I find it amusing when some people use fictitious email addresses during the registration process on this secure site but have absolutely no qualms in signing their names (and email addresses) to some online petition or forwarding to a string of people one of those endless office junk mails.
But why the fear? Why are people reluctant to leave their email addresses on public forums? The reason for this is very understandable, the fear of SPAMMERS. Email spamming refers to sending unsolicited emails to a list of email addresses. It may occur innocently when a reply is sent to a mailing list, by clicking REPLY ALL, instead of just replying to the sender of the mail or, more importantly, when unsolicited emails most often containing advertisements for services or products are sent to a list usually created by scanning forum postings or searching the Web for addresses through a process called Email Extraction.
Email extraction is a form of Web data extraction. It is the process of retrieving data in a structured format from varied, unstructured sources with the use of softwares called Email Extractors which are designed for extracting email addresses from online sources like the internet or offline from files located on local hard drives.
Trust me, the process of email extraction is surprisingly very easy. In just a few hours, you can retrieve tens of thousand of email addresses dropped carelessly on the web.