Q: I am so sick of all spam that is sent to my business email address. I spend an hour every morning just trying to sort out good email from bad. I know I could just delete it all, but I'm afraid I'll accidentally delete email that might be important to my business. Short of unplugging my computer, what's best solution for dealing with spam?
A: I feel your pain. I, too, miss good old days when only time you'd spend an hour dealing with spam was trying to pry it out of can.
Due to nature of my business, I get a lot of unwanted email. I've been working on Internet since 1995 and my email address has been publicly exposed for most of that time, so I am a spammer's delight. It is no exaggeration to say that I used to receive more than 400 email messages a day. Out of those 400 messages about 10% were from people I knew, 10% were from people I needed to know, and rest were from people that I would like to track down and field dress with a very dull knife.
Spammers, they are called… scourge of Internet… digital kin of lowly telemarketer and dreaded junk mailer.
After listening to me complain about spam for months, my lead engineer burst into my office a few weeks ago and announced, "I've solved our spam problem! I've installed a spam filter on our server that will prevent spam from getting through."
Great, I thought, now I can find something new to complain about.
I wondered what I would do with extra two hours a day this wonderful spam filter would give me. My joy quickly waned when within a day my email went from 400 to 40. It was saddest day of my life. Sitting there staring at my empty email box I suddenly felt very alone. At that moment I realized that not only had I come to expect morning deluge of email, but I had come to find comfort in it. The spammers had become my friends. They wanted me to get rich quick and brighten my smile. They wanted to enhance my love life with generic Viagra and give me great deals on miniature cameras, low interest loans, waterfront property, and more. And sheer number of folks concerned about abundance (or lack thereof) of my anatomy was incredibly heart warming.
And ladies that sent me email were so nice. They were worried that I was lonely and offered to cure my loneliness if only I gave them a credit card number. How sweet is that?
After a few days withdrawal symptoms ceased and I was happy to be free of majority of spam, though to this day I'm afraid that I might be missing out on something grand.
You and I are not alone, Anna. According to a recent study by eMarketer, average Internet email user now receives 81 emails a day, and nearly one quarter of them are spam. Spam now makes up more than 40% of all email and costs U.S. companies more than $10 billion annually. Seventy-six billion unsolicited e-mail messages will be delivered in 2003.