Email Sub-Address Spam Frequency

My email server is configured such that email to gets correctly delivered to me. The dash and whatever is after it are retained but ignored completely.

When I give an email address to a company, say Northwest Airlines,I'll give them an email address that shows to whom it was given, say ry4an``-nwa`` By doing this I'm able to check which companies are giving/selling/leaking my email address to spammers. Some of the leaks are surprising -- just a few weeks after giving out ry4an-philmont for the first time, giving it to the Boy Scouts, I started getting porn spam on it. When I called to let them know about the leak they assured me it was impossible.

Last month I decided to save all of my inbound spam and run some totals to see which sub-addresses got the most spam. Here are the counts:

  • 6427 total spam messages to in 34 days
  • 679 spam messages to plain ry4an*@*
  • the 10 most spammed sub-addresses were
Received Address Given to
2542 ry4an-slashdot Posted to
252 ry4an-dip Used in the Diplomacy community
159 ry4an-resume On my resume
141 ry4an-yahoo Given to
125 ry4an-cnet Byline for some articles I wrote
98 ry4an-oldenburg Defunct Oldenburg project
88 ry4an-poker Used at
84 ry4an-tclug Given to the Twin Cities Linux Users' Group
62 ry4an-dns Used for all my domain registrations
44 ry4an-keysigning Posted at

So it looks like the worst offenders aren't comanies to whom I've given my email address, but rather letting them get posted to the internet for automated crawlers to harvest.

Gmail users: You can do the same thing using the plus sign.


Yeah, the one I gave to United actually garners me the most spam. I emailed them to complain but was brushed off relatively quickly. -- Anonymous