The idea was a inspired one. The more I use it, the more I appreciate what Scrivener, from Literature and Latte, does for writers. When I was offered a chance to buy a copy at half price, having already bought my own copy, I immediately thought buying it as a gift for my mother on Mother’s Day. Unlike flowers, it’s something that would remind her of me on a daily basis. Call it atonement for the sins of my youth. Given what I put her through as a child, I have a lot of atoning to do. I had no idea that it would also serve as a lesson to me on spam avoidance.

Since I received the offer through Smith Micro, the people behind Poser, I wasn’t surprised they were offering Scrivener because they will occasionally try to sell me other programs at a discount and I’ve usually been pleased with the results.

Going through the numbers, Scrivener at full retail is $40 for the Windows version. Half price means I would save $20 dollars. When I went to the offer in the email from Smith Micro, I was taken to another site. True it was offering Scrivener at half price but they also wanted my email address so they could send me other offers I would undoubtedly be interested in.

Today I will receive almost eighty emails making me incredible offers. Based on previous history, only five of those emails will be worth looking at. The rest are nothing but email rubbish that I want nothing to do with. In a blinding flash of the obvious, I realized I was about to add another five emails of spam each day in order to save $20.

Considering my options, I remembered I ran across Mailinator in an article from PC Magazine on How to Create an Anonymous Email Account, where they give a number of very good options for temporary email accounts.  With Mailinator you don’t need an account just tack whatever you want in front of and you have an account. The only downside is that anybody can access your mail if they know your account name. There’s no passwords, only account names. I’m absolutely sure that there’s already a that I could use and share with all the other spam haters. If I want a semblance of privacy, I can use something like I would be surprised if anybody else was using that address.

By using Mailinator, I could pick up the details of my order, delete the email and abandon the address to the next person tired of all the spam they have to put up with. I could place my order without increasing my spam ratio.

Apparently I wasn’t the first to come up with this idea. When I entered a Mailinator address into the account name, the website gave me a “This domain not accepted” in big bold red letters. Too bad, this only confirmed my fears and convinced me that saving $20 was not worth dealing with these people.

Why was I willing to spend an extra $20 for spam avoidance? Well, I’m tired of stores requiring an account for everything I do with them. I’m tired of all the spam I get from everybody that ever forced me to give them an email address. And I’m tired of all the emails inviting me to get hacked because the last people I had to give my email address were too careless not to get hacked themselves.

When I go to to order treats for my dogs, they let me check out as a guest, no account needed. Want to guess where I buy my dog treats?

Still, I wasn’t ready to abandon a great idea for Mother’s day. I could pay full price but if this company was able to offer 50% discounts maybe others would too. I never did find a working 50% coupon but I found a number of 20% coupons that worked quite well.

There you have it. A great Mother’s Day present if your mother happens to be a writer and the discovery that I was willing to pay an extra $12 for spam avoidance. I think there’s a lesson there.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom

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