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WARNING! Fodors.com exposes your e-mail address to spammers.

WARNING! Fodors.com exposes your e-mail address to spammers.

Old Jan 12th, 2005, 09:57 AM
  #21  
 
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If you are worried about spammers but wish to post your address, change the @ to at, so that the address reads mynameatserver.com instead of [email protected]. Or have the spammers learned to translate at to @?
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 10:03 AM
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I just googled my address, which I had inadvertently used in Chowhound. It comes up. So Fodors is not the problem.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 10:14 AM
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I'm missing something because I understand the annoyance but not the outrage. If I allow my phone number to be published in the directory I'm more likely to receive telephone solicitations; if I display my email address with my name here I'm more likely to get spam. Seems logical to me.
I provide my yahoo account address when I invite people to ask me for travel files, but my yahoo filter seems to send most of the annoying or worthless spams (miracle cures for medical problems I don't have, etc) in my 'bulk' folder. My address also gets displayed occasionally on other message boards, which are of course also public.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 10:31 AM
  #24  
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You have to differentiate between simply publishing an address and publishing it in a way that it can be harvested by a web crawler.

In the first case, it's harmless, because spammers don't have legions of worker bees manually searching web pages for addresses.

But publishing an address on a page that can be found by a robot program scanning the whole site is unconscionable. See, if I have a site with two pages, such as

http://www.mysite.com/index.html
http://www.mysite.com/data.html

the data.html page can only be accessed by a web spider if it's referenced in a HREF tag in the index.html page. If that link isn't there, the data page can still be accessed - but not by harvesters, because they don't know it exists.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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Got it, fodors is displaying the addresses in a way that assists spammers.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 10:51 AM
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I'm confused by the whole discussion still. Is R. saying that there's a way for Fodors to publish a poster's e-mail address without making it also available to the spammers?

Anyway, Fodors offers each poster a choice as to whether the e-mail should be displayed. So if the poster forgets to exercise this option or doesn't care, why is this Fodors's fault?

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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 10:55 AM
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I have my email posted and I have not received one piece of junk mail.

If you don't want you regular mailbox to be exposed, then make up another on Hotmail or Yahoo like i did.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 11:43 AM
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Well, rich you've got 486 hits, so I'd say it's only a matter of time...

It would take too long to explain why what I'm saying is true to someone who doesn't know how the Web works. I will be glad to elaborate for the benefit of anyone who does.

Short version: posting your address on a web page involves infinitesimal risk that it will be harvested if the page isn't linked to. If the page IS linked to, the probability approaches certainty.

Ergo, webmasters shouldn't link such pages.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 11:54 AM
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One thing that I've always thought is interesting (or frightening, depending on your point of view) -- Fodors usernames can be typed into Google and links will show up this way.

So 111op has hits. Ditto cigalechanta, richardab. So there's something to be said about taking someone else's name or using a completely prosaic moniker.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 12:06 PM
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That's not the scariest part. About 50% of Americans have either a credit card or social security number on the web. Try googling yours, just for the fun* of it.

*This is a unique definition of "fun."
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 12:09 PM
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That's true. Sometimes I wonder why I even worry anymore.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 12:18 PM
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My social security number returns zero hits on Google I don't get any spam on my indytravel e-mail address. Even my telephone number on google only returns one hit and it's not me.

I must lead a charmed life.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 12:25 PM
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My SSN actually returned one hit. But I can't tell whether the website is legit. The name looked strange -- a string of numbers, then some letters.

I thought about going there but then thought that I'd better not. I thought about asking R., but then, I think that ignorance is probably bliss in this case.

Google already does a reverse search for phone numbers, so I'm surprised this didn't happen for indytravel. If you're listed, then your number will bring your name up. It's pretty well known. In fact, there's even a link to mapquest or an equivalent that tells your secret admirer how (s)he can visit your apartment or house to say a quick hello.

This does not yet work for cell phones (it seems).
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 12:39 PM
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indy, you said above that your mailbox is screened. So you wouldn't see much/any spam, would you?

I have two problems with that: first of all, it wouldn't be necessary if all webmasters were diligent, and second, it doesn't eliminate the wasted bandwidth consumed by spamming.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 12:47 PM
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"So there's something to be said about taking someone else's name ..."

Especially if it's someone who died in the 15th century.

Anselm Adorne, 1424-1483
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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I don't know this person -- tell me/us more.

(Well, Google is possible, but why bother?)
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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Robe I did say my e-mail was screened. I also said I checked my screened mail slot and it was empty. I double checked my at&t account because I thought it only held screened mail for 10 days.

I was wrong. It holds screened mail for 30 days. That means my indytravel address hasn't received any spam whatsoever in the last 30 days.

I'm going to chalk it up to good, clean living.

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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 12:56 PM
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Maybe spammers don't waste time sending to servers they know are going to eat their messages. That's what I'd do if I were in the biz.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 01:00 PM
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Your e-mail can be googled ONLY IF YOU POST IT HERE. When I signed up with Fodor's using one address, and later changed to another I haven't noticed any increase in spam.

Do you have a filter in your e-mails? I use Hotmail so only e-mails from the known addresses (per my address book) can get to me, everything else goes into junk mail box.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 01:17 PM
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After googling a local restaurant here one day and being startled by the second hit saying "Fodorite Patrick says . . ", I realized how often Fodor's posts do appear in the google hits. I stopped using my email address regularly here, but I never really had any spam from it when I used it -- except for one guy a few years ago trying to sell photos -- remember him, old-timers?

My worst problem has been in a bit of boredom one day I answered one of those emails where you get a $25 gift certificate just for doing an online survey -- right! At the end you have to sign up for some things to get that gift certificate. Anyway, just for fun I entered my name on that survey as Patrich (note the spelling), but foolishly used my main email address. That was about 4 months ago and I now get about 10 spam emails a day all addressed to Patrich. Most are for drugs, mortgages, and dating services. What's more the spam filter doesn't filter any of these out, and clicking block sender doesn't do a thing, since every one, although the same,comes from a different sender. What appears on my email is usually something like "From Susan H. -- Your reservations. . ." and invariably I have a feeling it's something real, until I open it and see the dreaded Patrich.
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