5 ways to stop spam from reaching your mail box Author: Joel Teo
5 ways to stop spam from reaching your mail box
By Joel Teo 2005 All Rights Reserved
UCE or unsolicited commercial email is getting worse by the day and Microsoft has announced that in the future it will be developing a system in which email sending and receiving will be like our postal mail where a digital stamp has to be bought to send it. But until then marketers online will be continuing to send emails to potential customers in the hope of converting some of the leads that they buy into buying customers.
The internet arena of emailing is a murky one in which your email might be traded and sold in some internet networks which I have seen sell and trade in email contacts online. That is the reason why when you get one type of spam email, you tend to get more of the same type of email as your email has been sold to a large emailing list which is in turn sold to marketers to email to.
This article will highlight some ways in which spammers can get your email address and highlight ways to deal with them.
1.Non Cloaked emails on websites
This is actually one of the most easy way to get spam. I’ve talked to a system administrator in the office and she expressed surprise at not knowing about this. Most people start building a website on free webhosts and then add their email address at the bottom of the website. While this is good for website usability which is a separate topic altogether, it allows unscrupulous people to harvest your email address with powerful online website crawling programs. What these programs do is crawl websites and then classify them and sell the extracted leads to lead vendors. So if your website is about health, they might classify your extracted email address as a health lead and sell it to other marketers to email to you.
The simple solution to this problem is to do email cloaking. This is usually a simple script which breaks up your email into two parts when a robot on the internet crawls your website. But to the normal user who looks at it, the browser combines it together to show a normal email address. Do a simple google search for “email cloaking script” and you should be able to do this by copying the script into your website.
So then you prevent spam and at the same time allow people to continue to contact you.
Another simpler solution which may confound some of your website users who are not so internet savvy is just to do use /at/ instead of @. So for instance your email will read Abc/at/abc.com rather than email@example.com. However as mentioned, if your target audience is older and not so good with the internet, this may be a problem and prevent them from contacting you.
2.Spam via cookies or malicious code or programs
Spyware flooding your computer is a real problem. Most people do not really realize this until they find popups suddenly appearing when they reach some pages or find that their starting page has been high jacked by some website. When you visit a website like Yahoo and log in, a cookie is deposited into your computer browser to tell Yahoo that you have logged in to their system. These cookies have short life spans and self delete when you log out of the system.
However there are some websites that have cookies for the sole purpose of tracking all email sent into and out of your computer when the browser is on. It then tracks your name and email address and sends it secretly to a central server where it then sells you name and email address to email lists. Thus some people report an increase in spam after visiting certain websites and this may be the reason.
Another reason for spam can be attributed to malicious code which can possibly install itself into your browser without you knowing it and does the same thing as the cookies in the above example but on a longer term basis as the cookies would be deleted when you clear your cookies and cache in your browser. Some of this malicious code can even do keyword logging and send your passwords and bank IDs to the programmer who came up with the code!
The best solution to the problem is to download the Mozilla Firefox Internet browser which has a built in security system which prevents such malicious code from being installed into your web browser without your knowledge and allows you to clear your cache and cookies easily. I do this on a constant basis to prevent my email inbox from being filled with spam.
3.Spyware via free programs installed
Another reason why there is an increase in spam is that there are third party spyware that is bundled with free software which is why the software is free in the first place because the spyware companies pay the programmer to bundle it with their software. Always look at the agreement before downloading any free wallpapers or free programs like weather programs as there could be a possibility that spyware could be bundled together with it and flood your email box with spam.
The best solution is to download Spyware Search and Destroy or Lavasoft’s Adaware anti-spyware programs to detect and clear any spyware from your computer. In addition, you might find that your computer might run faster when you are connected to the internet as the spyware does take up some bandwidth in its communication to the central server.
Some of the more powerful email programs have the ability to flood servers with permutations of email addresses. This means that they can basically email anyone online because they have powerful computers which run software which blasts emails to all permutations and one of them may be yours.
The more legitimate marketers will have an opt out link at the bottom of the email so that you can actually opt out of the list. On the other hand, some of the real offshore spammers have servers in China and Russia so when you do click on the link to opt out, it actually confirms that your email address is working so ironically sometimes it is best to just delete spam rather than reply to it.
Spam is also derived from free offers. When you signup for some online service, there is thing called co-registration where they have many boxes for you to tick. Generally what this means is you are asking the online service to send your email address and name to an online marketer who is going to sell it to others to email to. While this is not spam as you have opted into it, it may become irritating after a while.
The better solution that I do personally is to create an email from Yahoo for the sole purpose of free offers so that I can let that email be flooded with spam. So you can get the free offer and not face the possibility of deleting 500 spam emails daily in your personal email inbox.
In conclusion, spam can be reduced if you are aware of the reasons and the ways in which online marketers and spammers can get your email. Taking an active step today to prevent them from getting your personal email is a great step forward to reducing the amount of spam you have in your inbox.