4 Easy Steps to Rid Your Email Inbox of Spam
Anyone who’s ever had an email address knows the dread of wading through all their junk-mail clogging up their inbox. Also known as spam, these unsolicited messages account for as much as 94% of all e-mail sent across the internet, with over 100 billion of these messages sent per day according to a recent New York Times article. These messages can range from annoying pharmaceutical ads to outrageous money scams to potentially dangerous viruses. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with this junk, but there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself, your business, and perhaps most importantly, your sanity.
Multiple Email Addresses for Different Occasions We've all had the urge to give out our email address for a chance to win some fabulous prize or join a mailing list to receive great tips and deals. In fact, there are plenty of reasons to give out your email address, whether it is to set up a profile on social-networking sites, post on public forums, buy and sell stuff, sign up for mailing lists or get special offers. With a growing number of companies looking to generate business through email promotions, giving out your email addresses is one of the quickest ways to generate lots of junk mail. The solution: keep your personal, work, and public emails separate by creating a different email address for each of these types of occasions. You can have emails from your public address automatically forwarded to a separate folder in your personal or work email. It may seem like a bit of a hassle, but in the end it saves time by ensuring that all the junk goes to one place, separate from your more important messages.
Beware of Registration Forms A growing number of websites are starting to require registration for access to their services. The key piece of information required for registration is usually your email address. Some sites will make it exceptionally easy by only asking for your email address and a password. Before giving this out, pause for a second and ask yourself what you’re gaining from signing up, and if you’re willing to receive the daily or weekly emails that will most likely result from this. If you still want to register, then sign up with a public email address rather than your private or work email.
Never respond to spam. Ever. We have all seen the subject lines with a deal that's too good to pass up or the special deals only for you. Maybe you’re tempted and reply to find out more, or maybe you’re tired of receiving 20 emails in one day from the same sender and reply with a demand that they stop spamming you. Whatever your motivation is for replying, by reading and responding to these emails you are letting spammers know that there is a susceptible consumer behind that e-mail address paying attention to their advertising ploys. Once you’ve been tagged as a active, potential customer, you can certainly expect more junk mail to be headed your way. So, if you want to minimize future spam, don’t respond to junk mail. Sometimes you’ll receive incomprehensible emails or messages without a sender. Don't respond to these either. If you do, you’re just asking for more spam. Perhaps the most tempting spam to reply to is one that has, tactfully written at the bottom of the message, something like “to unsubscribe to this mailing list, reply ‘unsubscribe,’ to this address.” Resist the temptation. Often these companies will take your reply to mean you are actually reading their ad and spam you even more from another address.
Choose an Email Provider with Effective Filters If you’ve already set up a separate public email address, and your private or work email is still being bombarded with spam, probably the best thing you can do to control the problem is to use a good spam filtration system. In most cases, whoever is providing your email address will have some kind of spam filter. Many systems allow you to tag messages from specific addresses or containing specific key words as junk mail. The system will then automatically forward all emails from those senders or containing those words to a separate junk folder. You may have to occasionally skim through this folder to make sure nothing important was forwarded there. Take the time to look into your email provider’s spam filtration system and learn how to use it, or if you’re not satisfied with the built-in system, you can look into downloading one you like more. This could end up saving you loads of junk-wading time in the future. By following these 4 simple steps you will find yourself on the way to a more efficient and refreshingly spam-free inbox.