U“Back in the day” when Google was setting up it’s then groundbreaking email service, I had the privilege of being one of its early beta testers. The service was revolutionary compared to the POP and IMAP based systems of the day where you had to configure a mail client on a computer and you pretty much had to check your email from that one location.

This was the day before smartphones, tablets, and the generally ubiquitous use of laptop computers along with the widespread adoption of IMAP mail which allowed you to keep your mail on your mail server without downloading it to the local machine. Back then it wasn’t uncommon for email providers to cap mailboxes at 10 Megabytes, and when Google offered 1 Gigabyte mailboxes, that was utterly amazing…

One of the rules of setting up your Gmail mailbox is that you can use periods in your name or not, and they all all go to the same box. Since I was one of the early adopters, I had the coveted opportunity to actually have an email address that used my name without having to add a number or strange characters into it… so anthony.navarro (at)  Gmail.com was born. Because of the period rule, you could email me at anthony.navarro@, anthonynavarro@, ant.honynava.rro@, or any other combination… Gmail basically would strip out all periods on the back end and no one else was supposed to get any other combination.

brokengmailDear Google: Something has broken.

Apparently, there are now, as of the last year or so, several other Anthony Navarro’s out there that have been allowed to setup an address using the same naming convention.

And I am getting their mail.

At first it was entertaining. I could see that they were looking for a date on several dating sites and I would get their “likes”. Other times I received their travel confirmations so I would see where they would be traveling to. And later I would receive receipts from their Amazon purchases. These guys who share my name, and now my email address, are a couple of interesting folks!

Then things started getting worrisome. I know that one Anthony Navarro has a 2002 Chrysler Town Country LX FWD LWB Wagon that has a defective speaker that can catch fire. I know this because I received the recall notice from his dealership. I also know his child goes to a private Christian school because I receive his billing notices. I also know how much he spends on Electricity each month because I am receiving his digital bill. I also have full access to another Anthony Navarro’s FaceBook account wth a simple password reset request. I have even posted on his wall advising him to change his email address because I am getting a good amount of his mail (including all of his friend requests!)

He hasn’t.

He is apparently a real busy guy on FaceBook as I am made aware of all his comings and goings via the automatic emails FaceBook sends alerting him (me) to all the comments and replies to his posts. I’m not jealous… it’s just entertaining… It’s kinda like playing “Where’s Waldo” but it’s someone with my name instead.

So,

Dear Google…

I have emailed you several times on this issue with no response. Not that I expected one. I have, sadly, pretty much quit using my Gmail address for any serious correspondence. If I am getting all of their emails, who’s to say they aren’t getting my emails? This is a serious privacy concern because I am receiving emails regarding some very private information on these other folks’ lives… I know details that other people should not know (and regarding one of their dating preferences, details I’d rather have not known!)

So, if the Anthony Navarro with a 2002 Town & Country catches fire and burns down his house… Are you going to pay the bill for preventing him from receiving that important information?

So, in the meantime, I will continue my practice of unsubscribing from emails that these other “Anthony Navarros” sign up to. I will attempt to “unsee” any private details that may come my way. But, if you would, could you please, rectify the situation?

And…

Dear Other Anthony Navarros:

If you are reading this, and you have an email of any permutation of anthony.navarro@ in your Gmail address… Please change your email for all your subscriptions, autobilling, utilities, mortgage companies, dating services, medical portals, and delete your existing Gmail account… I’m sure you are an interesting guy, but I’m also sure you don’t want me to be reading all of your mail.

Though on some rainy days it makes for good reading. Y’all are an interesting bunch of guys.

Dear Everyone Else:

Do you know an Anthony Navarro with an Gmail address that looks like their name? Do them a favor and let them know. Send them a link to this article.

Yay, Internet! Even though there is no “team” in Internet, there is an “I”, and every one of us counts!

Et tu, Dear Reader?

Do you know anyone else having this kind of issue? Are you having this issue?

gmail-failThis is a major FAIL for Google if they can’t route their email properly. If you or someone else you know is suffering from this issue, please leave a comment and share this article… Maybe if we get enough critical mass, Google will listen… Apparently they haven’t been listening to the subscribers on their “help” discussion boards having this issue for some time.

If this issue garners more traction in the public eye rather than hidden in the bowels of a discussion board maybe it’ll help all of us who are suffering from this issue and make their email platform more reliable and secure.

Till then… Keep Calm and eMail on…

-Anthony.Navarro