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Sunday, December 01, 2002

Spam "Avoison" Tip #1: Change Your E-mail Address

Sometimes, if you can't beat 'em, you have to... um, change your e-mail address. That's just what I did with my Traffick.com e-mail last week. As any other web site publisher can probably attest, the spam epidemic is just spiraling out of control, and once your e-mail address has been captured by one e-mail pirate, you are doomed to receive pitches for human-growth hormone, Viagra, and low mortgage rates -- forever. And don't get me started on the "new concept for giving!" (Although, I must admit to being amused by the trusty Nigerian-guy-needing-money scam; I laugh every time I read those!)

Spammers use special software to trawl the web and scrape as many links as they can that start with "mailto:" (which denotes an e-mail link). Then, they categorize your site based on theme, save your e-mail address to a database, package it into a categorized list, and then sell it to anyone who is willing to fork over a few hundred bucks.

So, if you're caught between a rock and a hard place like I was, your only option might be to change your e-mail address and only give it out to friends, colleagues, clients, etc. That way, spammers can still merrily send their spam to your old address, which you can either continue to receive or send straight to the trash using filters or Outlook rules.

And here's another piece of advice for web publishers:

Don't ever list your "real" friggin' e-mail address on your web site! Either require inquiring parties to use a web-based feedback form, or put up a fake one and use filters to ensure that legitimate correspondence reaches you. And, one more thing: Stay out of my booze!

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt




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