So it's not really 'sharing' if they have to pay?

This IT pilot fish shells out for a name-brand digital camera, and since he runs his own email system, he puts a unique email address on the warranty registration card when he fills it out.

"I also checked the 'I don't want you to share my email address' box," says fish. "Imagine my surprise when I started getting email at that address from a number of different companies that seemed to think I fit the demographics that defined 'their customers,' including Volvo and the NRA.

"Knowing their source of this email address, I contacted the camera company. And I kept contacting them every time I got one of these emails. I didn't just send to customer service, I started digging up email addresses for company executives.

"And I reported the spam to their internet provider, as well as to the Internet providers of Volvo and other companies that sent me the spam.

"Eventually I complained enough that someone took notice. Long story short, I learned the camera company sold all the information on that little card to a big marketing-services company, which offered its 'prospect database' to many of its customers.

"It took a while, but eventually email to that address ceased. And I never fill out those little cards anymore."

Sharky won't "share" who you are with anyone -- really! So send me your true tale of IT life at You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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