April 13, 2010

Simple Steps to Defeating SPAM

GMail SPAM filter is fighting a losing battle. I am doing some ANTI-SPAM testing. For the past 4 months I have been very public with my Gmail email address, signing up for newsletters, using it on forms, and sharing it publicly on forums, blogs, and discussion boards. I expected to get SPAMMED to death, that's exactly what's beginning to happen. Everyday, I receive about 20 junk emails. I know that is small, but for someone who is use to never seeing SPAM in their inbox, it's a quite bit.

I did this sort of testing, once before with Yahoo! Mail, and I took the time to get rid of all my SPAM (from coming into the inbox). I'll share my secret.

1. First, you should have 3 email addresses; (@.hotmail, @.yahoo, @.gmail). These 3 email addresses should represent your public (personal) email address, your business email address, and your spam catcher). Remember the less you publicly use your email address, the less SPAM you'll have.

2. If you wish to use your public or business email address, each site you travel to, (which you plan or must share your email address) you should check the site Privacy Policy. You don't have to study the policy, but finger through it and see what their policy is about sharing your information. If the policy doesn't have this clause or the site doesn't have a Privacy Policy (visibly linked) then be skeptical and assume this site plans to share your information. Many sites claim to be legit and have a privacy policy in place, but through the backdoor they sell your information, so never put all trust into the privacy policy, just make good judgment. The best thing about managing your SPAM is that you can speculate how someone got your email address, because your amount of SPAM is down to a minimum and you are securely managing your email address. Any place you need to enter your email address and you feel skeptical about using your public or business email address then you should enter your spam catcher email.

3. Your public (personal) email address should be used for public trusted sources, such as: on forums, discussion boards which you frequent. You should use this address only on sites which you trust and visit on a day-to-day or occasional basis. Your public email address should be used for sign-up forms (only sites you want information from). Your public email address should also be used to subscribe to newsletters which you initiate. Your public (personal) email address should be your most commonly used email address for basic day-to-day communication. This is the email address you should share with family, friends, and co-workers.

4. Your business email address should be used for business contacts. In fact, your business email should NOT be a free email address, it should be an email address with your company, your website, or your business name (example: @.yourcompanyname.com). If you don't have a company, business, or website then use a free email address and make this your email address for professional purposes, such as putting this email on your resume, etc. This should be for extremely trusted sources. You should only share your business email address with individuals you connect with one-on-one on a professional or business level. Example: You shouldn't share this email address with the customer service staff of a company, but you should share this email address with the CEO of the company. This is your exclusive email address. In some instances you may share your business email address with the customer service staff, but the source should be trusted and you should make good judgment. Example: If the company plans to send you sensitive information via email, like money market account information. Your business email can be used for signing up at sites which you will use your credit card and is a highly respectable and honest site, world renown. This email should only be used with those whom you trust with your information and trust will not share or send you advertisements. You should only use this email address to get company related information or information which directly affects you or your business on a consumer or business level. You should NEVER publish your business email address on any website, forum, discussion board, or any other publicly available media.

5. Your spam catcher email address is the email address you should use at any time you feel skeptical, when you don't trust a site, or when a site doesn’t provide you information that you wish to receive. Many sites have products, programs, or services which you want, but to register or to move forward you must enter an email address (and most of the time the email address must be valid and confirmed), therefore you should have a spam catcher email address, for non-trusted sources. Using your spam catcher email address you could easily register at any site while using a valid email address, which you can log into and confirm the authenticity of the email addresses.

6. Use the 'Report Spam' feature of your email client. Most online and now even software (local install) email clients have a 'Report Spam' feature which blocks the delivery of future mail from the sender. It is important to make good use of this feature, because it will help keep your inbox free of unwanted mail. The only email addresses you are worried about receiving spam from is your personal email address and business email address, the spam catcher email address should not be an account you log into daily, you should only log into your spam catcher email address to confirm an email. At this point you shouldn't receive any spam into your business email address account, if you followed the steps above, but if you do then make sure you use the 'Report Spam' feature so you can block future delivery. Use the 'Report Spam' feature immediately when you receive spam so there is no delay and to be sure you don't miss a spam message. In your personal email address account you will probably receive spam messages or unwanted mail, if you do then make sure you use the 'Report Spam' feature each time you receive a piece of unwanted mail, within a few months and good email address management (following the steps above) you should never or rarely see any spam coming into your inbox.

