Leaking Like A Sieve

Submitting your email ID to websites has long been the surest way of getting spammed. Unfortunately, it is also key information for most web transactions so we have to hedge our bets.

Most organisations in USA are respectful of your personal data and do not share it others (at-least the ones that have read the various CANSPAM act provisions), while the organisations in India believe in their birth-right to purchase a CD containing a million email IDs for 5000/- bucks and then spam the hell out of everyone. 

To track which organisations typically pass your email ID around, I always submit a non-existent ID and my domain has a Catch-All ID to catch replies. For example, I might use the ID [email protected] on the KFC website (the ID [email protected] does not actually exist) and any replies to [email protected] are automatically redirected to the Catch-All email Id on rajib.com (I use Google Apps for Domains to provide email services on my domain, most web-hosting providers also let you setup catch-all IDs).

Now if KFC were guilty of passing the email ID I gave to them, soon enough I will start getting Viagra emails sent-to [email protected] and the Cat would be out of the bag.

Here’s a list of some email IDs on which I receive spam:

As Rajnikant would say, “Mind It”.


2 responses to “Leaking Like A Sieve”

  1. Rajib — thank you for bringing this to our notice. Could you email me with some details on what spam you received because of us?

    We share your email address with the concerned airline/hotel/railways only if you have made a booking with us, so we would like to see where this problem is coming from.

    Thanks for your help. And we hate spam as much as you do, if not more…

    • Dear Hrush,

      I am assuming that you are officiating on behalf of ClearTrip in this matter.

      1) The email-ID I used on ClearTrip was passed on to partner companies by ClearTrip. As a result, I am receiving promo emails from Kingfisher. Quite possibly, on a similar note, Airtel passed on my email ID to Kingfisher too. As a result, I am receiving the promo email twice. Since Kingfisher itself is also emailing me, I am in receipt of the promo email thrice. At the end of the day, I receive the same promo email 31 times. Annoying to say the least and denigrating for the organisations that do it.

      2) Without any mal-intent, ClearTrip has passed my email ID to Kingfisher. What is the guarantee that the email ID will not be further passed on from Kingfisher (intentionally or un-intentionally) and I receive even more promo emails? In one case (ColorLovers.com), my email ID was stolen from their database and now I receive a daily barrage of emails enticing me to purchase a mail-order bride and the chemicals that might help me keep my mail-order bride from moving on to a younger man.

      3) Whether ClearTrip likes it or not, whether there is some fine-print or not, users of ClearTrip expect the email ID submitted to ClearTrip to remain within it’s confines. 12 years back, I would have welcomed spam (since it would be the only email I received) but today my email-ID is also my digital-id; hence I expect it to be kept confidential and not passed around.

      What I really appreciate is that ClearTrip has taken the onus of contacting me and hearing me out. Perhaps there will be changes at ClearTrip w.r.t. this issue, perhaps there will be not. Proactive customer interaction is expected from the new-generation of companies in India and deeply appreciated.

      Now if only the customer-blind companies like Air*** take notice. (wishful thinking).

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