This is true, but also hyped. I own many (over twelve) domains with my personal data visible (www.redquadrant.com, www.quadrantresourcing.com, www.publicservicetransformation.org amongst them), and as a policy I have everything coming to a single Google account, with a workaround to turn off Google intrusive ‘spam’ detector (which reliably marks one business-related email as spam a day if it let it do its thing). If a theme emerges in the spam, I pick a unique identifying phrase and set up a Google rule to put it straight to bin. I guess there are about ten of them handled that way per day.

And I’m not submerged. Most mornings I select three to ten overnight spam and junk them from among my incoming mail, but I get 250+ emails a day and over 95% are legit. Whois spam is no doubt a part of the small hassle, but worse is ‘legitimate’ spam by people who have purchased our group email addresses (tenders@, events@) from the portals through which we’re registered for government tenders, and a huuuuge number of spam messages sent through purchase of lists to ‘ukxx’, where ‘xx’ is a number usually in the teens. Curiously, a lot of these are to email addresses for users who never existed (did I mention I get the catch-all emails for my domains?) — but we did once have a dodgy administrator who, while he was busy stealing from us, appeared to be trying to set up spamming accounts and fake accounts to try to siphon off more funds — so we’ve been exposed just about every way you can be.

Is spam a problem? Yes, it’s a pain in the arse. And being the possessor of an arse, not an ass assuming (English), perhaps I get off lightly? Maybe. I do have a US Skype number (‘located’ in Avocado Valley because I liked the name) and get a few junk robo-calls to that (between one and three a month).

But it doesn’t stop me working, it barely slows me down — and anyone web-savvy (or prepared to put up with the arbitrary nature of a spam filter) would be easily able to cope. The move to anonymity of Web urls is a sad one and I would hate more people to be put off by this. I consider it a public good to have ownership publicly accessible (the reason we also publish our full accounts even though we’re legally required to publish only fairly meaningless summaries) and the spam a price worth paying.

If you’re worried by the article, set up a special email address, or a +addition to your Gmail, and maybe have an auto responder with your real email in human-only form. Don’t let the idiot marketeers kill the legibility of web ownership!

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