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The Do Not Reply Guy

February 3, 2011

Communication media come and go but humans never change. As soon as you tell somebody not to do something, they’re bound to go and do it. Which is why Chris Faliszek found that he was getting thousands of e-mails sent to a domain he had innocently registered as part of an online marketing business.

“We started thinking of all the stupid e-mail names we could register, and we all thought it would be funny to send e-mail from an account at donotreply.com,” Faliszek said.

The funny part turned out to be the e-mails coming in, thousands of replies to the phony “donotreply.com” domain used by spammers, marketers and IT guys who don’t want to hear back about their system announcements.

Before he shut down the domain for good, Faliszek got inside information on bank security holes, reports of troop movements in Iraq from a Halliburton subsidiary and folders full of angry e-mails complaining about junk e-mail.

At the beginning, Faliszek tried to contact some of the companies referenced in the misdirected e-mails but all he got for his trouble was threats of lawsuits from managers who couldn’t understand why he was receiving “their” mail.

“I’ve had people yell at me, saying these e-mails are marked private and that I shouldn’t read them,” Faliszek said. “They get all frantic like I’ve done something to them, particularly when you talk to the non-technical people at these companies.”

Posted by Postbox