How to Reduce Spam: Simple Common Sense Techniques

By now, you’ve probably read a large number of articles on how governments and tech masters propose to combat, reduce, and / or eliminate spam, also known as junk email. I don’t even have to start this article with the usual ‘what is spam’ introduction, because I’m sure you already know it and hate it. This article will not go into the questionable implementation and use of commercially available tools and technologies. Instead, I’ll talk about very basic common sense techniques that can efficiently reduce the amount of spam. This article is particularly useful for anyone who intends to start an e-commerce business, or simply create a website, for fun or for profit.

Fact # 1:

Spam is here to stay. Regardless of what you hear from government officials, from Bill Gates, from software vendors, from doctors of technology, the fact is, because you can’t stop the Internet, you can’t stop the spam in cyberspace that exists today. . Period – end of story.

Fact # 2:

The volume and offensive nature of the questionable practice of spam is increasing at an exponential rate, as I read in reports published by statistics gurus like Gartner. What do we do about it? The short answer is that there is no 100% foolproof solution. However, implementing the tips and techniques that I will share with you in this article can definitely help you narrow it down.

Tip No. 1:

Never post your email address on your website.

The main way spammers obtain your email address is through the use of spambots, or spiders (technical term for automated programs that run on the Internet), that scour the web in search of the ubiquitous @ sign, the telltale indicator of one -Email. These spiders search your web page and collect everything that appears to be an email address. The spammer will then add the obtained addresses to a large list and use it to promote some obscene and / or fake product or service. Finally, the spammer will sell the list to other spammers and / or resellers and their email address will begin to circulate perpetually.

The only way to prevent your address from being collected this way is to not post it there in the first place.

Of course, you probably want potential customers and other visitors to be able to get in touch with you. At first glance, advice n. 1 may seem counterproductive, but there is an alternative: read on!

Tip No. 2:

Use mail forms instead of listing and / or linking to the real, explicit email address.

The details of configuring email forms (also known as web forms, email forms, cgi forms) are not in the scope of this article, just because each web server uses various pieces of software, written in various languages ​​of programming to achieve this. . Basically the way it works is that your visitor accesses a page, fills in some boxes with text, presses a “Submit” button, then the mail form processor sends you an email. Your email address can still be captured by persistent spammers as it is usually hidden on the page, but there are several stealth techniques that I will discuss in detail in a different article. Additionally, most web hosting companies implement automated spam deterrence techniques that you can take advantage of simply by using their hosting services.

Tip No. 3:

Never follow the “unsubscribe instructions” contained in a spam email.

Spammers often use bogus “unsubscribe instructions” to verify that your email address is working. If you follow these bogus instructions, your email address will most likely be added to more spam lists. Basically the spammer now knows that the address that probably came from a scratch or some unverified list or random generator is actually valid, there is a person who got it and answered it. Your address will now be marked as “premium” on the black market and will be spread, sold and used even more.

You can make a single exception to this rule, if you know for sure that you have voluntarily subscribed to someone’s newsletter and that person is a 100% trusted company.

Tip No. 4:

Do not forward chain letters, virus warnings, etc.

Most of the chain letters and virus warnings you receive by email are either hoaxes or are initiated by spam houses with the intention of obtaining all the email addresses you know. Chain letters spread like wildfire and always tend to end up in the spam house, with the email addresses of all recipients. Before taking any action regarding an unsolicited virus warning, check the validity of the warning at and / or, and / or []. I have never received an email virus warning that did not turn out to be a hoax; And many of these hoaxes advise you to delete key system files that will end up damaging your computer (and the computers of all your friends that you sent the fake warning to).

Tip No. 5.

Use POP email accounts and email sending creatively.

Another popular way to collect email addresses is through your own correspondence. Every time you buy something online or send an email to a business or organization, your email address is available to add to a mailing list. Do not rely too much on the privacy statements of websites with which you have no experience. Spammers make their living from stealing and deception; they certainly are not beyond providing false information in their privacy statements.

Usually when you buy web hosting, all of your accounts include free email forwarding and some additional free POP email accounts.

First, create a new POP user only for the purpose of collecting spam. Call it whatever you like, for example [email protected]; You will never use it for anything other than collecting spam.

Now take a look at the spam you are receiving and take a look at the address it is sent to. In many cases, spammers take your domain name and simply make up addresses to attach it to ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] are among the most popular). When you see spam directed to an email address that you do not need for regular personal or business use, create an email forwarding that redirects the email sent to that address to the spam detection POP account that you created in the previous step.

Spammers often collect addresses from the domain name WHOIS system, obtaining their administrative, billing, and technical contact email addresses to add to their lists. Use a one-time email forwarding for your contact information, and when spam starts arriving at that address, change your domain name registration to reflect a new forwarded address and redirect the old address to the spam recipient POP .

Whenever you order a product or service online, create a unique email forwarding for the company you order from. For example, if you order a CD from, use [email protected] when you sign up with them (don’t forget to replace with your actual domain name; and don’t forget to create an email forwarding to deliver mail to a valid POP account.) This approach provides two benefits: 1) allows you to redirect that address to your spam recipient if you start receiving spam; and 2) let you know who is selling your personal information to spammers; then you can decide if these companies are worth your trust and your future business.

[NOTE: Eventually, your spam-catcher POP account will fill up and exceed its quota, as allocated by your hosting provider. When this happens, e-mail that’s sent to that POP account will begin “bouncing back” with an error message to the sender. Don’t worry about that – it won’t hurt anything. If the spammers actually provide a valid return address (which almost none do), the bounce will serve as notice that you’re not accepting their mail.]

Tip No. 6.

Use spam filters.

Most reputable hosting companies use spam filtering software and give you access to many management functions. Do your homework and check the features that came with your account.

Spam filters check incoming email against various “spam blacklists” and automatically remove email sent from any source on any of those lists. Note that blacklists and spam filters in general are not perfect – there is no filtering product available on the market that does not 1) occasionally allow spam to be filtered and delivered, and worse still, 2) occasionally Please reject valid email as spam. Please note that any mail deleted as a result of server-side spam filtering is not recoverable. There are other spam filtering options available for you to install locally; this gives you the option of what to filter and what not to filter, and gives you the opportunity to retrieve valid email that the filter removed by mistake.