The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Just what constitutes an email address?

In my general following of links while reading an article, I come across one of those annoying banner ads made to look like a pop-up message from Windows (which stick out pretty badly, given that I'm not using Windows) that said my current session-id (my very own session-id) was picked as an hourly winner for some prize or other. Interested in what the punchline would be (and not fearful at all about unwanted pop-ups since I have that disabled in Mozilla, and since I'm not running Windows or IE I don't have to worry about my machine being taken over by rouge Active-X web applications) I started clicking.

Oh my, a form asking for personal information and an email address. Okay, fill in obviously bogus information and a dead email address, and keep on clicking. I pass up offers to win this or that or fill out this form giving some other marketing company my personal information to win something else until I come across the Publishers Clearinghouse $100,000 dollar online giveaway. On yet another whim I decide to check the “Official Rules:”

For this promotion, one online entry is allowed per e-mail address. Subsequent entries from a given e-mail address will not be eligible.

So, they only allow one entry per email address. Okay, but …

Write-In Entry Instructions You may write in as often as you like to enter our ongoing Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes at the address below. Sweepstakes eligibility will be based on date the write-in entry is received. Just mail each entry separately. We do not accept entries from a third party or entries sent in bulk.

I can understand their reasoning for this—it takes more effort to physically write in than it does with email, but it doesn't take that much more effort to obtain multiple email addresses—especially if you own your own domain (or control mail for multiple domains). I can easily cobble up a few thousand email addresses to spew their way. Heck, I can even automate the submission process.

But … could I legally win? By their own rules, it states that only one entry per email address—there isn't anything that says one entry per person.

“Why yes, your Honor, I do have 23,532 email addresses … spam you know … ”

Ah, but see, they have the money to take this to court if it doesn't go their way; I don't.

Which is probably keeping me from doing such a thing.

Upate later today

Reading further, not only is the end date for submissions December 31st but the odds of winning are 1 in 95,000,000.

The Florida State Lottery has better odds at 1 in 14,000,000.

But they do say you can enter as often as you like.

But not from the same email address ...

Hmmm ...

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