How many times have we all had to hand over our email address just to download something, sign up for once-off access to a particular website or fill in that online questionnaire etc. etc.? But every time you hand over your email address to someone else, even if you tick that little (or more often obscure) “I DO NOT wish to receive offers from you, your carefully selected partners or anybody else for that matter, thank you very much!” box, you are in danger of your email address leaking out into the web to be sold on for profit, resulting it those fantastic spam emails we all love, or even worse, personalised fishing emails sent by unsavoury parties who are after our hard-earned cash. But even if they’re not passed on, you can still be at the receiving end of unwanted promotional emails from the company you really only wanted to have that one contact with.
Spamavert.com is a great little service that can help you hang on to your email address to be used online only when absolutely necessary. Whenever an email address is required in an online form and you know you will not need to access any communications from the sender after 7 days (e.g. all you need is a registration key) or maybe don’t even need any communications from them at all, simply enter an email address in the format
firstname.lastname@example.org and later go to www.spamavert.com to collect your email if required. Your account will last for one day and there is not need for a password. It’s as simple as that!
As a web designer, I also make use of this service when I test online forms, distribution lists or user registrations, saving me from having to use multiple existing addresses and then needing to access a series of mailboxes in different locations to see the result..
Behind spamavert is a three-man company from Norway called Digital Creations AS. They tell us that “Spamavert was born out of annoyance at the amount of junk mail we received. A lot of the junk mail came from companies we at one point had a relationship with, even for something as tiny as downloading a piece of software. And we were annoyed at those companies, because there is no need for them to have our e-mail addresses.”
Please refer to the spamavert.com website for FAQ about the usage of the system.