I think that a lot of the spam is sent to randomly generated e-mail addresses. I once opened a hotmail address for a colleague, and before she had sent an e-mail message to anyone, or given it to anyone, she had e-mail offers to get bigger tits and a longer ****. (Gotta think that the market segment interested in both would be a bit limited, but what do I know?)
wakked1, you're using a large DNS service and another large name-signup service, which means you probably don't have your own MTA online and are using a public one, look to them to see if they're selling them off.
I own my own domain name and I routinely use custom usernames when signing up for stuff so that I can track spam origins when it comes in. There is no way for my domain provider or anyone else to sell specific addresses, since my mail account sends anything sent to my domain to my account. I name my 'false' accounts in ways that would be pretty hard to guess, such as [email protected]. If I get mail to that address, I can be pretty sure that they saw the address I gave to MO at some point.
However, doesn't 'my_username at motorcycle dot com' actually get forwarded to the email that I signed up with? If so, then anyone could troll the discussion pages, extracting usernames and then send spam via my motorcycle.com address. The only way to stop this would be to disable motorcycle.com mail forwarding.
If mailing to [email protected] doesn't forward to the registered email address, then someone has compromised your security or an employee has sold your address list out from under you. Either that, or some spammer has devoted the time and energy to attempt to guess at usernames, and noone would waste the energy. Of course, all this assumes that the complaining user did pick a unique username.
I suppose it is possible that whoever hosts your domain email makes a record of any usernames that are used in incoming mails for a particular domain and then sells them, but that seems unlikely, since it would only cause paying customers to leave the service for a competitor (of which there are many). Besides, they could just sell your main email address. Nobody is paying to get multiple addresses that all resolve to the same pair of eyeballs!
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