Marcus Ranum has suggested that it might be a good idea (if difficult) to make separate identities expensive. While acknowledging the importance of allowing anonymity, he argues that increasing the incremental cost could dramatically reduce on-line spams and scams.
This led me to reflect on the fact that I routinely use a truckload of e-mail addresses:
- My Cryptosmith address – It’s great for business, but it’s too long to use casually.
- Several Smat addresses – I now use at least four different Smat addresses. I used to use two regularly – one for personal and one for household business. Then I discovered the benefit of a really, really short e-mail address.
- My St. Thomas address – There are still situations in which you really do need to use a college e-mail address, like when asking for free books from textbook publishers.
- My Comcast address – They provide some ‘free features’ that you only get with the comcast customer address.
- My old IEEE Computer alias – I’ve tried treating this like a ‘Personal’ address that I’d use for special business, but it’s more an annoyance than anything else.
I mentioned it to Marcus and he blandly noted how he’d done away with all that after setting up ‘ranum.com.’
I could certainly do a better job of eliminating the excess. I really only need to use the UST and Comcast addresses for special purposes. I should get rid of duplicated Smat addresses and change my IEEE/ACM aliases to point to a single Smat mailbox. Any place I have the old addresses I should eliminate them.
It’ll take time, but I admit I haven’t seriously tried to get rid of extra addresses. I need to do that.