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Wed, November 12 2003 6:43 PM

Last modified:
Sat, April 23 2005 3:10 PM

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spam, uckk!

We aren't just talking about that canned meat product. We're talking spam. Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) is the scourge of the modern age. What is it? Why do I get so much? What can I do about it? Read on.

what is spam?

Unsolicited e-mail, often of a commercial nature, sent indiscriminately to multiple mailing lists, individuals, or newsgroups; junk e-mail.

To indiscriminately send large amounts of unsolicited e-mail meant to promote a product or service. Spam in this sense is sort of like the electronic equivalent of junk mail sent to "Occupant". In the 1990s, with the rise in commercial awareness of the net, there are actually scumbags who offer spamming as a "service" to companies wishing to advertise on the net. They do this by mailing to collections of e-mail addresses, Usenet news, or mailing lists. Such practises have caused outrage and aggressive reaction by many net users against the individuals concerned.

why do i get so much?

Because it works. No really, we are not kidding on this point. If you wish to stop receiving junk email one of the best long term solutions is to stop responding to any UCE. You get spam because people all over keep responding to that oh so tempting offer to "lose weight fast", "get that miracle drug cheap", or "increase the size of this or that".

Spam is no more than a way for someone out there to make maoney. If they don't make much money doing it they probably will find more gainful employment. Making the sending of spam less profitable is the only way to reduce it.

So, you say "I have never responded to one of those offers!". Hmmmmm... OK. Most people have let their curiosity or the urge to get some deal that seems to good to be true get to them. Many people have responded, even if you haven't.

what can i do about it?

Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Get our VirusWall service
  2. Hey, you asked! We think it is a reasonably priced service and you get virus scanning to boot.

  3. NEVER respond or unsubscribe
  4. responding or unsubscribing from junk email merely confirms to the spammers that your email is a valid address and someone is actually reading it. Spammers get paid more for addresses like this so don't get yours listed in a "preferred" spam database and just delete the mail.

  5. Do not give your primary address when signing up for "free" stuff or at gaming sites.
  6. Nothing is free and this is a great example of that. You are paying for whatever you get by being added to some spammer's list and getting sent tons of junk email. The primary existance of these types of sites is to harvest email addresses. I know it seems that they are interested in your entertainment or enjoyment. Trust us on this one. They only entertain you to colloect addresses. Use an address from Yahoo!, msn, or hotmail to subscribe to these sites. They are free, well actually you pay for them by viewing ads, and you only need to use them to sign up.

  7. Limit newsgroup postings or participation
  8. Contact the company whose product they peddle
  9. This is probably the most time consuming. It also has the greatest potential for success. Companies generally listen to their market. If you forward their junk mail back to them and tell them you won't buy their products until they put a halt to this it is likely to have an affect. We are not saying to respond to the address or offer. We are talking about forwarding the mail to the companiy whose product is being hocked. If this happens enough producers are likely to start putting restrictions in their distribution contracts. You could also look them up on the net, contact them directly via phone or snail mail.

  10. Use an email client like Thunderbird that has spam filtering built in
  11. It is free and has some great features. You'll be glad you did. It also has the advantage of not being Microsoft Outlook. That by itself means you are less likley to get a virus or have problems reading attachments. You will find a step by step help on setting Thunderbird up here.

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