If you receive any mail into your inbox, then make sure you use the "Report Spam" feature within the email client. This should soon eliminate any mail you do not wish to have. Following the steps above is imperative to getting a good clean inbox. Managing your email address is ultimately your responsibility and you should know who you share your information with. Most people use only one email address for all their communication, this technique is not the best option. You should use at least 3 email addresses adhering to the steps above. You can simply log into one account, your personal email address or your business email address and just have the email from the other forwarded to the account you log into most. You can also send email from the account under either your personal or business email address. Setting up forwarders and multiple sender accounts is not a hard task in the 3 major online email clients. For some additional steps may need to be taken, like with Yahoo! you must have a paid account to forward your email, but from Gmail you can automatically forward your email where you like for FREE. So, if you forward your Gmail email to your Yahoo! account and setup multiple accounts within your Yahoo! Account then you are in good shape. Use the Hotmail account as your spam catcher. This is just a thought, but you can set it up any way you like, its your preference. Currently, I have a paid Yahoo! account and I use my Yahoo! account as my business email address. I use my Gmail account as my personal email, and I use my Hotmail account as my spam catcher. My Yahoo! mail is forwarded directly to my Gmail account, and I have a sender account setup in my Gmail account, which will send mail as my Yahoo! email address. I use Gmail Notify and know instantly whenever I receive new mail from either my public (personal) or business email address. I rarely log into my Hotmail account, only to confirm an email or just to login so my account doesn’t close. This proactive approach has kept my inbox clean for years and now I’m sure it will help you with your fight against SPAM!
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April 9, 2010

Spammers And Spam Hunters

Sometimes I don't know which people are the worst. Those that spam or those that say they are going after spammers.

I deleted 145 spam posts on one of my blogs today. Fortunately I have moderate comments turned on so they never actually get posted. That makes the spammers bad, but that’s the worst inconvenience spammers have caused me.

However those that supposedly are our Spam saviors. Those that say they are fighting spam have caused me more problems than the spammers themselves.

Sorbs.net lists your domain name as a spam domain name if you happen to be hosted on or near the same IP address as the spammers. Therefore you are guilty by association.

To get your domain name removed off of sorbs.net's list, you have to give them money. Sounds a lot like extortion since they manually add you to the list then ask you for money to be removed.

Then of course they tell you that they give the money to charity. I checked out the charity they say they give the money to. It goes to a legal defense fund they could use to defend themselves if you sued them. Some charity.

Twice now blogger.com has caused me spamconvenience. They have locked me out of one of my own blogs and one I manage for a client because their spambot said it might be spam. It also says that if you are a human reading this message then of course I am not likely a spambot and they will correct the situation.

They did this even though on that blog they require me to type into the little box whatever crazy letters they have in the little graphic to make each post on that same blog.

Half the time the little picture isn't even there. So you cannot type the little letters into the box because the little letters don't exist. So how can they use that method to make sure I am not spamming, then flag it as a spam blog?

However since I get paid to blog daily on the client's blog, my loss of income, that I am sure Google will not reimburse me for, is just that lost income due to the spam fighters.

They did this today to the client's blog. They are reviewing it they say. Like to see that blog? Go to http://infogeology.blogspot.com It's not spam.

The first time it happened was one day after I created the blog. It had exactly one post in it. Wow, what a spammer I am. They blocked me from logging in but sent me a very nice email, which I had not opted in for, saying they would be glad to review that blog too. They even provided a nice link to where I could fill out a form to request a review.

When I followed their nice link in the unsolicited email, (not spam), they sent me, it asked me to log in using the username and password that THEY HAD ALREADY BLOCKED ME FROM USING!

So that blog had to be rebuilt elsewhere. Again, I have had way more trouble from spam fighters than I ever have had from spammers. Well, that’s all for my rant. Now I have to see if I can get the little picture below to load so I can see what stupid letters I have to type into the box so you can see this post.
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April 5, 2010

Steps to Reducing SPAM in Your Inbox

Spam first made its mark in the world in 1978 when Gary Thuerk, Marketing Director of Digital Equipment Technology sent an email solicitation to 400 employees at Arpnet. The email created a few sales, but it also created fierce backlash. Today, more than 180 billion spam messages are sent out each day to over 1 billion Internet users. This staggering statistic makes it clear why spam is such a major problem for Internet users. Many companies are working hard to solve the spam problem, but the first step to stopping spam starts with the consumer.

By following the steps below, Internet users can reduce the number of spam email messages they receive in their inbox.

Before an Invasion of Spam

Software:
Choose email providers that offer built-in spam protection services. Look for service providers that promote a high success rate of blocking spam email.

Spam Filters:
Spam is a cat and mouse game. Spammers are constantly looking for ways to bypass filters. Regularly check your spam filter software if you’re using non-web based email to make sure it is up to date. If you’re using web-based email,m make sure your webmail provider is working hard to protect you from spam.

Improve Security:
A firewall may be one of the most important applications on a computer. It acts as a barrier between hackers and the computer, and prevents access to unauthorized information.

Limit Email Dispersal:
When performing online transactions, thoroughly scan the page for any checked and unchecked boxes. Some companies will word these boxes in a way to increase the likelihood of a consumer opting-in to their email campaigns.

Shop From Known Vendors:
Shopping from known vendors can greatly reduce the threat of spam email. Many companies are guilty of selling email addresses to third parties, which are then used for spam. The company’s privacy policy is supposed to list their intended uses of your personal information, such as whether they will sell your email address to third parties. Consumers can check the Better Business Bureau’s and the FTC’s (Federal Trade Commission) websites for lists of reputable companies and for lists of violators.

