HomeBlogI’m Not A Nazi Despite My Awesome Gmail Account

I’m Not A Nazi Despite My Awesome Gmail Account

Published October 18, 2017

World War II - Nazi Plane

Working in this industry isn’t without its perks. Free drinks and snacks, flexible vacation and early adoption to cool new tech startups.

Let me take you back to a simpler time. The year is 2004, and Google announces that it was about to offer a revolutionary webmail service with a whopping 1,000 megabytes of free storage. This was groundbreaking because the biggest players in the webmail space, Hotmail and Yahoo, were only offering 2 and 4 megabytes, respectively. People assumed this was yet another Google prank… and it didn’t help that they decided to announce this new "Gmail" service on April Fool’s Day.

2004 Gmail, a different time...
1000 megabytes, OMG!

Turns out it was real, but only by-invitation with just a select few chosen as early adopters. (In the industry, we call these brave souls “unpaid beta testers.”) As a proud webdev nerd, I was quick to get one of these first invitations. I punched in my invite code and it was time for me to choose a username. This was the first time anybody had to make an account at Google. Nowadays it’s actually a struggle to find a unique Google username, but back then everything was still up for grabs. I decided on the username of "geek" making my brand-new Gmail address geek@gmail.com. (NOTE: It’s not actually geek@gmail.com. It’s similar, but to prevent even more spam than I already get, I'm not going to post the actual address in this blog.)

As we all know now, Gmail took over the webmail industry and became the most popular service by far. What's more, a “Gmail account” became just “your Google account” and your pseudonym across all Google products. Short memorable Gmails became almost as desirable as domain names and I still love my clean little username.

It's not without downsides though. I get A LOT of misdirected e-mail. Some of it comes from people typing in phony e-mail addresses at website signups. But often times, the emails I get are meant for other similar addresses like “geek123@gmail.com”. I get all kinds of fun stuff in my inbox. I get people’s bank statements. I get times for softball practice. I get report cards. I even the occasional naked selfie. Once I even got high resolution scans of someone's driver's license and passport. (Why you’d send that as a plain JPG to a Gmail address is beyond me.) But last week I got one that was weird even for me.

It was a short e-mail. Subject Line was simply: “HEY SPAMMER”.  Body: “Saw your f***** site was taken down. Serves you right you nazi POS.

The “your site was taken down” caught me off guard since I manage quite a few websites. I thought that perhaps, somehow this time, the sender was referring to me and not another geek@gmail.com. But my sites were definitely not down …And what’s up with the Nazi thing?

I replied and explained the Gmail situation. He was apologetic and we actually had a long, lovely conversation.

Apparently, the guy runs a very popular Wordpress blog curating the very best hardcore photos of vintage 1950’s homosexual pornography. This must have angered a programmer somewhere who wrote a bot to automatically post comments on each of the articles. These comments were nasty and full of anti-gay, anti-Semetic nonsense. I won't repost it, but you can use your imagination.  As part of Wordpress' comment form, you need to enter a website and a e-mail address. The bot entered a neo-Nazi hate site under "website". And what did the spammer enter into the e-mail field? Why, geek@gmail.com of course.

The webmaster who emailed me was able to purge the comments and install a CAPTCHA which stopped the flow of neo-Nazi hate messages. And that’s the latest tribulation stemming from my geeky Gmail address and how it ended up getting me accused of being a Nazi by a normally very polite and well-spoken pornography collector. You can't make this stuff up.


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Alex worked on several successful e-commerce websites before joining the RB team. He graduated from SUNY Purchase with a Bachelor's in Math & Computer Science.

This article is under Geek Factor, Culture

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