Dragonboy IT & Electronics Journey

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Spam and Spammer

Spam and Spammer, I got many junk email today. Tired of cleaning it up. If I do not clean the spam email for 1 week, i will get a hundred of them. *sigh*. Then I decided to blog about spam.

What is actually a Spam? to me, a Spam is a junk email that is sent in bulk to many people with or without the intention of commercial but most of the time, we do not request to have the email delivered to our mail box.

A few years ago, when you open your hotmail, every day, I will need to clear up my hotmail from junk mail manually. Until finally Hotmail introduce a filter.
I quickly setup a filter:

Every subject that have:
1. $$
2. Lottery
3. Win

Just filter it away to junk mail :).

But its not enough, they are getting better, so finally I have no choice, I have to introduce a new method, so finally i go to exclusive mode.

Means, instead of filtering by words, I filter everybody :P, as long as their name are not inside my list, just throw them to junk mail.

There is a catch though, if I do this, I might filter the genuine people, long forgotten friend, new friend, etc.

Why Spammer keep sending you email?
Because its cheap, to send 250,000 Emails, some spammer company will only charge you 199 USD. Means, 1 Email will only cost the advertiser: 0.000796 USD. How did they get email address ? trust me, when you do posting in the internet, homepage, or any mailing list that you have. some automatic robot program can harvest those email addresses from the web.

Sooooo cheapppp, and the idea is, if for every 1000 people they got 1 genuine buyer, means for the price of 199 USD, you got 250 buyer. Its really tempting business for advertiser.

But oh well, nothing is perfect.

Recently there are lots of improvement in-terms of fighting with spam:
1. in USA alone, you can be sued if you send spam.
2. Program anti-spam is getting better, they use analyse of the subject, body, and mark it as spam.
3. Filter the hosts that is known for sending spam. --> not really effective though, since the hosts will just keep changing.

Some entreprise product - (Means only a company will buy it :P )
a. Symantec Brightmail AntiSpam -> not free
URL: http://www.symantec.com/

b. Spam Assassin -> Free
URL: http://spamassassin.apache.org

c. Etc, etc.

I do not want to talk about the product so much since I am sure nobody will be interested since most of the people do not have a MAIL SERVER :), they only use hotmail, yahoo, gmail :).

How to reduce Spam? (*Noted: You can not avoid spam*)
a. Never give your email address publicly in homepage, email, etc.
instead use this technique:
Assume your email is: abcdef@hotmail.com, you can put it like abcdef_AT_hotmail.com

So program harvesting email address will not pick up, obviously smart program will be able to do that, but most of them will just ignore it :).

b. Use Filter if possible
Filter the email with subject, from, thats possible, since if my name is dragonboy and my email is dboy. I am really sure nobody will call me: Hello dboy in the subject.

So in actual fact, I did that too, any subjects contains my "exact" email, straight go to the junk mail :).

c. Check policy before submit your email online - to be sure they will never send any spam
bla bla bla, I am sure you will never do that or read the fine line. how many of you actually read my blogs every word by words :)

d. Never and never respond "please remove me from your mailing list". Most of the time, you will just get more. WHY ??? because it confirm that your email is valid and active :-)

e. Open a 2nd email for special junk mail purpose. You can always have additional email account in different domain like yahoo, google, or hotmail. Once only for your personal usage. The other one is meant for junk mail or subscribe mailing list, etc.

Currently there is a debate whether to have a "pay mail" system i.e. if you want to send an email, you will have to pay for it maybe a very small amount like 1 cents. Eventhough I dont like this idea, but I am really sure it will reduce SPAM since now, they will have to pay 1 cents per email :), but its not good for your pocket too.

So we shall see, there are lots of debating on this 2nd generation of email, we shall see who will win next. But I am sure, we can not avoid spam, even if they have to pay to send email, they will do it, they will just increase the cost of advertising for sending email higher.



Post a Comment

<< Home