Do you get spam?

Oh, yeah. I get more spam than anyone I know. I don’t know how much the president gets but yes, said Bill Gates when asked by USA Today.

Bill Gates gets spam. A lot of spam. The article, Gates on the effect of spam on USA Today declared.

Not only Gates gets spam, I’m sure. You get spam, aren’t you? I get spam, too!

It’s annoying, a friend complained after sharing that she received almost a hundred of unsolicited mail in just a week.

Just recently, I noticed that unsolicited mails are flooding in my inbox (of my free mail account). These emails are too many and eats up my valuable time. It’s always a waste of time deleting spam. It was just too late when I discovered that my email account has been corrupted and the same annoying emails I received were sent also to my contact list. This motivate me to explore the nature of spam; how it works, how it affects business, and most importantly, how to prevent it.

Oppss.. I mentioned spam several time but never defined it.

What is spam?

There are many definition of the term:

Non-Internet: Delicious “meat” in a can!
Internet: Sending multiple, sometimes thousands, of unwelcome messages to a newsgroup or mailing list to promote a commercial product or Web site.

Here is another: “SPAM” mail is the practice of sending massive amounts of e-mail promotions or advertisements (and scams) to people that have not asked for it.

Why we call unwanted and unsolicited emails as spam? Where does the term originated? (Spam sounds delicious, isn’t it?)

Webopedia has an answer:

There is some debate about the source of the term, but the generally accepted version is that it comes from the Monty Python song, “Spam spam spam spam, spam spam spam spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam…” Like the song, spam is an endless repetition of worthless text. Another school of thought maintains that it comes from the computer group lab at the University of Southern California who gave it the name because it has many of the same characteristics as the lunchmeat Spam:

  • Nobody wants it or ever asks for it.
  • No one ever eats it; it is the first item to be pushed to the side when eating the entree.
  • Sometimes it is actually tasty, like 1% of junk mail that is really useful to some people.

How can I prevent SPAM?

Below are practical tips on how to on how to handle spam that should help in reducing spam. You may also find these tips helpful.

1. Never send e-mail or reply to an e-mail requesting that you be removed or to unsubscribe unless you are familiar with the company. Some individuals and companies use this reply as a method of verifying the e-mail is valid and using this information to subscribe you to other mailing lists. If you do not know the individual or company simply delete the e-mail.

2. When filling out any type of form on the Internet, watch carefully for any type of check box that by default may be checked for you to receive a newsletter or share your e-mail with a a third-party.

3. When signing up for any e-mail list, see if the company has any type of SPAM or e-mail sharing disclaimer.

4. If you are concerned about a company sharing your e-mail address, set up a temporary e-mail account through Hotmail or other free e-mail service.

5. Be careful who you send your e-mail too. Sites that require you to sign up or request an e-mail for free products, free services, or contests commonly share your e-mail as a method of generating revenue.

6. Don’t send or recommend a friends or families e-mail address unless you are familiar with the service.

7. Never forward an e-mail that claims that it is capable of tracking the e-mail as it is sent or will help generate revenue for a certain cause to the more people it is forwarded to. These e-mails are commonly referred to as a chain mail and are commonly false and help individuals get additional e-mail address for SPAM.

8. Be careful where you post your e-mail address. In chat rooms or news groups, for example, anyone could quickly grab your e-mail address. We recommend that when you need to post or send your e-mail that you send it to a specific person or setup a temporary e-mail account as explained in number 4.

9. Finally, consider changing your e-mail address and/or getting another e-mail address and only letting friends, family, or the people you want e-mails from know about the new address.

Here’s another advice from Microsoft. It is comprehensive and practical. Read, Help keep spam out of your inbox.

Jerry G. Gervacio|Mandaue City|Contact: Send Mail
Blog I author (Bisaya): Ambot Lang!

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