© 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:
- iiac.netAnd 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.
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 spam-related issues.
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 business owners.
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>|
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