Wednesday, January 17, 2007

10 ways to get rid of spam in your e-mail account

After writing this article last week, I got a lot of feedback, especially regarding the 10MinuteMail that I’ve presented. The feedback got me thinking that there are lots of alternatives to the one I’ve presented, so I started searching, and here’s what I found, regarding anti-spam accounts and services:


I’ve heard many people mention this website as being one of the best of its kind. I tried it, and found it has its ups and downs. What I liked was that you can choose your own address, an option that wasn’t available in 10minutemail, the other spam-mail service that I knew of. Another thing I liked was that you’re able to watch your e-mails through RSS. I chose, and carried on. To my surprise, I had 4 e-mails in my inbox. I was surprised, especially because I hadn’t registered for anything. Two of the messages were registration ones from Google, and the other two from some other .dk website. This is a serious downside, seing as many websites send the password in the confirmation e-mail, making those accounts very vulnerable. You can, however, get rid of this drawback by password-protecting your account (for a fee, of course). Cool service, but if you’re not going to password-protect the account, I won’t suggest registering important accounts through it.


This is another service I heard lots about. This made me try it out, and here’s what I found: when you open the website, you can notice a small auto-generated e-mail address on the right, and if you click it you can check your messages. Mailinator provides RSS support, such as dodgeit, but, seeing as though it randomly generates e-mail addresses, I think it’s almost impossible that you get the same account as somebody else. However, it IS possible (as the authors admit) to have your messages read by other people, the security level being practically 0. Apart from the randomly generated addresses, there is another way to get e-mail to an account: when an e-mail is received by an account, that account is created. Above the autogenerated address you can log into any account, and check the e-mails there. All in all, pretty good website, as far as spam mails go.


Bugmenot is not an actual e-mail service, but it works for the same purpose as those I’ve presented so far, but, unlike those websites, this is more of an online community. Let’s say you need a username for a certain website. Just go there, type in the website you need, and several usernames appear, usernames which are submitted by other users. It’s important to note that bugmenot only deals with websites that require a username to view content. For example, I tried searching for there, and the search returned nothing, because on digg you can view content without being registered (the same should go for reddit, but the search returned a few accounts). As a personal remark, I would add that the website may work for extremely lazy people, but I don’t agree with its way of dealing with blocked content. It’s, by far, easier to register an account yourself, rather than sharing one with nobody knows how many people. Still, the method seems to be working, and the websites that are affected seem to be having no problem with it.


I liked the layout of, but, to say the truth, that’s about it. The first thing that made me wonder about Spamex was their own ad:

Spamex works with everything (Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera PC, Mac, Unix, AOL, Earthlink, Juno, Hotmail, Yahoo mail, Eudora, Outlook, Outlook Express, Pegasas, and more…)

No mention of Firefox whatsoever. But that’s not the point, so let’s move on. The next thing I felt a small discomfort for was the price. It’s ot that it’s too high, not that the payment methods aren’t right, it’s just that it exists. I don’t like to spend money on useless things, or even things that are cool now, but tomorrow is uncertain. If you’re like me, you can understand my reaction. I think that the whole concept of paying for a spam-collector is wrong. I mean, there’s a bunch of free accounts out there, and if I want a large spam-account I’d use Hotmail, or even Yahoo! (whose spam filters have begun to let me down big time. Not only does spam get through and end up in my inbox, but the worse part is that normal e-mail (even ones sent from addresses) ends up in my Bulk folder, and since I don’t read the hundreds of spam per day, it gets deleted). After some thinking, I decided to forget the whole thing and go for a one-month trial. I registered (not with my real address, I’ll tell you why), and skipped the process of installing a toolbar in my browser (again, no Firefox support). Then, I was on my way creating an address. It can be Random, or Custom (where you can choose your own username and one of two domains - and Now to the part that bugged me: spamex tries to forward incoming mail to your real address. Er, I wonder why, because the whole purpose of the address is to have your account spam-free, and not filled with annoying buggy little messages. Bottom line, I wasn’t impressed with the service at all. I’d rather go with a sacrifice account through Yahoo!.


At a first sight, Spamgourmet also has something I don’t like - forwarding e-mails. After analyzing the website a bit, I found why it forwards e-mails: it’s not an actual anti-spam e-mail, that collects messages and disappears after a while. You can use this by entering the false e-mail provided by spamgourmet, and if you get too much spam just disable the account, and your real e-mail address is spam-free once again. Nice service, but I’d rather like one that didn’t have anything to do with my real address.


Pookmail is a nice service, that resembles dodgeit and mailinator by how it works. You just go to the website, choose an account (any one that you wish) and all there is left to do is check your messages. The only difference is that the e-mail address is available for 24 hours (more than enough for a temporary account, if you ask me).


Tempinbox is, yet again, very similar to other websites presented here, such as Pookmail, dodgeit, or mailinator. You go there, you choose an address, and wait for the e-mail to arrive. I searched through the FAQ, but there was no mention (that I could find) on the validity of an address, so I suppose it lasts forever.


Trashmail is a combination between spamgourmet and dodgeit. You can select the exact account you desire, the number of forwards received by your real e-mail address (which you have to provide), and the exact life span of the account (from 1 day up to 6 months). The e-mail address disables itself either after the number of forwards has been reached, or when its life span has ended. Cool service, worth giving it a shot.


2prong is an awesome site, as it has what other websites of the genre lack. Beside the usual options (random address, customizable address), 2prong has something that Mailinator, dodgeit, 10 minute mail and others need: it constantly changes domain names, in order to avoid getting banned by websites. This is a really ingenious finding, which I find to my liking.


Spam Motel is a cute website, yet another of the genre, and I didn’t really find anything new about it. The only novelty was that the messages that spammotel sends have a tag which you choose (Fwd:, Spam:, Urgent:, or a custom message). Not a big thing, not a bad thing. Bottom line, this website is like many others.

Well, these are all the alternatives to getting rid of spam that I found. Of course, you could create a back-up e-mail address (on Yahoo! or whatever) and get rid of the bother, but I think that these websites are more useful. Which one did you like best?


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