When Google got into the business of providing a free email service, I was first in line to get myself an account and play with it. At that time one had to be invited for a gmail account; and being early meant that I got myself a very good email id - a pretty common first name back home.
What I had not realized at the time, was the flip side to having a common email id - the pseudo-spam.
First, there is the 'mistaken' use of my email by folks for all sorts of account activities. I have updates from two bank accounts sent to my email id. There is one broadband and three mobile companies that see fit to remind me of payments due. And at least one kid can probably never get to any online sites because he keeps using my email id for parental consent (that I promptly decline).
Now I have been diligent about trying to let the bank and telecom companies know that their customer does not 'own' my email id. But if a website wants me to log into the account to unsubscribe, there is little I can do about it.
Then there is the the appropriation of my email ID for online activities. I know at least three match-making companies that believe I still need to be hitched. About four universities are waiting for me to register this fall. Some think I have cars to sell, others think I want to buy property. And then the job sites - I have offers from across globe in fields I did not even knew existed. I try to unsubscribe where I can, mark them as SPAM if possible and for the particularly annoying ones I have to go via the forgot password route to log in, change the contact id to email@example.com and the password to i-am-an-idiot.
Thirdly there are the forward lists I am on. Just because someone knows someone with my first name, they think they can mail me to keep in touch with them. I get baby photos, 'must-forward' emails, jokes and reminders from one school principal that seems to think I am on her staff.
Finally the unsubscribable sites. Horoscopes, yellow page listings, naughty sites and mass-mailing sites - everywhere one does not want to use their own email id. Guess who's easy to remember email ID comes in handy. Yup, mine!
So there you go, first in line with Google, and I get 80% pseudo-spam that gets through Gmail's capable filters. Who would have imagined having a good email ID would be so much work. Maybe I should just have gone with SJPnvTB0HWwhVVo4JFpn@gmail.com
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