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Forum Moderators: phranque
So it looks like [they were] hacked and email addresses were stolen. (I doubt they'd be foolish enough to *sell* the addresses.)
This is one reason I recommend using a unique email address for every entity you do business with, if possible. Providers like Gmail and Dreamhost make this easy with plus-addressing. If your address is firstname.lastname@example.org, then you can use email@example.com whenever you fill out a form. (e.g., me+Name1@example.com, me+Name2@example.com) Anything with a plus address goes to your main mailbox. If you start getting spam to your plus address, you can turn off just that address, and all your other email will be delivered.
Remember, even if you trust a company to whom you give your address to not sell it to others, the company could be hacked -- or the company's email provider could be hacked.
[edited by: phranque at 5:50 am (utc) on Dec. 20, 2009]
[edit reason] specifics [/edit]
So far, spammers haven't started making up random plus addresses, and they're unlikely to, because they know that would just mean that multiple copies of the message would go to the same person. Spammers are trying to reach many people, not the same person 100 times.
BradleyT, Google "gmail plus addressing" for more on how it works.
The fact that some sites don't allow plus signs in addresses isn't a *downside* to using a plus address if you're able to. An inability to do something is not a disadvantage of doing something. That is, this is not a downside to using a plus address when you're able to.
[edited by: phranque at 5:51 am (utc) on Dec. 20, 2009]
[edit reason] No urls, please. See TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]
"[the name of the email marketing service you use] compromised"
to see if the company in question is the company you use.
BTW, one blog post reports that the company has said that it is aware of the issue and “doing extensive investigations into any possible issues.”