Deleting Email Accounts

September 21, 2009

My first Internet email account was with AOL around March 1993. This was soon followed by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) account in late 1994. In February 1996 I acquired this domain and had my first domain email address. I still have that address, although I don't use it actively any more. Like a lot of Internet nerds I have been collecting email accounts ever since.

Between Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Gmail, and several domains, I think I've had as many as 11 or 12 accounts active at one time, not counting various employer supplied accounts. The oldest of these dates back to 1996 and it was heavily used for USENET postings, and appeared proudly in my email signature for years, before doing that was a guaranteed way to increase your incoming spam numbers.

It saddens me in a way that the three oldest active email accounts I have, all belonging to this domain, get nothing but spam these days. Thousands and thousands of spams each day. When Google Mail started allowing you to read other accounts I set up a proxy account with GMail that reads these three old accounts, and I consume the proxy account via IMAP. It's been a couple of years since I set the proxy up, with the intention of monitoring the old accounts for someone who hadn't gotten the message about my GMail address.

In the past week the number of spam has suddenly increased dramatically, and I am ready to throw in the towel. I am ready to delete the oldest of my email accounts. Which is surprisingly hard to do. I own the domain and can always recreate them, but, like having a domain that will be 14 years old in a few months, having an email address that is that old pleases me. I feel bad enough for having abandoned it to the vagaries of spam for so long, deleting it now feels like adding insult to injury.

Still, it must be done. The torrent of spam isn't going to stop and I'm ready to have much less of it in my life. GMail hides spam away without my having to do anything, deleting these accounts frees me from having to keep the digital dikes shored up and functioning. Not only will I reduce the influx of negativity into my life, I'll reduce the amount of time and effort spent wading around in that muck.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.