Tuesday, January 23, 2007

This e-mail address will self destruct in ten minutes

I've had one of my e-mail addresses for almost ten years, but there appears to be a demand for email addresses that'll only last ten minutes.

Enter 10 Minute Mail.

Have you ever signed up for a service that required a "validation address", though they promised they'd never use it to send you junk? Woe betide the person who uses their most favourite, ten-year address for such a purpose. Use one that'll only last long enough to suit the purpose. From the site:

Welcome to 10 Minute Mail.

By clicking on the link below, you will be given a temporary e-mail address. Any e-mails sent to that address will show up automatically on the web page. You can read them, click on links, and even reply to them. The e-mail address will expire after 10 minutes.

Why would you use this? Maybe you want to sign up for a site which requires that you provide an e-mail address to send a validation e-mail to. And maybe you don't want to give up your real e-mail address and end up on a bunch of spam lists. This is nice and disposable. And it's free. Enjoy!

Get my 10 Minute Mail e-mail address.

When I launched 10minutemail.com, tons of forum admins decried the idea. They screamed that it would let spammers on to their forums, and that they wouldn't sell e-mail lists to spammers, etc...

A month goes by, and let's see what we have. My server used to get around 200-300 e-mail a day. In the past week it averaged 20,000-30,000 e-mail a day. Virtually all of those were to old (expired) 10minutemail.com accounts. Presumably virtually all spam.

30,000 a day!? This proves that the average person simply CAN'T trust a random site or forum with their real e-mail address. Are there some forums/sites that are trustworthy? Sure! Does the average net user have any ability to tell with certainty if a given site or forum will sell their e-mail address or spam them direction? Unfortunately not.

This drives home the importance of the service.

In order to save my server from the crushing spam, I've swapped out the e-mail domain to fificorp.com, and then fificorp.net, and will continue to swap out the e-mail domain on a regular basis. This will serve two purposes. One, it will save my server from dying under the flood of spam. Two, it will keep admins who block registrations by domain on their toes at least once a month.

One important thing to note ... In some cases you may want an address that lasts longer. For example, if you forget your password to a service, they'll often e-mail it to the address on file. With 10minutemail, you're outta luck. For those sites where longevity may matter, try the Fake Name Generator. They'll supply an e-mail address that you can read as long as you bookmark it.

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