Hopefully you are all aware of bugmenot.com which provides a list of valid usernames and passwords for sites that insist you register before downloading or accessing content. The most common example quoted is the New York Times articles but other (technical) sites might include APCC and techrepublic. If you need to access and article or posting on this site, head on over to bugmenot, enter the site url and it provides you with a username, password and the likelihood that this combination will work. If it works, you click the Yes button, if not you click the No button and a new combination(s) will be offered for you. You can also add your own.
Anyway, if you want to access a site temporarily but do not want to share the details with other people OR get on the sites email distribution/spam list then you can always give a fake email address but typically most sites send a confirmation email to the email address you provided. Clicking the link in the email then authenticates you as a valid user.
Previously I’ve always used a service such as mailinator.com. When signing up you pick a nonsense (or rude) email address ending in @mailinator.com such as IDontThinkSoSpammers @ mailinator.com, check the web interface to read the email that you send, access the site and then forget about it.
Now bugmenot provide a similar service at email.bugmenot.com but the advantage is that you can instantly access the emails from a webpage by adding your email address to email.bugmenot.com/view. In the above example you would go to email.bugmenot.com/view/IDontThinkSoSpammers
A very useful service – it is interesting to see the conflict between using a service such as this and the “morality” of using it. Personally I will provide a valid email address from my own domain to a site most of the time if I expect I will continue to use the site as I can always blackhole the email address if they start spamming but for sites that want your life history when signing up OR I expect they might spam me then this is a good alternative.
What do you think – do you/would you use a service like this – have you used alternatives that may be useful? Do you think providing fake information is naughty or is asking for too much information immoral and companies deserve all the bogus information they get?