I've been on gmail since 2005, which means I was able to pick the combination of initials and last name that I wanted. Apparently gmail doesn't distinguish between punctuation variations, so c.covington, ccovington, and c.c.o.v.i.n.g.t.o.n are all the same.
You can see where this is going.
I've recently received email for another C. Covington. He signed up for the Starwood Preferred Guest program and stayed in an Aloft hotel in Charleston, SC, last night. He's a Verizon customer; I received the confirmation notice for his FIOS installation.
I also get email about someone else's kid's sports league, a church newsletter, billing notices, order confirmations, University of Southern California sports, class assignments... I've unsubscribed from the Carolina Opry newsletter five times, and the same damn fool keeps signing up with the wrong address!
Do people just not care/notice that they never receive the emails they signed up for, or order confirmations, or whatever?
Do people not understand that by giving the wrong email address, other people can find out a frightening lot of information about them? Like their Verizon account number, their Starwood Preferred Guest member number, their HOME ADDRESS?
So this is a plea: don't typo your email address, and make sure that if you're writing it on a form, to write clearly.
Also: if you have a mailing list or forum that uses email addresses as logins, please PLEASE use confirmation emails, where the subscriber/member has to click a link to confirm subscription. And always have unsubscribe links in the footer of mailing list posts.