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About SPAM

What is SPAM?

Spam is email junk mail. -- or unsolicited bulk email (also called unsolicited mass email). Some people try to limit the definition of spam to only cover commercial spam, but it doesn't matter if the spam is commercial or not, if it is unwanted and overwhelming.

SPAM is a major problem on the internet.  Spammers (the people who send SPAM) can send SPAM at very little cost to them -- and so they send a lot of it.  The problem is that it uses computer resources and is a major distraction to people who want to read their real email messages.

Preventing SPAM (the basics)

SPAM is a major problem on the internet.  And once you get on one of the spammers email lists, there's no good way to stem the flow of SPAM.  So the best cure is an ounce of prevention.  Here are some basic strategies to prevent your SPAM from getting out of hand.

  • Do not reply to spam.  If spammers receive a response from your account, then they know where you are and will probably begin to bombard you with more SPAM.
  • Do not put auto-responders on your email account.  This makes for an automated response and can increase the flow of spam (see also: do not reply to spam).
  • Do not put your email address directly on your web page.  Spammers scan web pages for email addresses and will pick yours up.  I recommend routing email inquiries through email contact forms.  There are also several ways to disguise emails (though none are perfect).
  • Do not use your email in promotional mailings. Even if you don't put your email on your web page, if you put your email in a job announcement or other mailing, someone else may post it in their on-line newsletter. [If you type your email address into a Google search, you may find other people listing your email address]
  • Do not use your email address to order from an unknown company.  Some on-line companies will use your information to send you spam.  Check for privacy policies and then use your best judgment.
  • Avoid standard email addresses such as webmaster@, info@, etc.  Spammers can and do guess at these.

Dealing with SPAM (the basics)

Even with the most precautions, you will probably still get some SPAM at some point.  Here are some strategies for dealing with it.

  • In general, you should not click on a "remove" link in SPAM messages your receive.  Many times, unscrupulous spammers actually use such links to to build their premium spam lists. Instead of opt-ing out, you may be opting-in.
  • If you are hosted with Ready Set Go!, we will automatically decline emails from identified SPAM email servers (no additional charge). 
  • If you are hosted with Ready Set Go!, we can turn on a program called SPAM Assassin (no additional charge).  This will change the subject line of likely spam so it can be easily identified. SPAM Assassin is turned off by default, so please let us know if you would like it activated.
  • Spam Assassin has a threshold that we can adjust to make it more sensitive or less sensitive.  If it is more sensitive, it is more likely to accidentally catch good mail and call it spam.  If it is less sensitive, it is more likely to let some SPAM get through.
  • In your email client (e.g. Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird), you can set up filters or rules to move emails marked by SPAM Assassin to a "Junk" folder.  These emails can either be deleted immediately or saved for your review later (to make sure good emails did not get lost in the shuffle).
  • I recommend Thunderbird as a popular, free email client that let's you mark emails as SPAM and will "learn" from your responses.  Thus another layer of filtering can be added. Emails marked as SPAM by Thunderbird can either be deleted immediately or saved for your review later (to make sure good emails did not get lost in the shuffle).
  • Most webmail clients do not have the ability to setup rules/filters.  GMail is a popular webmail client that has a highly effective SPAM filter of its own.   If you access email primarily through webmail, you may want to consider routing your email through GMail -- or just use GMail as a SPAM filter.

Advanced topics

Throw-away email addresses.  Some people go so far as to use temporary throw-away email addresses for a particular time or purpose.

  • Purpose-limited emails can help you figure out the source of the spam (e.g. chris-amazon@ready-set-go.biz).  So, for instance, if you only use your amazon email address with Amazon.com and then get spam through the amazon email address, then that would tell you that Amazon.com was somehow the source of the spam.

Ready-Set-Go! email servers do not limit the number of forwarders you can setup with your domain.  So you can setup and discontinue numerous forwarders as needed.

 



More information

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-mail_spam

Chris Paige
Consultant


267-507-5507
efax 206-350-3758
chris@ready-set-go.biz
www.ready-set-go.biz
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Ready Set Go!
Business development and project management solutions
for your small business or non-profit organization