[USS Vanguard] OoC: Bad, Bad Spam

  • From: "andywoho@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <andywoho@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ncv80221@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 7 May 2004 13:34:31 -0500

Thanks for the email, Angus, and welcome home!

Angus had some very good thoughts about the nature of spam and of avoiding spam.

If there's one thing I've learned it's that there's no perfect way to deal with 
spam, unfortunately. It just seems like the new way of life for this technology 
that we like so much.

Having said that, here are a few other tricks I've picked up along the way:

1) Limit how often you give out your email address.

This includes sites that require an email address if you are required to 
register to see their content.

This tactic is certainly not foolproof since you can end up on a list for spam 
through absolutely no fault of your own. For example: Well-meaning friends who 
enter your email address to send you "jokes" from some Web site. 
Congratulations, because now you've ended up on an email list for spam through 
entirely no fault of your own.

The only thing I can think of to do in a situation like this is to be harsh 
about it. Make it clear to your friends directly that you don't wish to end up 
on some joke list, or take the passive-aggressive approach and mention 
something about this in your signature. Make it clear why you won't receive any 
more jokes. Threaten to blacklist your friends, if you have to. (Don't think I 

2) Consequently, set up a second email account to handle your memberships.

Something like andy-general@xxxxxxxxx or andy-general@xxxxxxxxxxx can handle 
those times you want to sign up at iVillage or webmd.com or whatever.

A lot of sites that ask for your email address need to send you an email for 
you to confirm who you are or for you to receive your membership information.

Two problems I have here: (1) Sometimes, on rare occasions, these sites won't 
accept an email address from a freebie site. (2) If this email address is 
clogged with spam, it's hard to find an important email, like the kind you need 
to respond to in order to confirm your membership.

3) Be aggressive about your filters, turn on spam protection (if it's 
available), and never respond to spam.

If you don't know much about filters, here's a pretty good primer:


It's just something I found doing a quick search on Google. If you want to know 
more, I encourage you to read up on email filters by doing a search on Google.

Spam protection is available at a site like Yahoo!. Most of the time, you can 
turn it on and off. Turn it on. If you use a POP3 account (like the kind 
available from your ISP), ask their technical support if they use spam filters. 
If they don't, encourage them to.

Finally, don't respond to spam. Here's a caveat, though. If it's something that 
I know I wasn't looking for (like sales pitches and pornographic sites), then I 
don't respond, even if they have a note like "To stop receiving emails from us, 
reply to this email. That's a surefire way to let them know your email address 
belongs to a breathing human being.

If, however, I start receiving emails like the kind from "Christmas Depot," 
from whom I bought a Christmas ornament for my girlfriend but wanted nothing 
further from, then yes, I respond to their "To stop receiving emails..." 
message. And it works, too.

4) Finally, if all else fails, start taking very aggressive measures, like 
Angus suggested, and start looking into third-party anti-spam tools.

I read about, downloaded, and use MailWasher. MailWasher queries your POP3 mail 
and returns a list of subject lines. You can choose to "blacklist" the sender, 
whereby MailWasher returns a message to them that your email address bounced 
their message. Has it been working? The account I've been working on has gotten 
maybe 25 percent less spam. Agreeably, that's a lot of intervention on my part 
for a 25 percent reduction, but as they say around the World Wide Web, your 
mileage may vary.

I've heard nothing but great things about the SpamBayes system. Spam Bayes 
applications "learn" what you consider spam and what you don't. So far, I've 
downloaded an application, but I've been too busy to work with it. If you're 
interested, try a Google search on "spam bayes" or "spambayes." Other sites 
that are good for free or trial downloads: www.tucows.com, www.download.com, 
www.nonags.com, or pcworld.com's Downloads.

If anyone else has any suggestions, please feel free to post them. Otherwise, 
if you have any questions, send them to me privately.

Please continue to send all email to andywoho@xxxxxxxxxx

This is an email account I use from my workplace.
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