A few weeks ago, the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back occurred in my Inbox when a spam message slipped through Norton's Spam Filter. That in and of itself wasn't really a problem -- out of the 25+ spam messages a day I get, a few would slip through Norton's filtering software.
In this situation, my usual response was to right-click on the spam message and add it to the list of Adult Content Senders -- whether the spam was for re-financing my mortgage, a diet plan, get-rich-quick, or something to increase my *ahem* strength, size and endurance.
But this time was different. When I right-clicked the email, the preview pane in Outlook popped open with a pornographic image -- real people, real color, doing very unreal acts upon each other.
I was flabbergasted! I've had countless solictations to go to this naughty site or that, but until that email message, no pornographer had the audacity to forward pornography into my Inbox without my consent or my request.
That did it. I couldn't wait for Congress and Microsoft and AOL to resolve this problem.
The quandry, of course, is creating a mechanism that ensures you get all the good email -- even email from sources that may not be in your address book, but which you wish to receive nonetheless -- from all the rubbish that is emailed by the billions each day. How can you do that?
Here's my solution, which so far has worked extremely well. I'll tell you the caveat up-front: it requires spending a little money, say, $40-$60 a year, and a little time, too. If you ain't got no money or time to spend, this won't be a good solution.
I have a personal website. The European web hosting company I use is very reliable and has excellent support. Moreover, they allow me to create up to 999 email accounts for my domain. The accounts are self-managed: I can set them up myself and do with them as I see fit.
What I've done is I've created a single, personal email account. No one knows it except close friends and family members. They know enough not to share that email account with anyone, period.
I have a second email account. This one I use for all my personal business, including site registrations. But I never actually give out the name of this account.
Instead, I set-up aliases for my personal-business account. I use a unique alias for each website I register with. The alias is nothing more than an email forwarder. When I register at a new site, I usually just makeup an email name and then follow-up with adding a new email forwarder to my personal domain.
For example, when I registered at this site, I registered my email as pocketpcthoughts(at-sign)famousdavis.com. Then I created an email forwarding account that moves all email sent to this address to my private personal-business email account.
Here's why this is so useful. Suppose PocketPCthoughts.com decides to sell my email account to a spamming company. 8O All of a sudden, I'm getting spam email sent to pocketpcthoughts(at-sign)famousdavis.com, along with the weekly newsletters that this site sends out! :evil: And of course, once one spammer gets my email account, it takes just a day before 10 more spammers start sending me email, so the open wound begins to fester. :devilboy:
When I examine the email header, I can usually see to which email alias was the spam message sent. In my example, the spam message I received would have been sent to the pocketpcthoughts(at-sign)famousdavis.com account. My reaction is twofold: 1) I shutdown this email forwarder so all email is immediately deleted, period. Second, I take appropriate action to whoever sold me out to the spammers.
This is a great response! My personal-business email account is never compromised (well, it was briefly compromised, but just briefly). The crack in the dam is plugged.
Since I already wanted my own personal website, I'm not really spending any extra money for this solution -- I'd have a personal website whether or not I implemented this technique.
I do have the trouble of creating a new email redirector whenever I need a new site registration -- but that little trouble safeguards my Inbox, and protects my sense of privacy.
So now, only friends and family members send email to my personal email account, and only businesses with privacy statements stating that they won't sell me out to spammers go into my personal-business email account. If any business DOES sell my account to a spammer, *I* have the power to stem the tide and closing the email forwarder and keeping spam from infiltrating my personal-business email account.
What do you think of my spam solution?
*** Edited by moderator KC 22-Aug-03 to change posted email address to be less easily harvested by spammers.
It's a good spam solution, but it requires two things:
1) An un-compromised email address
2) A domain hosting package with email
I personally have #2, but not #1 - my email has been around for years, and it's not something that I can change to. But if someone is just starting out with a new domain, this is a *great* solution if you're willing to put in the work to make it work.
Famousdavis, that is a very good idea. Actually though, there's already (at least one) company that provides that service: Mailshell. It does basically what you describe.. letting you make many addresses, that each forward to your real address, which is hidden. They also let you send mail from any of your addresses there, so you can send mail to people and not let them find out your real address.
I'm lucky enough to not get any spam, but if I did (I used to get tons, but switched addresses) I would get MailShell in a heartbeat.
I have tried so many different ways to deal with Spam/Junk email including having an email address that no one knows about but family and friends but even that one has started to get garbage in it lately. I use a product called "I hate spam" and it works ok but I wish the goverment would get off thier collective behinds and deal with this issue. But then again in Canada our politicians play golf instead of dealing with the many problems that face us each day...
I've been doing pretty much the same thing for about a year now. I've gotten the same spam addressed to sales@, salesinf@, and salessales@, all of which I've set to bounce now. If anyone send a message to those addresses, it will bounce back to them as undeliverable. I've only had to bounce one address so far that I used when purchasing a piece of software.
I would, however, strongly suggest removing your e-mail address from your original forum post. If you leave it, you will start to get spam at that address after the spambots scan through the forums. When that happens, it'll appear as though PPC Thoughs sold you out, when in fact, the bots just grabbed the e-mail address out of your post. At the very least, do something like "pocketpcthoughts-AT-famousdavis,com" so that it's not a recognizable as an e-mail address to anyone but a human.
__________________ Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
I would, however, strongly suggest removing your e-mail address from your original forum post. If you leave it, you will start to get spam at that address after the spambots scan through the forums. When that happens, it'll appear as though PPC Thoughs sold you out, when in fact, the bots just grabbed the e-mail address out of your post.
I changed it some. famousdavis - feel free to make the "hiding" more complex if you wish.
I, too, do the same thing, and have since I obtained my domain name(s). I find it to work pretty well. I don't actually bounce anything, per se, but I do keep a mental note of which email addresses have been compromised, and I could easily start bouncing them.
Eh, I use my Hotmail account for all purchases etc. Spam goes there. I don't care who sells the address, not worth worrying about, I expect any business I give my address to to eventually sell it. Maybe they won't, but if they do, I don't care, it's just my hotmail account, I already get 20-50 spam messages there every day(sometimes more!), and I get no personal mail there, I just go there every so often and delete. I keep receipts from my web purchases there too, until I receive whatever I ordered. I changed my real email address a few months ago when I got a new ISP and have been very careful with it so I get no spam there. I do get the Nigeria scam email a couple times a week but that's it, and I think I know why I get those.
I trialed spam software that would send fake "bounced mail" messages to spammers, before I changed my email address, but even after a month, I noticed no change in the amount of spam I got. I guess the only way to stop it is to not let it start. Don't expect the government to do anything either; spammers are international, not very possible to police. Only when it no longer is profitable for them will it stop....and I don't have a clue how that could happen!
I don't get that much spam. I will get 2-5 junk mail messages a week in one of my hotmail accounts and that's it. I guess I'm lucky. I also have my own personal one that is my mail server that I do not submit to sites (exept when purchasing somthing), that's what my hotmail one is for. It's still a good idea Davis, just a little overkill for me.