June 27, 2003
Spam, we all hate it and no matter what we do, it keeps coming.
I will attempt to give you some pointers on how to eliminate the bulk of your spam messages, but, unfortunately, there is no way to get rid of all of it. First of all, some of the Internet Service Providers (ISP's) have anti spam options, which normally have a nominal monthly charge. My experience with these filters to date is that many times they end up filtering mail you really want to get and seem to be more trouble than they are worth.
The best way to eliminate span is not to give out your email address. As we all know, that's almost impossible, but there are some little things you can do which will help considerably. Spammers will always send mail to given and common names. For instance, if they locate a new ISP, they will automatically send mail to all known given names like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc. So, it is always best to have a username which doesn't not fall into this category.
One of the most important things to remember is, NEVER respond to any spam messages, PARTICULARLY asking to be taken off the mailing list. This sends a confirmation back to the spammer that your address is a valid address and you will get even more spam.
Filtering e-mail is another topic I end up discussing with clients on a regular basis. You can block senders of annoying mail and also set up filters to help keep unwanted junk out of your inbox. Spending an hour with clients going over filtering options can be well worth the time.
I also recommend you set up a free e-mail account on any of the free services such as Yahoo and Hotmail. That way, every time you're on a site which requires registering, you give them that e-mail address. You check the account every couple of weeks and delete the messages, and viola!, the inbox of your regular e-mail is virtually junk mail free. Hotmail Users NOTE: When you setup a Hotmail account or if you've had one for a long time, make sure you go into your profile options and make sure to un-check the boxes giving them permission to share your address and those in your address book. I got to the point where my Hotmail account, even though I hadn't given the address out for months, was getting so much spam I just opened up another account.
The bottom line is, be careful who you give your regular address to and setup filters to help. Some spam is inevitable but it should be livable if you follow the guidelines in this discussion.
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