You Find Some Pretty Interesting Things When You Open Up Your Domains’ Email

Dec 28 2011

Recently I started getting curious.  What would I see if I set up a catch all email account for a bunch of my domains?  If you don’t know what a catch all is, it’s that little button that says “have this email catch all emails” .  When you click on it, any email that doesn’t have it’s own individual email but shares that domain, goes to you.  That means if you have and somebody emails something to and you don’t have an email set up for that then you will get it.   It opens up a world of interesting emails.  After opening up 15 emails, here are some of the things that I keep finding.

1. Email and site password resets. I could go a few times a week and reset passwords in people’s sites and even emails.  At some point they either had my domain as email or typed it in wrong.  Whatever the reason, I am getting the confirm your account or email reset emails.  At any point I can follow and reset the passwords to my liking.  I haven’t but I have followed to see how easy it would be and it’s a clear path.

2. Wikipedia verifications. I get a few a week for Evidently people like to use this for wikipedia signups

3. Spam, Spam, and more spam.  It just further proves that there is no rhyme or reason to the spammers list.  They send billions out and hope that people have set up a catchall.  I have won a ton of lotteries since I set up the emails.

4.  Personal emails:  I’m sure if the senders knew that an outsider was reading the emails they would be a little embarrassed.  I’m sure Kim would be a bit rosy cheeked if she knew that I saw that Jim “is hairy as a gorilla down there”.  I have been invited to reunions, asked for a friends email even though she had this friends’ email wrong, and questioned what my daughter wanted for Christmas this year.  I was thinking of answering some back as a joke but I didn’t want to go down that road.

5. Business emails: The one domain that I would consider a typo is close to the name of a film production company.  The emails I get are usually technical and pretty worthless but every once in a while I get a good one.  I even got one that had the name of a movie that at that point had not been announced.  I know because I googled it and got nothing.  Went to IMDB and figured the working title had been changed.  The announcement came out later but it was kind of fun knowing something that most people didn’t.

If you have a little time to blow and want some entertainment, pick a few of your domains that are typos or any name for that matter and see what comes in.  If you are with Godaddy they give you one free email per domain so it makes it real easy to set up a catchall.  If you get any juicy stuff let me know.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. theo

    I been doing that for a while Shane.
    Infact i even had an auto responder up and that would scramble previous owners to buy the domain name(s) back.

    It was Elliot who pointed out that i could hit some legal issues with the auto responder. So i dropped the auto responder. So less easy sales and legal or not i do not want to wind up in some legal battle over some emails. I been registering the last years generic domain names only, that are easy to defend in UDRP’s. I am trying to avoid any kind of legal issues. Domaining is a hobby so i play it safe.

    But you’re right you can catch alot of information.

  2. Ms Domainer


    I have one of those catch alls. I don’t use it for anything important, but it’s amazing how many important messages I’m getting for the previous owner, such as partial CC numbers and warnings from his mobile carrier about over usage.

    I get spam as well, about what you’d expect.

    I’m not doing anything nefarious, just deleting the messages.

    This should serve as a warning to anyone who allows a domain with email account attached to it to expire; be sure to notify all your business associates, cc companies, utility companies, etc. about your change of email.


  3. rob sequin

    Great post.

    I have several .com domains where someone developed the .org or .net after I owned the domain.

    Sometimes I will set up the catch all email for my .com and it is interesting to read some of the emails meant for the .org or .net developed sites.

    People type in .com in the browser address box AND the email To: box.

    If people want to send an email to my domain, no reason why I shouldn’t be able to read it.

  4. Going Places

    …yet another reason to solely buy .com domains, boys and girls. If you are the proud owner of a .net, .biz, .org, .us, .co or ANY other extension (including .xxx and the yet to be introduced gtlds), you are begging to be victimized in this way.

    (high squeaky voice) “Steal my mail, please!!!”

  5. Josh S.

    I set up a catch all on a .com that is developed in quite a few other extensions. It’s not an adult name, but could be used as such. There happens to be a site for a popular foreign whore house on one ccTLD, for which I catch job inquiries fairly often…

  6. Jamie Zoch

    I was going to play around with a catch-all for some of my domains but sadly when I logged into my c-panel at Hostgator I got the following message:

    The Default E-Mail/Catch-All feature has been disabled by default due to Spam and Security concerns.
    Please contact support if you need assistance with creating mail forwards (aliases) as an alternative.


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