I Do Not Like That Stuff Called SPAM, I Do Not Like It, 'Spam I Am!'
© 2000, by Harmony Major
How annoying is unsolicited email? Pretty darn annoying indeed.
Even so, spam (unsolicited email) is inevitable in your online
business, as much as we hate to think so. However, there ARE
definite measures you can take to reduce the amount of junk mail
that consumes your time on a day-to-day basis.
1. SET UP EMAIL FILTERS.
My primary advice to you is NOT to waste time tracking down each
and every spammer that crosses your path, but instead, to focus
that energy and effort on profit-generating endeavors like
marketing your business. After all, our time as online business
owners is already an endangered species. Instead, use your email
program to filter suspect email directly into the trash bin.
The trash filter can be an exceedingly dangerous weapon if you
don't know how to use it, and you can end up sending
legitimate emails and offers right to the garbage. So, to avoid
that, here are some words and phrases that are *generally* safe
to filter directly into that email heaven in the sky.
NOTE: The words and symbols below would appear in the subject
line of spam-related email. In the case of phrases, be sure
to filter the phrase EXACTLY as shown below. As an aside, the
filters on most email programs are usually not case sensitive.
All of the suggestions above are arguable. Depending on the type
of business you're running, some of the words or phrases may very
well be legitimate when included in the subject of an email. But, in
my experience in the online marketing field, subject lines containing
those words almost always signal spam, and can be safely filtered
into the trash.
- Spy guide
- long distance
- University Diplomas
- bulk email
- President please
- Homeworkers Needed
- Email your ad to
- Work from home
- Win a free
- Free cash grant
- offshore wealth
- extra income
- work at home
- make money
- cable TV
- a million dollars
- Increase business sales!
- ground floor
- fat burning
- home based business
- fulfill your potential
- breaking news
- web hosting!
- extra money
- stop smoking
- this email is sent in compliance with
(This particular phrase is for the BODY
of an e-mail.)
You can also filter using the "From" field, and send e-mail from
particular addresses, domains, or even the name of a person known
to send frequent spam mail right to the trash bin. Here are a few
proven spammers and domains that I filter into the trash, based
on past experience:
And remember, even if you happen to be interested in things like
the best deals in "long distance," getting out of "debt," or how
to bulk "email your ad to" thousands, millions, or whatever ...
would you honestly consider doing business with (and especially
buying something from) a stranger that uses such an annoying and
*poorly targeted* marketing tactic? Or, would you ask a trusted
and well-respected colleague to give you a reliable reference?
- Susan Cohen
And, doesn't it make much more sense to buy a "safe, *no-spam*
e-mail list" from a legitimate business or company -- NOT from
someone that just so happens to be spamming YOU?
How goofy is that?!
2. CHECK THE TRASH BEFORE PERMANENTLY DELETING MESSAGES
This one is important if you followed step #1. Every single time
I check my e-mail, I *always* look in the trash folder to see if
any legitimate requests or questions were filtered there. ALWAYS.
The fastest way to do that is to SORT the messages by their
SUBJECT LINES, and scan through them for legit business emails.
Open anything questionable and quickly check it out. The first
line (if not the first 2-3 words) of a message will let you know
whether it's spam. Before you open messages, you can also check
the "From" header for email addresses like xK8aeoi4szi@them.com,
which are usually safe to trash.
You might be wondering, "What the heck is the point of filtering
in the first place if I STILL have to look at the messages?" I'm
sure you'll agree that it's easier and faster to sort and scan
subject lines of messages that have ALREADY (and automatically!)
been identified as spam, than it is to look through HUNDREDS of
messages in an overflowing inbox that's filled mostly with
legitimate emails. =)
3. PROTECTING YOURSELF FURTHER AGAINST UNWANTED EMAIL
Even with filters, a lot of spam can still sneak through.
Although considerably less, you'll likely spend a good amount of
time ridding yourself of the useless smelly garbage we call spam.
Here are a few resources to help you further reduce the chances
of getting spam e-mail:
Has an online petition you can "sign," along with updates on
anti-spam efforts, what NOT to do about spam, and more.
An e-mail filter for use on UNIX systems that filters out
e-mail from known spammers.
your email address from spambots and e-mail harvesters.
Find out which of your e-mail addresses (and phone numbers)
are readily available to the public.
Lists of domains that allow spam, known spammers' e-mail
addresses, tips on how to identify a spammer, and more.
The FTC's (Federal Trade Commission's) list of the 12 most
likely scams to arrive via unsolicited e-mail.
4. REPORT EXCESSIVELY AND CONTINUALLY ABUSIVE SPAMMERS
Although you shouldn't waste time reporting all spammers, you may
want to report the ones that just won't leave you alone. I
personally consider it a waste of time with all I have to do --
especially since filters are handy for bouts of recurrent email
from the same source.
But if you're concerned with stopping spammers, or are just fed
up with receiving all that junk, the resources below will help
you take EFFECTIVE action:
A VERY detailed FAQ on how to identify, trace, and report
spam, along with a lot of other good info and resources on
A lot o' links on how to stop spam, gadgets that will filter
AND report e-mail from known spammers automatically,
"auto-delete" spam devices, and more.
How to take action against spammers, including suing (is it
REALLY worth it, folks?), legislation, and reporting spam
incidents to the FTC.
Tons of oh-so-helpful links to resources on how to stop and
dramatically reduce the amount of spam mail you receive.
Getting tons of e-mail from one or two *valid* domain names?
This article tells you how to decipher the TRUE sender, and
what you'll need to have handy when reporting the offender to
their Internet Service Provider (ISP).
5. LIVING HAPPILY ... WITH SPAM
I know, I know ... you do not like green eggs and spam. Even so,
there's only so much you can do to curb the problem. Your last
resort? Accept the fact that spam is going to be a part of your
online business no matter how hard you fight it, and no matter
how many measures you take to prevent it.
There's just no such thing as a spam-free existence for online
But, if you use some of the resources and methods above to help
reduce it, you'll definitely see a dramatic decrease in the
amount of spam you get. And is that REALLY so bad? You can't
spend your life trying to shut down spammers instead of growing
your business. If you do, you'll have more enemies, and less
profit. And, if push comes to shove, your delete button still
works ... doesn't it? ;-)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harmony Major is the author of Yahoo! Secrets, where she reveals
how YOU can drive HUNDREDS more visitors to your site each day,
by getting a #1 listing on Yahoo. Don't just settle for "getting
listed." Use her instantly-effective tactics to boost your site
traffic with a TOP Yahoo listing! Visit: http://YahooSecrets.com