What system can you set up that will allow you to deflect spam and receive important email messages from people and companies that you care about? I’ve been thinking about how to reduce the amount of time I spend grazing through spam to get to my important, real email messages. Certainly there are spam filters, black boxes, challenge systems, and more. But I’ve come to believe that most of the spam I get happens because I was careless about who I gave my email address to over the years and where I’ve published it. So I’ve been thinking that it might be a good idea to have two email addresses, my real one and an alias. Let me explain how this could be helpful. Think about what you use email for…
The Email I Want Contains:
Subscriptions That I Like
The Email I Don’t Want Contains:
Subscriptions That I Don’t Like
What Are The Problems?
I often use my email address to subscribe to new email lists who turn out to be less than expected. They either don’t deliver on their promise or turn out to be spammy marketers.
Often the people behind email subscription lists are spammers and will never opt you out even if you ask them to. There is no way to know this the first time you opt in to an email subscription or list.
Sometimes I meet people who I give my email address to and they turn out to be “spammy”. They email me more often than I’d like or they add my email address to lists I don’t want be on.
I’ve often published my email address online. Spammers harvest email addresses online and replicate or sell them to other spammers.
What Are Some Solutions?
1. Never publish your real email address on a website. Use contact forms instead.
2. Besides your real email address, create an “alias email address ” at Yahoo or Gmail (or create an alias on your domain name) that you use for any subscriptions or that you give out to people you are just getting to know. Only give your real email to trusted friends and important prospects or clients.
3. Check your alias once or twice per week just to see how things are going and to see if you are happy with what is being sent to you there.
4. If you are happy with a subscription you can then change the subscription to your real email address (the one you check every day). If the person you gave your alias email address to is courteous and hasn’t turned into a spammer, you can send them your real email address.
Now you’ll have an easy way to evaluate a subscription or a person you aren’t sure about giving your email address to before they actually have your real email address. You’ll also avoid having your real email address scraped from a website somewhere online.
Another thing you can do is to create an email forward from your alias to your real email address so that everything comes to one place. Than if you find out that something or someone you gave your email to is a spammer and you can’t get off their list, you can create a rule that stops their email messages from coming (and remember, you’ve never given them your real email address).
How Do You Get Started?
Well, this is a problem for many people (me being one of them) because you have so many old friends who have your email and you don’t want to risk missing communications from them. If you are just getting started using email (unlikely) then it’s easier. If you are starting a new job it can be easier too because a new email comes along with your new job and you can get a fresh start. In any even, if spam is just eating away at your day and your time, you might consider starting over with a new email address (well, actually, two of them :-)) and letting only your best friends and most important customers know the real one.