How to Eliminate Spam
Three great tools for eliminating spam.
Want to know how to get rid of all of the spam overtaking your inbox? I've got 4 tips to help you do just that.
Tip #1: Have a Public and a Private E-mail Address
Give the private one to friends and use the public one to sign up for Facebook, CNN, etc. You can ignore your public e-mail for weeks, scan it when you have time, or nuke it if you don't.
I use Gmail for my public address. It has great spam filtering. And, if someone marks a message as spam, Gmail filters that message from everyone. But only mark real spam as spam! If you're tired of the "Great Wines of Western Florida" newsletter filling your inbox, please unsubscribe properly. Marking it spam could block it from reaching Gmail readers who do want it. And, as a newsletter publisher myself, it's really a bummer to know people want my newsletter but it's blocked because of sloppy spam tagging.
Having public and private e-mail addresses isn't perfect. There are viruses that will discover your private address in a friend's address book or inbox and send your address to a spammer through no fault of your own.
TIP #2: The Quick Back-and-Forth
Sometimes you want a quick one-time-use e-mail address. You just bought a new camera and want to download the manual. The manufacturer demands your name, your dog's name, and an e-mail address, and they'll e-mail you a link to download the manual that should have been included in the first place so you can use their darned product. For this, use mailinator.com. It's free! You just make up an e-mail address you can use instantly. You can retrieve e-mail sent to that address from the web or an RSS feed with no password. Messages get purged every couple of hours, so it's good for quick transactions. For example, give the e-mail address ChrisThePhotographer@mailinator.com. The camera company sends a download link, you do the download, and then ignore that address forever. Or, keep giving out ChrisThePhotographer but only check the inbox when you know something important is about to arrive.
Tip #3: The No-Commitment Relationship
Sometimes, you want a few messages and you don't want them to vanish. For that, spamgourmet.com is your answer. With Spamgourmet, you also make up e-mail addresses, but incoming messages forward to your personal e-mail account. The made-up address magically deactivates after three incoming messages. If you like what's coming in, you can go in and set the address not to deactivate. When I enter a contest or drawing where they announce the winner by e-mail, I use Spamgourmet.
Tip #4: For Techies Only!
If you own your own domain, here's a neat trick. This one's more complicated, but lots of fun. Have your domain forward all incoming e-mail to your Gmail account. Then when giving company X your e-mail address, give them the address X@yourdomain. For example, when I register at Amazon.com, I give the e-mail address Amazon@MyDomain.com. Then if Amazon sells my name and I start getting spam to that address, I just make a Gmail filter to auto-delete all messages sent to Amazon@MyDomain.com. I actually use a second-level domain like mail.MyDomain.com, and spammers can't even know that domain exists since 2nd level domains aren't listed.
To recap, set your preferences whenever possible so you don't get e-mail. Then use separate public and private e-mail addresses for friends and everyone else. Mailinator.com and spamgourmet.com can be used for super-temporary address that won't clog your inbox. You can find links to all of this below.
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