Once Spam Becomes a Problem

Internet users should avoid opening spam
. It should be immediately deleted. Pay close attention to the senders email address as most spammers use deceptive subject lines intended to promote opening. If opened, avoid attachments, which may contain viruses, and do not purchase goods or donate to charities solicited in the message. Many spam email messages will have unsubscribe links at the bottom of the message, as dictated by the CAN-SPAM Act.

If consumers find themselves with an inbox full of spam, they can also report the spam emails to their Internet Service Provider.

There are numerous companies and organizations designed to regulate the Internet and protect users. But, it is important that Internet users are informed of the threats of spam. By following the stated suggestions and by not falling victim to the ploys of spammers, users can help put spammers out of business, and keep their inbox free of junk email.
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March 31, 2010

Strategies To Fight Email Spam

If you are a business owner and you rely on email, spam is going to be a major concern. How you address it can make a big difference in employee efficiency. Email spam has been a nuisance and has gotten even worse over the last several years. Email spam slows down server performance and can eat away at storage. Cleaning all those bad messages out of your inbox is time consuming. The easiest way for viruses to spread is via email.

Having a strategy to deal with email spam and viruses threats is essential for any business to survive and be productive. You can limit the negative impact to your business by having policies and guidelines in place.

Tips to avoid getting email spam:

  • If you have a company web site, use a contact form that the web site visitor can fill out. Some spam mers use robots that crawl web pages looking for email addresses. Your web site designer should be able to help you with this.
  • When signing up for forums, products and services use a free email or throwaway account like hotmail or Yahoo mail.
  • When signing up for offers be careful what boxes you check although technically not spam you may get a lot of email offers you do not want.
  • Never reply to an email spam message, this just lets them know that your account is active.
  • You may want to use a throwaway email address if you post on newsgroups or forums.
  • These measures may help to reduce spam, but if you have an old email address you may want to change your email address or deploy a spam filter system. There are several choices for anti spam systems you could buy software that runs locally on your PC to filter the spam, but this can be expensive, does not prevent virus infection, and is not a good choice in a networked environment. Managing individual machine spam software is inefficient.
If you have limited technical resources you can outsource you email spam filtering to a hosted anti spam and virus solution provider. Spam filter service providers colocate their spam and virus filters in data centers with redundant power and network connections. You will need to change your mail exchanger on your dns servers to point to the service providers spam filters. Your service provider will then scrub your email for spam and viruses. They then forward your email to your mail server minus the spam and viruses. This gives you a few extra layers of protection. In the event of a network outage or server downtime your email is held and is delivered when the network or your server is available minus the virus and spam. Spam filter services also scan for viruses; this adds another layer of defense to the virus software already running on your network.

If you have an organization with more than one hundred email boxes investing in your own spam filter appliance is the most cost effective solution if you have the technical expertise to manage the system. A spam appliance sits in front of your email server and blocks spam and viruses. The price of the spam appliance will depend upon your number of users, amount of mail and storage requirements.

Fighting spam is no longer be a losing battle if you have a good strategy to deal with the threat.
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March 24, 2010

Free Spam Blockers

Remember when spam was just another horrible thing you would never eat? And then you grew up a little and spam became the lyrics to a great Monty Python song. And now spam is something to avoid at all costs. Or, in the case of free spam blockers, at no cost at all. Everything is better when it’s free, right? Such is the case with blocking out annoying spam from your email account, too.

Free spam blockers are popping up all over the internet. Kind of ironic, isn’t it, that some pop-up ads are advertising spam blocking technology. The problem with spam isn’t really the content, of course, it’s the time spent winnowing through all those e-mails in search of the ones that really contain useful information or are from people with whom you want to contact. The best free spam blockers in the world are not only free, but don’t take up any space on your computer. Yes, I’m talking about being very careful to whom you give your e-mail address.

The plain simple truth is that any time you fill out a form that asks for your e-mail address, you are just asking for spam. Maybe the site where you filled out the form sold your address to mass marketers and maybe they didn’t, but chances are if you have ever given your e-mail address to a company rather than an individual, you received spam because of it. And if you’re like most people doing business on the internet, you’re spending anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour and a half just checking your e-mail every day. You don’t have time to wade through the spam pool. That’s why getting yourself one of the reliable free spam blockers out there is so important.

You can almost instantly tell when you’ve come across one of these free spam blockers because of their oh-so-clever name. For instance, Spamhilator, SpamButcher, or SpamKiller. And you want to know a secret? They are almost all exactly alike. Oh sure, there are little differences that may mean a lot to you personally, but frankly it doesn’t matter. The best thing you can do is download them as a trial version—and with so many on the market offering trial versions, it makes no sense to ever download any of the free spam blockers that don’t offer trial versions—and check them out to make sure they do what they promise. And if they do what they promise, do they do it with a minimum amount of fuss and muss and maintenance on you part.

The key to using free spam blockers is maintenance. You got one in the first place to give yourself more time to do what you need to do. So why would you want to use a spam blocker is high maintenance itself? Go through all the free spam blockers that interest you and then narrow them down until you find the one that works completely in the background without throwing out stuff you really need and that doesn’t require you to keep checking up on it. That’s the one you want.
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