How to stop spam emails through the Estonian Business Register
You’ve just registered a new Estonian company but before you can even announce the launch of your business to the world, your company has already started receiving spam emails. This is a common complaint among e-residents and international residents of Estonia.
This happens because your company email is now listed publicly on the Estonian state Business Register, which then also sells these details to other companies. However, there’s a nifty little solution here that is commonly used by Estonians.
Why is my Estonian company getting spammed?
Part of the reason for why Estonia has a very trusted business environment is that it also has a very transparent business environment. A lot of details about Estonian companies are publicly listed on the Estonian Business Register, including their email address.
So the email address that you submit while setting up a company will be made public once your company is registered. Other companies that want to spam you could find it in the Business Register themselves, but that’s a lot of effort so they also buy these details in bulk.
One common misconception is that this should be illegal under data protection rules, such as GDPR, because it might be a personal email address. However, if you submit your personal email address as your company email address then it becomes company data and would not be protected under those rules.
To avoid this, there are two things you need to do. If you already have an Estonian company though, just skip to the second step.
Please note that starting from 20 May 2020 Unicount does not reveal your email to the Business Register if you ordered contact person service when registering a company via Unicount. You can be sure that no spam reaches your personal and company email inserted during the registration. You can set up your company’s spam proof eesti.ee email in the Business Register whenever you wish to do so. Until then your company’s public email is the spam proof eesti.ee email of Unicount (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Unicount forwards all the necessary government emails.
1. Use a temporary email when registering the company.
The first tip is very simple and will help you avoid the first wave of spam.
When you are registering your company, use a temporary email address just to get through the company formation process. You can then abandon it afterwards.
However, this can’t be a permanent solution. Your officially listed company email still needs to be active so it can be used for important correspondence from the state. Fortunately, once your company is established you now have a new email address that perfectly solves the problem – although many people don’t even know it exists.
2. Add your @eesti.ee company address.
Every person who is part of Estonia (as a citizen, resident or e-resident) is allocated an email address that ends @eesti.ee. That’s the address of the Estonian state portal.
This email of yours is actually just an inbox so you can’t send outbound mail because it’s meant for receiving official correspondence from the state. The simplest thing to do is redirect it to your existing email address.
Well, companies are legal persons too. So every Estonian company is also assigned an @eesti.ee email address for official correspondence from the state.
This is handy because those @eesti email addresses are designed to only receive email from the state so all other companies trying to contact you there will be blocked. So let’s replace your publicly listed email with this one.
I’ll demonstrate all the next steps using my own sauna exporting Estonian company. (Of course, we are also all Estonian company owners ourselves here at Unicount).
Log into the Estonian company registration portal, select your company, and find the section for ‘Means of communication’. Then click on ‘view/change settings’.
This is where you’ll find your @eesti email addresses, which are based on your company’s legal name and registry code. So my company’s ones are email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDIT: I originally wrote in this article that both emails are suitable for this tip, but you should only use your [registrycode]@eesti.ee as that is the one configured to block non-state email. Thanks to Paul Williams from the e-residents of Estonia Facebook group for pointing this out.
You also just need to make sure that your state email is redirecting to your real company email where you want to receive official notices.
In the past, there was an added step needed here to first activate and redirect your state email at eesti.ee. As far as we know, that’s no longer necessary because this process is now done automatically for everyone. Let us know though if your state company email isn’t already activated and redirected then we’ll update this article with that added guidance.
So now let’s change our publicly listed email to one of these. You probably think you do that by clicking that button on the previous page about amending the means of communication. Nope. The user design isn’t too intuitive here. Instead, scroll up to the top and click ‘Start the petition for an entry regarding alteration’.
That will then take you to another page where you can scroll down and find a section for ‘Means of communication’ again and that is where you’ll see ‘alter the means of communication’ for you to click on.
You can only have one company email at a time so first delete your existing email address then add your state email after that.
After inserting the new email, you’ll then have to confirm it by clicking on a link that’s sent to you via redirection. Clicking the link will then lead you to a screen saying your email has been confirmed. That’s not the end of the process though!
You then need to return to the previous screen and complete the steps, which includes making a digital signature. One of the steps is called ‘payment’ but, don’t worry, it’s free to change your email. There used to be an €18 fee for minor changes like this but that has now been removed.
Now only the state can contact you through the email address listed publicly in the Business Register, even if they sell it to companies.
Thanks for reading!
This article was written by Adam Rang, Communications Director at Unicount.
Unicount is the simplest way to start a paperless EU company in 5 minutes. It’s used by a growing number of citizens, residents and e-residents of Estonia and we’ve now also launched a virtual office only service for existing Estonian company owners. Learn more at Unicount.eu.