Email harvester September 14, 2008 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Is linking to email harvester sites okay?

I have concerns that the subject of this post is very probably the work of an email harvester, and that the post should probably be removed for that reason. It seems a bit irresponsible to link to an email address harvesting scam, even if it looks friendly.

The reason I have those concerns is that I had my email address in my MeFi profile until a similar post was used to send "anonymous" email to my account, after which I saw an uptick in the spam I received. It was disappointing to have to do that in response to the malicious behavior of one person.

I am curious what the community thinks, but, largely, I am hoping also that others would think twice before putting anyone else's email address into that link's form.
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Etiquette/Policy at 2:21 PM (19 comments total)

Oh god, is this like that passive-aggressive anonymous complaint thing?

(Not Blazecock's well-reasoned query here, but rather the FPP about the site that lets you send passive-aggressive anonymous complaints to people)
posted by Navelgazer at 2:28 PM on September 14, 2008


It's Thunderdome!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:30 PM on September 14, 2008


Oh come on, can't we get beyond Thunderdome?
posted by cog_nate at 2:43 PM on September 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


/shameless ripoff of 7th season MST3K
posted by cog_nate at 2:44 PM on September 14, 2008


Anyone who agrees with this, or disagrees, can register their email address with me. Hang on, been doing a lot of drooling today - gotta go empty my scum bucket. BRB. Don't forget to register!
posted by Elmore at 2:49 PM on September 14, 2008


The reason I have those concerns is that I had my email address in my MeFi profile until a similar post was used to send "anonymous" email to my account, after which I saw an uptick in the spam I received.

Not only is your claim of this site being an email harvester fairly unsubstantiated here, you really need to explain the causality here. Having something posted to the front page of Metafilter doesn't really make it any easier for someone to "harvest" your email address, and it's not even clear that's what's happening here.
posted by dhammond at 3:16 PM on September 14, 2008


I'm harvesting your email right now.

and your organs.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:00 PM on September 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


dhammond, I think the (unproven) idea is that when a person has the stopforwarding site send the anonymous email to someone, the site harvests the recipient's address for later spam. It'd be easy enough to test with a throwaway account.
posted by exogenous at 4:59 PM on September 14, 2008


The creators of email harvesters rarely link to their personal websites which host their design portfolio and include their phone number. If that's just a front identity for the evil email harvesting, then it's quite impressive since the front identity's blog is just over a year old. Honestly, does this man look like he wants to sell your email address?
posted by xchmp at 5:01 PM on September 14, 2008


That GENIUS! A website where you get well-meaning people to give you the email addresses of their gullible friends. "Hey, here's my grandma's email address, she'll believe anything!"
posted by popechunk at 5:14 PM on September 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Don't be afraid anymore, Blazecock Pileon. There are some bad websites out, sure - but the vast majority and cool and friendly and safe. There's no need to be jittery, just use your best judgement. I'm sorry that other evil website scared you, but don't let that make you paranoid.
posted by chudmonkey at 6:06 PM on September 14, 2008


Metafilter: other evil website scared you
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:10 PM on September 14, 2008


the site harvests the recipient's address for later spam. It'd be easy enough to test with a throwaway account.

I understand that, but I don't really understand how this being posted to Metafilter in and of itself would lead to our email addresses (for those of us who have them listed on our profile pages) being fed into the "harvest." Blazecock Pileon's claim that "a similar post was used to send 'anonymous' email to my account" sounds rather goofy.
posted by dhammond at 6:17 PM on September 14, 2008


I think the point he's trying to make is not that the poster has malicious intentions, but by FPPing the site, it increases the likelihood of it being used by one MeFier to (against?) another.

That said, although the site is dumb and passive-aggressive-facilitating and not at all the "best of the web," I think BP's indignation should be directed at the user (anonymous though they may be) who was discourteous enough to give the site his email address, not the site itself.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 6:46 PM on September 14, 2008


That last sentence should probably conclude "... not the site itself nor the person who FPPed it."
posted by Doofus Magoo at 6:50 PM on September 14, 2008


It's Thunderdome!
posted by blue_beetle at 4:30 PM on September 14 [+] [!]



Oh come on, can't we get beyond Thunderdome?
posted by cog_nate at 4:43 PM on September 14 [3 favorites +] [!]


Damnit cog_nate, that is my joke. Besides you really should wait till someone really slams Thunderdome.
posted by nola at 7:05 PM on September 14, 2008


We've never used our GMail address in our profile anywhere but here, and yet we receive 10-12 spam emails a day. It seems logical that there are email harvesters lurking everywhere.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 7:27 PM on September 14, 2008


We've never used our GMail address in our profile anywhere but here, and yet we receive 10-12 spam emails a day. It seems logical that there are email harvesters lurking everywhere.

Certainly, and I haven't suggested otherwise. Having someone else give your email address to what otherwise looks like a harvester was the concern, if not putting up posts directly linking to harvesters. That's all.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:48 PM on September 14, 2008


AIoM, I'm convinced spammers also guess at email addresses. For example, my gmail address, in the form of firstname.lastname@gmail, started receiving spam before I had used it anywhere. Spam is like an unstoppable force of nature.
posted by exogenous at 5:45 AM on September 15, 2008


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