by Terry Young
Simple ways to keep your inbox clean
One of the biggest annoyances we face online is the constant deluge of spam. Worse is that as soon as you block one source, there's more spam coming from another. While constant solicitations can be irritating, sometimes the spam can contain serious threats to your computer, your privacy, and possibly your bank account.
There are several simple ways to cut spam.
First, do not put your email address on your website. Robots will scan your site and you'll be on a dozen spam lists by the end of the day. You should use a contact us form instead.
Never click 'Unsubscribe.' You never signed up for the spam in the first place, but by clicking that link you have just announced to the spammers that your email address is an active one.
If you or your web designer have access to 'Spamassassin,' which is installed as a standard on our websites, blocking spam is simple.
The most important thing about spam is that there is no point blocking it by individual email addresses. You will be there all day, every day. Instead, look at two elements of the email: the email address's domain and the subject line. You can block whole domains and phrases.
Most spam uses the same subjects, for example 'online pharmaceuticals,' but coming from different addresses. All you need to do is block those two words by the subject line to stop all of that spam, regardless of which email address it is coming from.
When blocking by the subject line, you should block at least two words. The only time you should use just one word is if you are 100% certain that nobody you know would ever use that word.
If you block
Look at the email address' domain, or the part following the @ symbol. A lot of spam comes from the newer domain extensions, such as something@rocks, or something@racing.
You will never receive legitimate emails from anything something@racing, so if you block every email coming from @racing, you will stop all emails immediately.
Similarly, if you get repeated spam from a domain you have never heard of and would never deal with, block everything at that domain, e.g. *@spammers.com
Again, only block domains that you know nobody legitimate would use. You should never block everything from hotmail.com, or yahoo.com for example, because those could easily be used by real prospective customers.
The final method is by blocking by the sender's name rather than the email address.
For example, you may see that emails come from "Home Tips" and then an email address. Blocking anything from "Home Tips" will prevent all emails even if the email address changes.
Using these methods you can seriously reduce the amount of spam you get every day. If you block things logically, you can hit many spam birds with one stone. This not only helps reduce spam irritation, but can also protect you online.
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Terry Young is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing and Design. Since 1997,