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What if your email address could demand respect?

Managing spam

Spam is annoying, extremely time consuming and sometimes dangerous. Because the term "spam" has become all-inclusive, it has made the description of the situation a bit more complex than it should be. The all-inclusive term should be "email security". Anyway, we'll start with "spam".

The many ways to manage spam.

You'll notice I use the word "manage" in place of "stop." Let's not kid ourselves, "stop" is a strong word. Let's look at some of the common techniques to "manage" the problem of spam:

Never give out your email address: This works great, if you want to live under a rock!

Unsubscribe? (To click OR not to click?): The good guys say: "Use unsubscribe and we'll stop sending," and I believe them, but here's the problem - The good guys don't spam! Therefore, the reality is: unsubscribe rarely works. In fact to a spammer, getting you to click on the unsubscribe link is desirable because it ensures you really exist. Once it's determined you're real, the value of the address goes "up," and it's added to a higher value list to be resold to others. (Alas, the spammer makes more money and you get more spam!)

White Lists: This allows only people you know to have access to your email box. If you never intend to meet new people, (or your existing friends never change their email address,) this technology works great. (I'm laughing just a bit.)

Disposable (custom) email addresses: This one always strikes me as amusing, and you'll shortly see why - Create a custom email address for unique contacts or events, like mailto:autoshow@mydomain.com. Then, when you start receiving spam, just cancel that address. Well, what happens if you want to continue hearing from one of the people to whom you gave the address? For instance; I attend an Auto Show. I meet a rep from my car company. He tells me he can add my name to a Special Notices List specifically for my vehicle. A valuable service, would you not say? Well, what happens to his emails when I cancel the address? I'd lose his contact. Come on! Actually, I have a friend that thought this was a great idea until, after doing it for a year and half, he now realized he has better than 250 email addresses he is trying to manage! (Notice that word "manage" comes up again.)

Create email rules - This is a nightmare even for the seasoned geek. I will go no further.

Spam Filtering - Let the rules be defined by professionals. Filters are great if you don't mind your spam being sorted by someone else. (Notice the word is "sorted" not "stopped.") This is like letting someone else open your postal mail! Also, because spammers keep changing the rules (to get past your filter,) filters make mistakes. (Heck, I know "people" that make mistakes when they're deleting spam email from their inbox!) Anyway, the use of filters alone result in 2 mailboxes that must be checked, your regular inbox and your spam (or quarantined) mailbox. (previewing spamfolders has truly becoming our regular "search for the needle in a hay stack") Here's an interesting statistic - Would you believe, at last look, filters accounted for the blocking of some 9 billion "legitimate" messages/day. (source PC WORLD)

Sender Confirmation - This is almost the perfect system, but when used alone it also has some issues. Sender Confirmation systems allow anyone on your White List instant entry. For senders not on your White List, an email is instantly sent asking them to confirm their address. This process ensures that the sender is instantly notified their message is pending delivery, instead of it mysteriously being dropping into a spam folder. Ok, the problem is? - Spammers sending the egregious spam (the real bad stuff,) often impersonate others (because they don't want to be caught) by using someone else's email address. This results in a Confirmation Request being sent to an individual that never sent you a message.

In my following articles I will discuss:
*) The Anti-Spam Suite -. Bundling the technologies described above into one very powerful solution.
*) Why spammers spam? Are there really profits in it?
*) Eliminate the profits of spamming - by placing a trigger (to penalize) into the hands of the every Internet User.

Stay tuned as I walk you through an anti-spam process that ends with a smile.....