Spam currently makes up two-thirds of all email received. This figure is astounding, and experts are predicting that the volume of spam will continue to increase. Spam is more than just an annoyance; it can clog mail servers and seriously damage productivity.
So how can you avoid being deluged with spam every time you get your mail? Here are some tactics you can use to greatly reduce the amount of spam you receive. Combining these tactics can help you read your e-mail in peace, without being accosted by continual spam. Take the Five Steps for Setting Up a Spam Defense.
1. Remove email links from your Web site. Spam “robots” are continually scouring the Internet in search of new e-mail addresses. Removing actual links to your e-mail and replacing them with a spelled-out e-mail address such as email@example.com can greatly reduce your current amount of spam. You can also create graphics that display your e-mail address. (Spam robots can’t read the text in graphic form.) If you have never used your current e-mail address other than for company email, and you’re still getting spammed, this may be the culprit.
2. Do not give out your business e-mail address. Many people find that after signing up for a newsletter or registering at a certain site, they are suddenly inundated with spam. Many companies harvest their visitors’ e-mail addresses and sell them to the highest bidder. If you must provide an e-mail address for a purchase, subscription, or registration, use a non-company account with a free webmail provider, such as Hotmail or Gmail.
3. Do not ask to be removed. Many people make the mistake of replying to spam e-mail messages and asking to be removed from the list. Ironically, attempting to remove yourself may result in even more junk e-mail. Unsubscribing lets spammers know that they have a “live one” on the other end. Learn more about How Spammers Operate.
4. Never buy and never reply. Don’t respond to spam solicitations. Buying products that are advertised in spam messages encourages spammers to continue. If you truly need what’s being offered, find it from a reputable business. Replying to a spam message is a definite mistake, and will almost always result in more spam.
5. Block spam at the server level. Many hosting companies allow you to employ a spam blocker, such as Spam Assassin, at the server level. This means that your spam will be shuttled to a particular junk folder before you ever see it. However, these e-mail messages will remain on your server until you delete them. Check through these messages to make sure that the spam filter was not too aggressive, and has not mistakenly tagged good e-mail as spam.
6. Use your e-mail client’s built-in spam filters. Most e-mail clients are now equipped with some sort of spam filter. Don’t be afraid to use yours. It may take a little time to set up, but it will be time well spent, and infinitely better than wading through thousands of spam messages.
7. Purchase a spam filter. If your e-mail client’s spam filter is not doing the job, you can purchase a commercial alternative. There are many products out there, including SpamCop, that can filter out even cloaked spam messages. SpamCop also provides a free service to report spammers who are targeting your e-mail address.