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Spam

Dealing With Spam

If your spam levels are low or reasonable, one option is to install anti-spam software. If your spam levels are more significant, you should try to figure out where the spammers are getting your email address from, and elliminate those sources. The effect won't be immediate, but hopefully after 3 to 4 months things will die down to a more reasonable level. Here are a few tips:

Background

Email Spam is generated by a number of means (let's call it "The 4 S's of Spam"):

Spam-bots:

Programs ("robots") which scour the web for email addresses. They hop from websiite to website looking for email addresses on the websites. Or some smart ones do a google search for a certain industry and tehn scour just those sites for email addresses, so that they have a more targeted list.

Spyware on your computer (Also called 'scumware'):

Spyware can be installed on your computer when you visit some websites or when you install some software. With the websites, various combinations of cookies, java applets or javascript hidden windows might be used to transmit your confidential information back to the 'scum's' database. Installed software has more power and access to more confidential information than cookies-based scum-ware, so it is even easier for those programs to obtain and transfer your email address to the scum.

Submissions:

People submit their email addresses to sites, and those sites then sell their marketing databases. This could happen with quite reputable companies, such as when you submit your email address together with an order. But really prolific nuisance spam occurs when you submit your email address to "FFA" sites or other "multilevel marketing" cons. Words to watch out for are "MLM", "downline", FFA, etc. This can occur when you use an automated program or service to "submit your website to thousands of search engines".

Shot-gunning:

A spammer sends out email to every combination of possible email address on your domain. e.g. a@your-domain.com.au, aa@your-domain.com.au, ab@your-domain.com.au, ac@your-domain.com.au, etc, until zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz@your-domain.com.au

Fixing It

Thwarting Spam-bots:

To prevent spam-bots from harvesting email addresses on your website, your website needs to be coded in such a way that only humans can read the email address, not spam-bots. This is something that can be fix with two options:

Note: Your email address may also be on websites that you do not control. Examples are if you post to a bulletin board with your email address in your member profile, or if your company is an exhibitor at a trade fair. You should try to get your email address removed from these sites. If they are trade directory sites, get them to display your web url instead of your email address.

Thwarting Scum-ware

Check your PCs for scumware and remove them. There are good anti-scum software available to do this, such as "Spybot - Search & Destroy". Once clean, your PCs should be kept clean with a combination of good anti virus software, good anti-scum software and good firewall protection.

Other Do's and Don't's


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