Since spamming has come up fairly often on this list, I thought many of
you might be interested in the following information.
Lawrence A. Parker
Philosopher and Educational Consultant
From: The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
[mailto:TOURBUS@LISTSERV.AOL.COM] On Behalf Of Bob Rankin
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2002 4:50 PM
Subject: TOURBUS - 06 Aug 02 - Spam Strategies
TOURBUS Volume 8, Number 04 -- 06 Aug 2002
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\___/ \___/ T h e I n t e r n e t T o u r B u s \___/
TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: SPAM STRATEGIES
Most Internet users find spam very annoying and often offensive. But
did you know that $2-3 of your monthly Internet bill is for handling
spam? That it costs the average company over $500/year per employee? If
you're sick of spam, that unwanted email that clogs your inbox with
promises of fast money, weight loss, stock tips, and porn sites, then
read on. And please feel free to forward this issue to a friend!
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The BEST way to limit the amount of spam you get is to keep your email
address out of the hands of spammers. Here are some tips to do that:
- Don't participate in public forums with your primary address. Spammers
use software designed to suck email addresses out of chat rooms, mailing
lists and newsgroups. This is so prevalent on AOL that you can get
spammed within MINUTES of entering a chat room. Use an alternate address
provided by your ISP or get a free account at Hotmail, Yahoo or another
web-based email site. Or try Sneakemail, a free service that you can
use to generate disposable email addresses.
- Only give out your primary address to trusted people or companies.
Sites that offer freebies in return for your email address may be
don't have one, or if it doesn't guarantee that your address will not be
abused, don't divulge personal information.
- Don't post your email address (in plain text) on your website. For
information on how to encode your address and hide from Spambots
(programs that extract email addresses from web pages) look here:
- If you have a "member profile" on your AOL address, you'll get tons of
spam. Some users who remove their AOL profile report an immediate and
drastic drop in spam.
A July 2001 spam study by CNET said the activities MOST LIKELY to reveal
your email address to spammers are posting to Usenet or other message
boards, entering AOL chat rooms, and signing up for online sweepstakes
and lotteries. Activities that DO NOT generate significant amounts of
spam include online shopping, getting free email accounts, and (ahem)
subscribing to email newsletters. Here's a link to the complete CNET
Here's one point that I think is important to stress -- spammers CANNOT
get your email address or any other personal information if you're just
visiting a website. They can only get this information if YOU provide
it by filling out an online form. It's a good idea to check a site's
Spamcop is a free service that deciphers those confusing email headers
and composes emails which can be sent to the spammer's ISP, network
admin and website host. It will NOT help you to identify the spammer,
but the idea is that spammers will lose their accounts as a result of
But spammers expect to lose their accounts, most of which are free and
anonymous. So they just get another and move on. And even more
troubling, some ISPs ignore SpamCop reports because they get so many
duplicate reports and "false positives" sent by over-zealous SpamCop
users. I recommend that if you DO use SpamCop, be extra careful to not
report legitimate emails. And before filing a complaint, check the
timestamp on the spam message. If it's more than a few hours old, it's
safe to assume that someone else has reported it already.
Outlook, Eudora and other email software allows you to set up rules to
filter email based on the sender, subject or message body. AOL users
can use Mail Controls but the filtering capability is limited to just
the sender's email address. It takes a bit of work each day to keep
your filtering rules up to snuff, but my own efforts zapped about HALF
of the 3000+ messages I received in the past week. See the help section
of your email software for details on how to set up spam filters.
Some Internet Service providers are filtering email at the server level,
which can be good and bad. For example, YAHOO and HOTMAIL have at times
blocked TOURBUS mailings to their members, because the incoming volume
triggered one of their spam rules. If your software or ISP is
filtering, make sure there's a place you can look to find the blocked
emails and inspect them.
WHAT NOT TO DO
DON'T reply to a spammer. If you send REMOVE requests this tells the
spammers two things: (1) your e-mail address is valid; and (2) you read
the e-mail you receive. Replying to a spammer is the electronic
equivalent of putting a "Kick Me I'm A Jerk" sign on your back.
DON'T register at sites where you can list yourself as a "no spam"
address. Suppposedly spammers run their bulk mailings through these
databases and remove the addresses that have requested no spam. You
can't be sure these sites are legit and I recommend that you NOT use
them. Even if they are run by well-meaning people, would spammers
actually use them?
DON'T buy anything from a spammer. No matter how tempting the offer,
resist the urge to patronize any business that contacts you with
unsolicited bulk email. Think about it... spammers continue to operate
for one simple reason. People are BUYING the stuff they are selling.
Solve THAT problem and the spammers will curl up and die.
EMAIL 911 offers useful tips on how to reduce the amount of spam you
receive and how to overcome email overload. You can also find support
resources for your email software program and learn how to manage email
THE SPAMCON FOUNDATION is a broad-based non-profit organization
dedicated to reducing the amount of spam on the Internet. By bringing
together email users, network admins, marketers and legal pros, SpamCon
seeks to stop junk email and protect email as a medium of communications
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