Spam is evil.
Though I don’t have a unicyclist.com email address, my own email address gets plenty of spam. Part of this is just because I’ve had the same address for years. But it’s MY address, so the idea of switching to a different one, just so the spammers can eventually find that one, is not acceptable.
People in the bulk email business harvest email addresses wherever they can be found. Plus, your email address is likely shared by many businesses that tell you they are doing this in their privacy policies. Tell you, you ask? Not exactly. The wording is very subtle. But if you use free software you’ve had to register to download, or register at lots of Web sites, or own file sharing software such as Kazaa, you have given licence for some of those businesses to share your email address (and in some cases to install adware and/or spyware on your machine).
That’s just some of the ways you get on all those spammers’ lists.
Why do they do it, someone asked? Because it pays. Spam email is incredibly cheap to send out, and obviously generates enough response to justify itself. Not to us of course, but to the people sending it out. It’s like the really bad TV commercials you see on late night TV. Cal Worthington’s old used car commercials, for you West-coasters. Obviously these things work, or the businesses would not be paying for the airtime.
Don’t encourage spammers by clicking on links in spam emails or responding in any way to the ads. If I see something that looks interesting, I’ll hand-type the link into my browser, so there is no data sent indicating that I’m responding to one of those ads. Mostly I just delete it. But if we don’t do business with spammers, hopefully it will discourage them.
I use Cloudmark SpamNet (www.spamnet.com). Since installing it several months ago, it has intercepted over 5000 pieces of junk email. It puts them in a separate folder where I can examine or delete them. What’s cool about Spamnet is that it uses a shared database of spammers, collected from the choices made by all users when they click on spam messages.
I use Microsoft Outlook. When I receive a spam message that was not stopped by Spamnet, I simply press the “Block” button on my toolbar, which not only drops it in my Spam folder, but also adds that data to my user database. The longer you use it, the smarter the database gets.
Of course the spammers keep getting smarter as well, but the vast majority of my spam goes straight into the Spam folder. Oh, and while SpamNet is in beta, it’s free! Check it out and see if it can be useful for you.