I have a new method of blocking all spam mail. This method blocks 100% of the spam, all the time. Yet my wanted e-mail gets through. I am convinced that if everyone on the Internet switched to this method today, spam mail would disappear from the Internet within six weeks as the spammers discovered that nobody ever received their messages, thereby never buying their junky products.
I had a huge spam mail problem until recently. I received more than 900 spam messages per day, and some days the total peaked at more than 1,100 such messages. Now I receive zero.
How did I end up on every spammer's mailing list? What prompted these con artists to send me 900+ junk messages per day? A bit of explanation is all it takes to see how you and I and anyone else get on a spammer's mailing list.
Search engines scan the web constantly, looking for new pages of information. That's a good thing. In a similar fashion, e-mail address "harvesters" also search the web constantly, looking for new e-mail addresses. That's a bad thing. Scam artists use such harvesters to create mailing lists for sending spam mail.
There are various ways to hide your e-mail address from harvesters, but most of them are ineffective. Even if you never post your e-mail address online, others will. It might be in a RootsWeb message that your cousin in Poughkeepsie posts about some ancestor the two of you are researching together. Perhaps your church posts a membership roster on the web. All you need is for your e-mail address to be posted one time in some obscure place, and you soon receive the "unbelievable offers." If you have ever received one piece of spam mail, you know your e-mail address is now available to spammers, many of whom buy and sell these lists.
My e-mail address is plastered all over this web site as well as on a number of other places on the World Wide Web. As a result, I receive a lot of spam mail. You know the stuff I am talking about: get rich quick scams, advertisements offering to enlarge or reduce the size of various parts of the human body, notifications that I have won millions in various lottoes that I never entered, and messages from "attorneys" asking me to help transfer funds out of some third-world country, for which I supposedly will be paid huge fees. Of course, we all know that these messages are total garbage; yet, they keep on coming.
There are many so-called solutions to the spam problem. In fact, fighting spam mail seems to be a bigger business than sending it! Lots of companies and a number of non-profits offer various bits of software that analyze each incoming message and look for "spam-like" words or phrases. Other so-called "solutions" will examine each incoming messages header to see if it was sent from a supposedly forged e-mail address or a non-existent mail server. If the spam filter's analysis decides that it is spam mail, the message is either blocked or moved to a spam filter or simply erased from your in-box.
There is but one problem: none of these spam filters work 100% of the time!
I can accept the fact that an unwanted piece of junk mail slips through. What I absolutely, positively cannot accept is when a legitimate piece of e-mail from a friend or business acquaintance gets deleted without my knowledge. I know that spam filters often block messages from RootsWeb mailing lists, Ancestry.com, the Wall Street Journal, Disney Corporation, Consumer Reports, and this newsletter. Companies that provide spam filters refer to the deletion of good messages as "false positives." Sadly, this happens far too often.
I have found that many spam filters brag about having a false positive rate of 1% or less. That sounds great until you apply that rule to anyone who receives more than 1,000 e-mail messages per day, counting both spam and real e-mail messages. An error rate of "only 1%" means that either 10 wanted messages per day get deleted improperly or unwanted spam mail messages are slipping through improperly.
In fact, deletion of legitimate e-mail recently cost me some loss of income. Someone asked me to write an article for a magazine he publishes and offered to pay me for the article. I never received his messages. I lost the income and, even worse, he now blames me for ignoring his messages. I later found his messages in my "spam mail" folder.
Something had to change.
The remainder of this article is for Plus Edition subscribers only.
If you have a Plus Edition user ID and password, you can read the article right now at no additional charge in this web site's Plus Edition blog at http://eogn.com/plusedition
If you do not remember your Plus Edition user ID or password, you can retrieve them at http://eogn.com/amember/member.php
If you decide to subscribe to the Plus Edition right now, you will be able to immediately read this article online. For more information about subscribing to the Plus Edition of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, visit http://www.eogn.com/plus