University of Botswana History Department
Email addresses and junk email
On various pages in this site, we give staff members' email addresses. However, we recently discovered that this was causing a problem: it made us liable to junk email. Junk email (also sometimes "spam") is the unwanted advertisements sent out in bulk by certain unscrupulous businesses. You know, the messages headed "Win $$$ !!!" etc. etc. These people use computers to "harvest" email addresses automatically from the Web - especially Usenet but also ordinary sites such as ours. The "harvesting" programs can recognize an email address (this is not very difficult, in fact) and copy it to a list. The list is used by a computer to send out vast numbers of unsolicited email advertisements, usually without any human being ever checking them.
To protect against this, it is increasingly necessary to give the email address in some form that the automatic collecting programs can't use. Sometimes you will see an address given as "someone@(NO SPAM)wherever.ac.uk" - the idea being that a human reader will know to cut out the "(NO SPAM)".
In our case, we have simply cut off the end of addresses. Thus you will see the address "bennett@mopipi..." followed by a link to this page for explanation. The full address will be (name)@mopipi.ub.bw. I.e., for "mopipi", read "mopipi.ub.bw".
We apologize for the inconvenience, but the spammers make it necessary. Spam can be a serious nuisance, especially for users with dial-up accounts who are paying for their time on-line. Junk email, for these users, amounts to unsolicited advertising for which the recipient has to pay. It is also a major problem if you are using a web-based email address such as hotmail. Many people use such addresses while travelling, as they can be accessed anywhere. But if your address gets into the hands of the spammers, the inbox will be filled with rubbish, and as this sort of email works rather slowly, this may make it difficult or impossible to get to the real email. I once opened a hotmail account for use while travelling, and by mistake chose an option which added the address to a "white pages" directory fo some sort. This led to the account being filled, almost immediately, by spam, and thus becoming useless.
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By Bruce Bennett, email bennett@mopipi...
Copyright © 2001 University of Botswana History Department.
Images copyright © 2001 B. S. Bennett.
Last updated 10 January 2002