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Spam Isn't Just for Breakfast Any More. . .

Oct 20, 2000

Every industry has its dark side. . .the seedy underbelly no one likes to think is there. Inevitably, however, it is this side that often makes the news and sends shockwaves of fear into the hearts of those not too familiar with the big picture.

In news, it is the advent of nude women reporters in Russia that grabs the headlines. In the Olympics, we heard lurid tales of steroid use and of children taken away from their parents as toddlers to be fashioned into athletic gods. In politics. . .well. . .that is rather self-evident. In the industry of free email, however, the dark side is spam.

Spam, the mass sending of unsolicited emails, is, for the most part illegal, with a trend toward making it globally so. At the very least, it usually violates a free email provider's terms of use contract. It could get your accounts closed, could crash mailboxes, servers, and gateways, make people furious and could possibly lead to legal action. Sending twenty million copies of the same email to a list you bought is not the way to market your grandmother's cookie recipes. Trust me.

So, who are spammers? Very often, they are multi-level marketers, promoters of pornographic materials, pushers of "work-at-home, get-rich-quick, make-money-offshore" schemes and the like. They offer downlines, easy money, smut, and early retirement. What they don't offer for the most part is legitimacy or results. What they do offer is a glut in your mailbox of unwanted junk, sometimes forcing legitimate emails to be bounced back to the send because your email storage limit is exceeded.

So what is a person to do? We have some key tips to protect yourself:

  1. Never, ever use your primary account when using online forms (for contests, programs, and such). Sign up for a free email account (we have a few listed, if you need one :} ) and use that address for online forms so that if you do get spam, you aren't cluttering your primary account.
  2. Avoid the larger providers. Unfortunately, the biggest names are often the hardest hit with spam. Though they often have the best filtering and anti-spamming measures in place, they don't always work. Try a stable, reliable but lesser-known provider. (again, we list a few, if you need help!)
  3. When choosing a free email provider, don't just look for the features you want. Investigate their policy on spam and what they do to prevent it. The best mail service in the world is useless if your account is always blocked with hundreds of unsolicited advertisements for hot young teenage girls.
  4. Make sure to report any spam you receive to your provider. They should be able to block the sender from future spamming.

What if you receive spam. . .then what?

  1. Again, reporting the details to your email provider and your ISP is very important. They can often block the sender completely.
  2. Reporting the offender to their provider or administrator can be extremely effective, as well. If you can't find an email, try using (example: if you receive an email from, send a complaint to
  3. After that is done, see if your individual email account has a "block messages from this sender" feature. If it does, use it.
  4. If the spam is generated from a list group, do not respond to the email directly. It will not be read. They sender will be long gone and the only folks you will irritate are the other members of the group.

This is the frustrating, seedy side of email. It can be exasperating, disgusting, time-consuming, and sometimes even costly if you lose legitimate business emails because your account has reached its storage limit because of spam.

Don't do it. Don't tolerate it. Posty doesn't. . .no matter how much money I can make off shore! :}

If you're really serious about spam, we suggest you take a look at the book "Stopping Spam"

Click here to order Stopping Spam

Author Review
In our book, Simson and I provide a history of email and USENET spam, a look at why spam is a problem, insight into the motivations of spammers, and a large collection of technical, legal, and political antispam tactics suitable for novice users, system administrators, and ISPs. We argue that spam constitutes a major problem for the Internet, and incurs a variety of economic and social costs. The novice user will learn how to keep his/her email address out of the hands of spammers, how to filter email and news in order to avoid seeing spam, and how to track down spammers and report them to responsible authorities. Administrators will learn how to protect their systems from spam or from abuse by spammers, and how to keep their users from spamming. We also offer an overview of civil and criminal actions against spammers and legislative approaches to dealing with spam. Hope you enjoy it and find it useful!

by Alan Schwartz, Simson Garfinkel, Debby Russell (Editor)

Click here to order a copy.

Previous Posty's Notes:

  • Sep 15, 2000 - Free eCommunications Guide Launch
  • Aug 18, 2000 - "Communicating Via Email, Part Two" - Formal Communications
  • Aug 04, 2000 - "Communicating Via Email, Part One" - Informal Communications
  • Jul 28, 2000 - "Unified Messaging Systems"
  • Jul 21, 2000 - "What's In A Name"
  • Jul 14, 2000 - "A Study on Excellence" -'s Select Sites
  • Jun 30, 2000 - Personal Information Managers
  • Jun 16, 2000 - Free Online Invitations
  • May 26, 2000 - Free Email, Past, Present & Future
  • May 01, 2000 - Relaunch of


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