Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Domain spam

Domain related junk mail
(Picture by Matt Haughey, hosted by Flickr, CC by-nc-sa licensed)

This is what happens when you list a real address on your domain’s WHOIS record. Especially when it’s a long-established and popular domain like metafilter.com.

Thankfully, Nominet, the non-profit organisation who operates publicly-registered domain names, lets domain owners opt out of providing contact details, provided they are individuals (businesses still have to divulge their addresses). This is what I have done with this and my other domains, and is the main reason why I prefer to use .uk domains instead of generic international domains. If someone was desperate to contact me then simply visiting the web site would allow them to find my email address and any legal matters can be pursued via my host who is listed on the record.

It’s no surprise that Domain Privacy services are popular – I’m sure many that use these services actually have ‘nothing to hide’, as it were, but just don’t want to get bombarded with junk mail.

(It’s interesting to note that one of the letters in Matt Haughey’s junk pile is from Capital One who send us lots of junk mail addressed ‘To the householder’. This is precisely why I will never apply for a Capital One card)

On a related note, a couple of changes to my email mean that I should be getting less spam now. My old student email address has now been de-activated as I’m no longer a student, and I’ve finally closed an email alias that I was using a few years ago in the RSS feeds for this site. RSS 2.0 annoyingly requires an email address when listing the author of an item and so I set up a special alias for this – I’m not using RSS anymore (we’re Atom Enabled, baby!) so I’ve closed the alias since it’s not being used for anything useful.

4 Comments

  1. It’s true that when a domain appears, the scummy marketer’s go headlong into sending out promotions and such.
    This happens for more than just web domains. Neil hit it on the head that they also hit home owners when they buy a house and new car owners after buying a new car.
    Basically, any public info will get hit by marketing slugs when they get a chance.
    I have found out recently that there are even slimy marketing slugs scanning job searching sites like Monster.com. When they see a new entry, they will hit you with tons of spam and probably normal mail (assuming they pull up the resumé and check out the address).

  2. To make junk mail more expensive for them, post back the reply-paid envelope.
    Mark..

  3. Mark, heh, yep, I do that all the time.
    My favoriate is the packet’s of about 100 postcard sized ads in the plastic bag send out. I just open the bag and drop the cards back into a post box.

  4. Yep, I remember when I figured out the “don’t use your real address” thing. It was indeed back in the late 90s…I forget what domain it was for. I had a P.O. Box registered at the time for personal reasons, and I put it down for a domain. Voila, junk mail!