The Battle For Control Of Your E-Mail Inbox

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Nobody likes SPAM. We’re talking about e-mail SPAM, of course, although the canned meat version isn’t exactly scoring high on the Twitter trend lists, either. Unsolicited messages in our inboxes are the enemy of productivity and sanity. Nobody wants to sift through 100 Viagra/Cialis/Rolex Watch ads before finding the e-mail with the details about your niece’s birthday party. There is a battle raging, and your inbox is in danger of enemy occupation.

So how do we protect our turf? Here are a few tips to make sure your front line battle plans are working:

Stay out of the line of fire. One key to keeping your inbox clean is to stay off of the spammers’ lists altogether. Whenever there is a risk of your information falling into the hands of a spammer, use an alternate (disposable) e-mail address. You can use this e-mail to filter (and delete) SPAM and effectively turn the tables on spammers. Using a disposable address on your homepage or blog will also help you filter out SPAM. When you get a legitimate message from a customer, prospect or friend, you can send them a “permanent” address for further communications. If you start getting hit with SPAM, change the disposable address on your homepage.

Pay attention. Many times, you unwillingly subscribe to an e-mail campaign because of a simple check box. Many tricky companies will open up your information to outside vendors via an obscure “opt-in” box somewhere in the order form/ information request. Make sure to read over every section and uncheck the boxes that allow others to access your e-mail.

Disguise your e-mail in community settings. Often times, you would like to give your Web site address or e-mail to other participants of a newsgroup, blog, forum or chat room. If you sincerely feel the urge to share this information, be sure to disguise your e-mail address from Web crawlers. If your e-mail is mary@hotmail.com, you should change it to read “mary at hotmail dot com” to avoid possible automated address seekers. The humans you want to correspond with will get it ... the computer might miss it.

Get creative with your e-mail address. If your e-mail is mary@hotmail.com, however, chances are you are getting SPAM. Spammers use various programs and scripts to guess common address usages. Using alternative names like maryincali or maryplaysball might get you immunity from some spammers. A better way would be to create your own domain name altogether. That way, you could use mary@ smithfamily.com and no one will be the wiser.

This comprehensive battle plan will help you win back your inbox. If you need any help along the way, please call Computer Problem Specialists at (928) 468-0000 for a free consultation. We can help you win the battle for your inbox — SPAM doesn’t stand a chance.

Daniel Taft is the senior network administrator and member/owner of Computer Problem Specialists, LLC with a degree in applied computer science. His career spans more than 20 years.

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