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What Is SPAM? How Do I Reduce it?

SPAM, or unwanted email messages, is one of the biggest problems on the internet today.

In fact, some commentators believe that it could lead to the whole internet grinding to a halt within a few years.

Don't hold your breath waiting for government legislation to reduce it either. The recently introduced CAN-SPAM Act has resulted in an increase of unwanted email.

Where Does SPAM come From?

It used to come mainly from high speed servers, which sent out uncountable millions of messages per day. However, this is changing to millions of "zombie" machines around the world which, unknown to the owner, contain a little program which obeys instructions from a remote user somewhere on the internet.

This user can send SPAM to this computer, and command it to relay it to hundreds of addresses. SPAM distributed in this manner is more difficult to fight.

If you are using an unprotected computer on the internet, it will almost certainly have harmful programs on it - and may be spewing out thousands of SPAM messages without you even knowing about it.

Please check our software page if you need more information about this.

How Did the Spammers find My Email address?

If you have a website with email addresses on it, you'll eventually receive SPAM (junk email). Guaranteed.

"Spam Bots" will pay a visit to your website and collect email addresses they find there. These then get put onto CD's for sale to spammers and unwary internet newcomers who use them to send out millions of emails - many of them to YOU.

Ever received a message trying to sell you insurance, porn, or offers of $10 million from Nigeria? It's almost certain that they got your address from one of these CD's.

Hints To Reduce SPAM

 

Here's how you can reduce the chances of your addresses being used by Spammers:

#1 - Reduce the number of email addresses

Don't put more email addresses on your website than you really need. If you have 10 email addresses for your domain, you'll get 10 times the spam - one for each address.

#2 - Don't use your email address in forums or newsgroups

Forums and newsgroups are regularly harvested for email addresses. Never use your ISP email address in newsgroups. Just get a throwaway hotmail or yahoo email account, and discard it when the spam levels get too big to handle.

If you have your own domain name and professional hosting account, you can set up email aliases that can be bounced back to the sender if the address starts receiving too much spam. Then you just create another one. (Repeat as often as required)

 

#3 - NEVER reply to an unsubscribe link in a SPAM message.

All this will do is confirm that the address is live, and you'll start getting MORE SPAM.

However, Be aware that it is a requirement of Anti-Spam legislation that commercial messages include a working unsubscribe address.

This leads to the confusing situation of not knowing which unsubscribe addresses will take you off the list, and which ones will result ion you getting more mail.

I'd suggest that if in doubt, don't click on the unsubscribe address. Hopefully you'll know the genuine newsletters to which you have subscribed - and you should be OK clicking their unsubscribe links.

 

#4 - Disguise Your Email Address

The simplest method is to make your website email addresses invalid, with a clue so that humans can repair them.
For example, the address eric@100host.com could be disguised as:
eric @ 100host.com (space before and after the @ )
ericAT100host.com
eric@100host.comREMOVETHISBEFORESENDING
eric@REMOVETHIS100host.com

The disadvantage of using these simple methods is that you have to rely on someone to correct your intentional mistake.

#5 - Hide your address with Unicode

E-Cloaker http://www.codefoot.com/software/ecloaker/index.html
This little utility converts your email addresses into Unicode, which is very difficult for SPAM harvesters to read - so they ignore it.

Just put your email address into this program, and paste the generated unicode text into your web page.

Unicode is readable by all web browsers, and is our current preferred method of hiding email addresses.

#6 - Hide your address with Java Script

 

This fragment of JavaScript code produces a link labelled "Send Us An Email" that opens the users email program when clicked, and will send a message to sales@100host.com.
To change it to suit your needs, just alter the contents of the address, hostname, and linktext entries.
(Please note that this will not work in browsers that have javascript turned off)

<script language=javascript>
< !--
var username = "sales";
var hostname = "100host.com";
var linktext = "Send Us An Email";
document.write("<a href=" + "mail" + "to:" + username +
" @" + hostname + ">" + linktext + "</a>")
//-->
< /script>

 

 

 

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