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Taming Email Overload, The Home Biz Notes Way (plus notes on dealing with spam)

by Celine on March 27th, 2008

If you’re tired of me going on about my own email habits, go over to Home Biz Notes and watch Yvonne Russell do it.

Yvonne mentions in the post that she has a spam problem. Here are some suggestions for those who are encountering the same thing (I’d have to say this probably includes almost everyone with an email address):

Try SpamBayes. SpamBayes is a spam-deleting plugin that is compatible with many versions of MS Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Gmail, and Thunderbird. Some of the versions are tested, while some aren’t. I’m using the version for Outlook 2003 and it works great. Here’s a better description of the plugin from the website:

SpamBayes will attempt to classify incoming email messages as ’spam’, ‘ham’ (good, non-spam email) or ‘unsure’. This means you can have spam or unsure messages automatically filed away in a different mail folder, where it won’t interrupt your email reading. First SpamBayes must be trained by each user to identify spam and ham. Essentially, you show SpamBayes a pile of email that you like (ham) and a pile you don’t like (spam). SpamBayes will then analyze the piles for clues as to what makes the spam and ham different. For example; different words, differences in the mailer headers and content style. The system then uses these clues to examine new messages.

Source: SpamBayes Sourceforge Website

Nip it in the bud, I mean, server. Another method of attacking spam is by tightening your mail protection from your mail server’s end.  This is much easier if you own the domain name or the host where your email is placed.  For example, I own, say, example.com.  My email address, [email protected] can be controlled via an online panel that let’s me control how tough the mail server is on spam.  The procedure depends on your control panel, or server, but when you do this there’s a risk of getting “false positives”.  To avoid that, make a whitelist of email addresses or domains that your mailserver will see as “ham” instead of “spam”.

If you must give away an email address to potential spammers, use Mailinator or a similar throwaway email address service.  I wrote a post about it here.

If you place an email address on a website, odds are the spam-bots are crawling it.  To avoid this, especially with a new account, use an email address encoder.  Web browsers can read it, but most automated email harvesters can’t.

Do you have any suggestions on how to cut back your email spam?  Please share them with us in the comments.

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