I am in Disney World.  My 4 year old daughter crashed in the hotel room after a non-stop day of fun.  It’s a happy place. I’m happy.   I quickly check my email and what do I get?  Blog spam.  Lots of it.  Ok, good, I’m happy I’ve got a bunch of readers now.  For those of you who leave comments email me directly, thank you.  I enjoy the feedback, positive and otherwise, as long as it is thought out.  

But 50 blog spams?  Ouch, I didn’t sign up to be an administrator and a human spam filter.  (please oh experienced bloggers out there, tell me what you do to avoid this.)

The blog spam gave me an idea.   It is a cool one.  I have often received spam at my private email address even though it is one I never have given anyone.  This private email I use to register for sites that I never intend on using again.  (newspapers, register for white papers, etc). The strange thing is that the spam I get in this email account has nothing to do with sites I registered for.  Someone is selling my information.  Are they breaking the terms of service for their site?  I don’t know.

 A discovery process. Here is what I am going to do:

Step 1:  Setup

-create a fictitious company
-register a new domain. 
-not use my real name & make whois information private
-add phony names, titles & emails to the site.  VP of sales, Director of Marketing, etc
-add some basic content to the site and make sure the search engines can find it. 

Step 2:  Seeding

-Register for as many sites as I can.  For each site, I will use a unique email and name that is not printed or listed anywhere for the fictitious company domain.  In addition, I am going to save the privacy terms of each site in a database.
-Save every email for each unique email address.  Each email should only be getting email from one source.
-Let the experiment run for a period, it might be 6 months to a year.
-I will make sure to include all the major email services (Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) and I will always select “NO” to share my information with partner companies (when that option is available)

Step 3: Publish

-all sites registered for
-dates & sources which each unique email received email from

Who is breaking terms of service?  What is the implication of registering on various dot com sites?   It should be an interesting experiment.   If something like this has been done already.  I would like to see the research.

hmm, on second thought, this seems like a darn good deal of work. 

Now  I think I’m looking for an intern who wants to do a research project.  Anybody have a referral?  I’ll give them full access to the Broadlook set of Internet research tools.

To many ideas, too little time.  Daughters awake, back to the magic kingdom. Time for fireworks!

Donato & Cala in Disney