Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole

Ever wonder why your inbox is full of spam?
Here’s the short and simple answer.

These are thousands of little ‘robots’ combing the internet. Whenever they come across someone’s e-mail address, it becomes added to their list.
You e-mail address can be found any number of places: your site, someone’s guestbook, tagboards, cliques/webring pages, profiles on sites, anywhere you’ve signed up, forums/chats. If six bot picked up your e-mail from each one of those sites, you could be signed up for six different things. Spam often includes porn, advertisements, viruses, etc.

So how does one display and e-mail without getting spam? Easy. In guestbooks and tagboards you can sign you name as emailNOSPAM@email.com. If one wanted to email you, they simply take out the nospam.

Check the privacy policy when you sign up for anything. If you are absolutely positive they will no give out or display your e-mail address, leave it. If you are unsure, you might want to sign up with a specific psuedonym (if you don’t need to use your real name), add your middle name or middle initial, use a specific capitalization, etc. If you sign up as “Firstname MI Lastname” at “x.com” and find spam which adress you as that, either in the subject or body, then you know that “x.com” has given supplied others with your information and you can go to them and complain, change your information, delete your account, etc.

If you’re unsure, you may want to setup up another (or several) e-mail accounts and keep one for personal use, one for business, one for signing up/verification, etc. This method will, hopefully, contain most spam to only one account.

Anytime you can, select not to have your e-mail public. If someone wants you, they can find your e-mail through a site or someone else! If there is an option to display a public address that’s different, you can set up a nospam format there.

If you want to display your e-mail on a site, you may consider instead of just posting the address itself, using the HTML code to e-mail. When one clicks on it their mail program or browser will open directly to a new message to you, and the link text does not have to show your e-mail address. To do so use this code: <a href=”mailto:youraddresshere?subject=yoursubjecthere”>E-mail me!</a>

Also make sure to get to know your junk mail settings on your e-mail server. When I used Hotmail, and I had a junk mail box with the filter set to high, I still recieved junk mail in my inbox; however, most of it was contained. Be careful because some good mail might get mixed in, and you’ll have to flag it so it doesn’t. These are also programs that eliminate junk mail.

Whenever possible, block addresses from which you don’t want mail. Sometimes a certain domain will have several spam addresses from whence they send. You can usually block domains on email servers. This way you can block all spam from one domain, and delete the extra addresses for more blocking room.

Many mail programs such as Mozilla Thunderbird come with Mail filters so you can block certain senders, subjects, body elements, to, date, status, etc. Some spam is sent to generic names @yourdomain.com, even if the address doesn’t exist, and you could choose to block all mail to those addresses. If you have a catch-all address set up, all e-mail sent to “name@yourdomain.com” when “name” doesn’t exist, will go to the specified inbox.

A recent meme hit the Internet, suggesting that you have have to do to weed out unwanted mail is to create a filter that sends all messages that contain the word “unsubscribe” to your trash or junk mail folder. This can actually be quite effective if you don’t receive newsletters or updates from websites that use a canned spam format and include such a link.

Assume that all spam is from bots/programs/viruses and not from real people. Much spam has incorporated titles/subjects/senders which are misleading because they make you believe that they are from real people and are legitimate e-mail messages even when they are not. In short: don’t reply. The spam may have just found your inbox by chance and by replying you might be saying ‘Hey, this address really exists. Spam me!’

Additionally, any site which has an opt-out page, address, field, what-have-you, this may be another trick to get you to say ‘Hey, this address really exists. Spam me!’ That’s the rick you take, I guess, and there’s not much you can do but hope that it does work or just keep on blocking.

Lastly, read the fine print. You may find that what looks like spam is something more ‘legitimate’ and it will tell you, generally toward the bottom of the e-mail, that you signed up for this e-mail/advertisement/etc when you signed up on x.com. It may say that they are in affiliation with x.com. It might tell you this is not spam or provide a link to the website and you just might remember signing up there (because we tend to forget) or remember the affiliated site to which you can head in order to fix this spam problem. You might not remember, if someone submitted your address as some sort of prank, however, but in this case you can always contact the site and close the account.

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