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dead emails

Permalink 06/10/08 at 07:00:15 am, by Ed, 252 words   English (US)
Categories: General

I wonder, how many dead email addresses are there out there? And by that, I mean not only how many email addresses just aren't checked any more, but also how many dead people have them? You can get a free gmail, yahoo, windows live (hotmail), yahoo, or other email account and they never close unless you specifically request it, so my question is this: How do dead people's email addresses go away?

Or another view: in a hundred years, 80% of the email addresses in any system could be email addresses of dead people that keep accruing spam and nothing else, that keep taking up space on servers for no reason. A similar idea applies to free website hosting. I could make a "geocities" webpage (well, not this century, but something similar... Geocities is like Coke or Kleenex) and it would never go away.

It used to be that hotmail accounts would automatically close if not checked every 90 days, but they have since gone to never closing an account unless you specifically request. I made an ICQ account (remember ICQ?) like 10 years ago, stopped using it 8 years ago, but still remember my ICQ number (24869373) so I tried logging in, and all of my contacts were still in the list!

The Internet is the ultimate pack rat. At some point, I think we need to give the Internet a stern talking to about cleaning up its room. We don't need more data centers: we need less data, and a good way of cleaning up.

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