Essentials:

Spam just got easier to fight!

I recently came across two website email services that are noteworthy. I think if you ponder the use of them you will think they are noteworthy also and possibly worth making a favorite.

They are of course related to spam, the email not the food, and we all hate spam.

I often find myself at some web site or some place in the real world where I am asked to give my email address followed by a promise to never be contacted by email. Then why do you want my email?

So, rather than get into a conversation about the spammer community I’d like to show you two sites and discuss what each has to offer.

The sites are:
http://www.mailinator.com
http://www.mytrashmail.com

At the most basic level they function exactly the same way. They are equal and none is better than the other. Some would argue the interface for mailinator is more pretty.

Here’s the scenario.

You’re surfing the web and you find a website that says the following:

Lowes is offering a Free Kobalt 6-in-1 Screwdriver via email coupon when you sign up on their site.
Click on the above Lowes link.

  • Click on “get screwdriver & a chance to win”
  • Fill out your name, address, and email address
  • A coupon will be emailed to you.
  • Print out coupon and take to a Lowes Store [Store Finder]

Sweet! A free screwdriver! Ok..So I click the Lowes link and it takes me to http://www.kobalttools.com/ I follow the instructions and am presented with a form to fill in which requires a valid mailing address as well as an email address.

Ok..so they totally plan on mailing me junk mail both in my postal mail box and my email box. I know this because when I try to fill in the form I receive errors if I enter in a incorrect mailing address. So, I enter in the address of the person down the street. Still crappy for 2 reasons. One because junk mail will still be delivered and 2 the guy down the street will be wondering why he’s getting mail.

Anyway. So for the email address I choose to enter in spam@trashymail.com and then I go to mytrashmail.com and enter ‘demo’ into the login field and click ‘Get Email’

There is my sweepstake email with coupon and I click the link in the email (which notifies the sweepstakes that it is a valid email so they can start spamming to it.) and print out the coupon. I’ll be going to Lowes today to collect my screwdriver.

So that is a typical situation.

There is a video here http://www.mytrashmail.com/mytrashmail.htm which explains the same type of thing.
Now let’s talk about some of the features of the sites.

Mailinator.com offers alternate address domains you can send to.

  • mailinator2.com
  • sogetthis.com
  • mailin8r.com
  • mailinator.net
  • spamherelots.com
  • thisisnotmyrealemail.com

Where as mytrashmail.com offers a feature with extra security where you use a username and password to check the mail.

Why would they have a username and password and call it secure mail? Well, because you can actually type in common names into the login form and start seeing what mails are being sent to other people. So for some of you a ‘secure’ spam mailbox may be what you want.

I also find it a little confusing that you send mail to spam@trashymail.com but then visit mytrashmail.com to check the mail. I think it would be nice if the domains matched up. It would be one less thing to remember.

Mailinator.com has a feature where you can ‘embed’ your inbox into your website. But if you look at their example you’ll see that it quickly turns into a advertising spot for spammers. So I would strongly recommend against using the mailinator.com widget feature.

Mytrashmail.com offers a web browser widget which when I clicked the ‘Download Here’ button my Kaspersky Antivirus immediately picked up an Adware Trojan. After some very persistent coaxing with Kaspersky I was able to get the tool bar installed on my test computer. Yes. I have a computer which I use to test spyware and viruses.

Personally I HATE browser add on toolbars. Mainly because they shorten the height of any web page and force you to scroll pages more often. Also, they are never ever passive. There is always some other process which they inject to some benefit of the programmer.

I would NOT recommend installing the mytrashymail.com toolbar mainly because Kaskersky was adamant against it and it comes with a Google search field which you already have in any modern web browser. Instead it would be far easier to just place a shortcut to the site in your links area and access the site from there.

If you manage to be tricked into installing the toolbar be advised that your antivirus will constantly be telling you what it’s spyware until you remove it.

I will do a follow up on Spamfighter, the free Spam Filter for Outlook and Outlook Express which competes directly with a service I currently use called Cloudmark.

Save yourself the headache of spam in your inbox. Use one of these services for your junk mail.

Good luck.

 

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