Fighting the SPAM WarWritten by Telian Adlam
It is reported that 60%+ of internet traffic on mail servers are spam messages. If you run a website, you can be sure that you are (or will be over time) receiving a tremendous amount of unsolicited email messages. If you havenít started a website yet, remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are safeguards you can use to minimize number of unwanted messages you receive.
WHOIS data: When you register a domain name, you are required to provide contact information for WHOIS database, which can later be harvested by spammers for e-mail addresses. To protect yourself from such unscrupulous people, I suggest using a dummy account with a free email provider such as Yahoo or Hotmail (donít forget to check it at least once a month) - if youíve already registered your site and have listed your primary email address in WHOIS contact information, it is highly recommended that you update information with a new dummy email address. Your host and registrar will have your primary email address on file - you simply need to remember to keep your information with them up to date. If this seems like too much work for you, you can always use a WHOIS privacy service such as WhoisGuard service provided by www.namecheap.com ($4.88 - which is a great value).
Your web pages: One of first things I do when creating a website is create a contact form with email address embedded in mailer script such as PHP or ASP. Why? There is a lot of software floating around out there designed solely to crawl website harvesting them for valid email addresses (some will even ignore robots.txt file completely). Once youíve created your forms, you can then begin to include your email addresses in your web pages for those who wish to email you directly from their email clients - you can write your email address as yourname[at]yourdomain.com and instead of using Ďmailto:í link - hyperlink it to your contact form. You may also include a note for your visitors to replace [at] with @ sign. Make sure you remember to do this with all email addresses within your site.
Newsgroups/forums/subscriptions: Itís a hard pill to swallow, but these areas are not safe from email harvesting either and even worse, some newsletter publishers donít even adhere to their own privacy policies (very rare, but it does happen). Be careful where you post your email address and donít make it a habit to sign up with every forum you should come across. Make sure you find information useful to you and that you trust website first. For extra protection, use a an email address other than your primary one for all your subscriptions (ex: firstname.lastname@example.org). If you wish to post an email address in forums for readers to contact you, try to use format described in previous section with a note to replace [at] with @ and hyperlink it to contact form on your website.
Unrouted email messages: An unrouted email message is a message addressed to an email with your domain name that does not exist - i.e. email@example.com, only you never created an firstname.lastname@example.org account. The default setting is to have these messages delivered to root email account. Many webmasters donít realize this and webmail for root account never gets checked - I came across an account with 75 pages of unrouted email messages (roughly 14,000 messages) and taking up about 15MB of their of webspace. Believe it or not, some spam software is designed to create plausible names (i.e. admin, contact, customerservice, webmaster, abuse, etc. @yourdomain.com) and just go for broke and hope account exists.
How to Get Rid of the 4-letter S-WordWritten by Darryl Graham
Now don't get all upset, as we are going to talk about other S-word and that would be S*P*A*M. The * is in between letters because just use of this S-word can cause your email to not be delivered. The S-word is considered to have happened when you send an unsolicited email to someone. Unsolicited means they did not specifically request your information and this is where things get a little dicey. People subscribe to free offers online, but they forget to read small print and that small print will tell them they are agreeing to receive offers from third parties. Their email is then sold to dozens of people who in turn might sell it to dozens of other people. The result is person who wanted to get a free coupon to a restaurant will now start receiving offers for a variety of products and services. Now, most of these people who buy these leads are honest and caring people and if someone asks to be removed from their list, they will be removed. The problem comes from real S-worders who buy large number of leads and will never remove an email address. Plus, if you click on remove link, not only does it not remove you, but it confirms to these people that your email address is valid and they will start sending more junk to you. In addition, there is software that is readily available on Internet that will allow someone to harvest millions of email addresses. Harvesting emails for those of you who do not know is ability for this software to pick up your email from your webpage, a blog, an article, heck I would not be surprised if they can't get my email address off my business card! So who do we blame for S-word?
1) We can blame greedy people who subscribe to offers to get something free and do not read fine print.
2) We can blame greedy people who purchase these lists of greedy people who want to get something free and do not read fine print and then these people who purchased lists start blasting emails selling everything under sun at rock bottom prices.
3) We can blame greedy people who buy from greedy people who purchase these lists of greedy people who want to get something free and do not read fine print and then these people who purchased lists start blasting emails selling everything under sun at rock bottom prices.
4) We can blame politicians and media who keep S-word in newspapers and on front of everyone's mind.
5) We can blame Internet for being such an economical and practical marketing source.
6) We can blame ISP's who send emails to their members and subscribers.
7) We can blame Autoresponder companies. After all their services allow people to send lots of mail.
8) We can blame ourselves. Tough call isn't it? The point is, we all have something to do with S-word and we are all responsible for getting rid of it. When I first started in marketing, Internet had not been invented yet and way we promoted our company was to send direct mail. This was harmless because if someone did not want it, they could simply throw it away, but boy did we catch it from people who wanted to literally remove parts of our body that we had become quite fond of.