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Advice about
Choosing your e-mail address
as part of a method to cut-down the amount of spam that comes in!


This page describes in-depth a method by which you can substantially reduce the amount of spam that arrives and also eliminate most scam messages, database compromising, and a few other problems. It's worth reading this, patiently, as the method is worthwhile on account of the fact that it works!

When buying a physical property (real estate) the location and quality of the buildings and land are most important, and the address is a lesser consideration even if you have to spell it carefully to people. With an email address it's different, because it doesn't depend much on where you live. You can make an independent free choice of e-mail address.

As you've got a choice of email address, it's a good idea to put some thought into making a good choice. It's like choosing your web address. That's where this useful page of advice comes in handy!

* The first thing is: Don't use your name as the first part of the address. If you do, then spam senders will be able to send you personalised junkmail. "Dear john smith, you have been chosen to receive a free etc". No thanks! This is also explained as part of the guide to good email practice

* Many people having e-mail for the first time are tempted by one of the many Internet Service Providers offering free email. That's all very well except for a few snags, which are as follows:

* You can avoid a huge amount of the trouble by getting your own domain name. This is inexpensive if you choose it, and then you have some notable advantages. First, see how to choose a domain name, and where to get your own domain name. You have to be careful who to trust with this. 123-reg is a good choice and is reliable. In addition to the obvious advantage you have by having your own domain name, that of being able to have your own website, there are various e-mail advantages as follows:

* Typical costs: For having as many e-mail addresses as you like of the form of: anythingyoulike@yourownsitename.org.uk or .co.uk it's about 6.73 GBP per two years. If you'd rather be .net than .co.uk then it's 21.13 GBP per two years (these prices were correct at the time of publishing and may have changed at 123 Reg, but you can look this up and find out). It's a bit more expensive if you'd like to be .TV , but it has a certain style! If you want total control over specific address which you allow or disallow (rather than infinite e-mail), a proper hosting at Vivostar can solve that too. It comes as part of the hosting, which is what you have primarily to have your own website

A non-zero cost, admittedly, but for the choice of e-mail addresses and the level of control, surely well worthwhile. Anyway, have you wondered how much you paid to get your own phone number?

In terms of the actual choice, there are two things to decide on: What goes after the @ , and what goes before the @. The part after the @ is your domain name, and that's something you've got to get right and stick to. For advice on that, see choosing your domain name. That just about covers it and explains it well. Next, the different part before the @. You can have multiple addresses, as many as you like, but:

What I have done here at zyra.org.uk is to set up an e-mail allocation table and to invent a variety of e-mail addresses to precede the domain name. For business purposes I allocated a set of short letter sequence codes, a different one for each company I had dealings with. I then kept a file offline with the look-up table in. In the early days I just remembered all of the addresses myself, but later I kept the e-mail list as a table in an offline file. As every company had a different address to write to me with, I knew from whence each message came, and whose company e-mail lists had been compromised.

This idea of having your own domain and then creating a different address AT that domain for each company/organisation you have dealings with, is really good. It works, and is effective against a wide variety of attacks including viral, fraud, spam, and other scammish stuff. As the villains who send bad emails often assume you have just the one email address, they are especially easy to catch out if you have this multiple email address system. Here's an example to show what this is like:

Suppose you are Fred's Kangaroo Stuffing Emporium, it's no good having an email like fred@yahoo.com or kangaroo@aol.com . Instead, if you have your own domain you could have your own website AND a set of email addresses as follows:

Associate Company/contact

email address

Friendly Freezer Company

ffc@freds-kangaroo-stuffing.net

Taxidermy Weekly News

twn@freds-kangaroo-stuffing.net

Epoxy Resin Company

epox@freds-kangaroo-stuffing.net

[our own newsletter sender account]

newslet@freds-kangaroo-stuffing.net

Transshipments Unlimited

trans@freds-kangaroo-stuffing.net

[secret address]

quiet@freds-kangaroo-stuffing.net

By allocating a newly made-up address to each of your suppliers/associates, you can tell where genuine email is coming from, and if any of the contacts get compromised, you can write to the contact in question and let them know. Here at Zyra's site, Share Results affiliate marketing were very keen to hear when their list was compromised. TradeDoubler were interested when it happened to them, but it turned out to have been a virus. Honest companies like these are sometimes victim to a viral attack or a mole and then you tell them. Also, in cases where you might suspect the company of cynically redistributing the email list to rogues, you know about it, and they don't know that you know. I could name a few companies who have done this, but let's use discretion and not mention them on this page. However I will say that in the case of I Need Hits, the unique address I supplied to them ended up on other people's lists to such an extent that a huge amount of email arrived, and some of it was not ordinary spam, but Nigeria Scams. Quite amusing really to see half a dozen scam messages arriving in one day, and this has now inspired the idea for having a sacrificial email address! That is, a special email address you make up and distribute in order to receive as much spam as possible so you can spot the latest scams and be wise to them! In the above example, Fred's Kangaroo Stuffing business could say in plain view on the site "don't write to fubar@freds-kangaroo-stuffing.net as the address is only for scams and spams!". At the receive end, all mail to that address is diverted to a special dustbin which is inspected every now and then to examine what scams are afoot! More about this at the page about the sacrificial email address

However, for email addresses which you don't want to be compromised by SPAM, see how to hide your e-mail address so spam harvesters can't easily get hold of it!

Special cases:


Note: None of the email addresses on this page are genuine. They are all made up. Any spambot harvester snaffling them will not be doing itself any favours. Genuine people wishing to write to this site, please use the contact address and then please be patient as it takes a while to reply.