Spam won’t go away until some drastic changes overtake the Internet, the technology, and people’s habits. A swift death sentence for anyone sending you email you didn’t ask for would be a good start but those ACLU folks would have a fit.
Embedded chips in your shoulder with a singular ID that would also have to be embedded in your incoming email would be another trick that might reduce spam. Or not.
Give up on any communication method that uses the word “mail” could probably put a dent in the email spam, voice mail messages, and junk mail from the post office (since you wouldn’t be using any method of “mail”).
Seems a bit drastic, huh?
Well, few of us would disagree that spam is getting worse and there’s no full-on solution in sight. Here’s what I do to keep the hounds at bay.
First, there’s a need to recognize that spam’s not going away any time soon, so a good defense might be the place to start.
I use Apple’s Mail application (before that I used Entourage, but I’m weaning myself off Microsoft’s expensive products as best I can) which comes with a decent built-in junk mail filter.
My Mail inbox, with about a dozen email accounts (some of which are nearly 10 years old so have attracted plenty of spammers), sucks in 300 to 400 messages a day. 10-percent of those are legitimate incoming email messages. The other 90-percent are spam.
Apple’s junk mail filter managed to separate the junk from the legit nearly 95-percent of the time. That means most of what hit my Mail inbox was good, and most of what got moved into Junk Mail was bad. Mostly.
That sets up a scenario that’s probably impossible to get around. The false positives. The few junk messages that show up as good email are easily deleted. The few good messages that get moved to the Junk Mail category have to be sorted somehow. That means you still have to wade through all the trashy email messages to find the few errant good ones that get tossed there.
That’s a pain. A big pain. There’s no way around that.
I’ve tried this, too: I set up Apple’s Mail filter to check incoming email addresses. If the incoming email address didn’t match an address in my Address Book, or didn’t match the previously sent out email addresses (those to whom I sent messages), then that bad incoming spam message was moved to Junk Mail.
Of course, there was always the possibility that a friend would send an important message using a different email address than what was in my Address Book. That happened often enough that I was still required to check the Junk Mail box from time to time. You know, just to make sure.
Then I tried Spam Sieve. For the most part, it’s picking up and identifying about 99-percent of incoming spam messages and moving them to the Junk Mail box (now called “Spam”).
Still, a few spam messages get through each day, and a good message gets tagged as spam about every other day.
While the tagging spam percentage is good (about 99-percent) with Spam Sieve, the process is still the same. Two steps. Check the inbox for email messages, and check the Junk Mail/Spam box for good messages erroneously tagged.
Despite the successes some ISPs and email servers have with Spam Assasin and other applications which strip out the spam even before it gets to your email application, there’s still some spam that gets through, and some good messages which get tossed into Junk.
That means that good messages, important messages, could easily get lost. Forever.
This is not a good thing. There’s no way around it that I know. Email is now a two-step process. Check email. Check through spam for good email messages.
When dealing with 300 to 400 incoming email messages a day that’s less of a problem at home where there’s a high-speed broadband Internet connection.
It’s a royal pain in the patootie on the road with my PowerBook. Dial up doesn’t slice through so many messages so quickly. Reviewing just the headers on a few hundred messages is painful. Do you feel my pain? This pain isn’t going away any time soon.
What’s your solution to spam? Do you use a special filter? Change email addresses often? Are you using an email spam “add on” product like Spam Sieve? Are you still forced to check the Junk Mail box for good messages?
What’s your solution? Share your experience with other readers and click on the Comments link below.