cherished by those who would spam the red off a neck in Alabama.
For years I’ve had a few dummy email addresses that I’ve used to register in sales and marketing programs on a number of web sites. Invariably, those email addresses begin to be used for spam.
iVillage is one such culprit. The email address I gave them and their various sites for email newsletters was give only to register on their sites; they promised the email addres would not be sold or used by others.
They were wrong. After a few months I received a steady stream of spam on those exact email addresses. Either iVillage lied about their policy, or someone handling the email addresses made a few bucks on the side.
Here’s the story about Miller Beer from BoingBoing.
Reader Regina, like many of us, signed up for a Miller promo using a throwaway email address. That’s not uncommon. Once the promotion is over, the email address gets discarded.
In this case, Miller tracked Regina down like Columbo hunting the doer of bad deeds.
“I filled out a web form for a contest from Miller using a throwaway junk email address and then, months after I dumped the throwaway account, I got this to my main account! Not sure I like the idea of companies tracking me down like this.”
The “like this” that Regina refers to is another email message from Miller, saying, in effect, “We want you back.” Does this sound like professional stalking to you?
Regina, Miller Brewing Company is stalking you.
It’s one thing to have a company take your email address and spam you with it countless times and ways. It’s something totally different to start matching names and databases to track down another of your email addresses so you can get more spam.
Let me say it again. By Regina’s account, Miller Brewing Company is stalking her.
I see an opportunity for lawyers to gather. Of course, that’s just another form of stalking.