Spam – The Scourge of E-Mail

Spam.  I cannot say how I really feel about spam.  It would be impolite to use such verbiage on the web.  Spam is such an invasive, pervasive, often perverted and always unwelcome arrival in my inbox.  Spam is such a horrible disease in the that it has affected  not only our inbox, but our outbox as well.


About every other month or so, we have to deal with “Spam Buster” services who block our users e-mails because those e-mails come from a web server that they deem (according to various standards) is a source of spam.  I’m sure that their services are benefitting the e-mail world in general.  However, these services are blocking e-mail for EVERYBODY on the server, not just the guilty party.  To make a long story short, spam has become such a problem on the web that everyone will be punished for the actions of those nefarious low lifes pedaling viagra and get rich quick schemes.

So, how can we as everyday web users combat this common enemy?  Are there steps we can take to reduce the spread of this contagion?  Yes, yes there is!  The suggestions below are a few different prescriptions for some powerful anti-spam medicines.  These will not only help prevent you from catching spam in your inbox, but will help those you communicate with, as well.

  1. First off – Never reply to spam.  Never!  All this does is confirm to the spammer that this is a real e-mail address with a real person attached to it.  This is like running through the lions cage at the zoo, wrapped in pork-chops.  If you reply to a spam message, you have confirmed your address.  Spammers then sell “confirmed e-mail” lists to one another.  So, one confirmed spam message can become dozens – if not hundreds of spam messages.  Another trick, never click links in a spam message.  This does the same thing as #1 – it confirms that you received the message, and that your address is a keeper.
  2. If possible, disguise your e-mail address on your website.  FLEXISS has a a handy little script that we use to make e-mail addresses appear as normal to human visitors, but hides them from spam bots – programs that crawl around on the web harvesting e-mail addresses.  Other tricks would be to type out your address in a human readable way, that spam bots are not looking for, such as: myname at yafoo dot net.
  3. Opt out.  You are on the web ordering flowers for you sick aunt.  You have to use your e-mail address at most sites now-a-days, so you put your e-mail address.  Instead of getting 3 messages a week from for the rest of your life, most reputable sites will have an option to opt out of their e-mailing lists.  While legitimate marketing e-mails may or may not classify as spam, they sure fill up the inbox.  However, some sites may sell your e-mail to other agencies.  I would classify this as spam.  It may be worth checking their privacy policy.
  4. Cover your mouth when you sneeze.  Let me rephrase that – if you need to forward something that has been forwarded 97 bazillion times, clean out all the junk and all the other e-mail addresses.  We’ve all seen the forwards that have been around the globe multiple times, and contains more e-mail addresses than you would want to count.  This is unknowingly feeding spammers.  Don’t feed them!
  5. Use a spam filter.  There a a number of relatively usefull spam filters out there.  Some are more user-friendly than others.  Here is a suggestion – select a spam filter that alerts your sender that they have been flagged as spam – or that they need to be confirmed as a friendly e-mailer.  It is rather frustrating to wait and wait for a response for a critical e-mail, only to learn much later that your message never hit the recipients inbox due to a filter.

If you are interested in combating spam, FLEXISS has a number of spam attack plans that we can implement on your FLEXISS website.  Give us a call, and we can discuss some options to help prevent your inbox from becoming a spam filled nightmare.



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