Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dump spam...

I'm going to go slightly off topic here for a few minutes.

I don't know about you, but I get so much spam it isn't even funny. In fact, eliminating some of the spam frees up so much time I can get in the garage more...

I just want to share one of my spam strategies. It is fairly effective, and if you put the right pieces in to place, it can make your email communication much more efficient. It does involve having two two things.

The first requirement is owning your own internet domain, and having it hosted where you can control the mailbox... and most hosts let you control the mailbox for your domain. You can own your domain through a number of registrars for under $10/yr. Hosting can be done for just a few bucks a month.

The next thing you need is a program or service that will collect your mail and sort it for you. I use MS Outlook, although Mozilla Thunderbird would be a great open source (=free) option. You might also be able to do it through a webmail service like Gmail or Yahoo or something... but I haven't tried.

So, the first thing to do it start being REAL careful about who you give your "real" email address. I have a primary that is on my business cards, and I give to people. I won't post it here... there is a contact form on my websites... because there are harvesting programs that surf the net looking for addresses.

Second, when filling out those hundreds of forms every time you have to give an email address, use a unique address. My Airtran Rewards account uses AirTran at my domain dot com. Notifications from here use Blog at my domain dot com. (btw, mydomain dot com is not the actual domain...) This does two very important things. The first one is that it lets me know where the email came from. If I get an email to AirTran at my domain, and that email comes from Hertz rent-a-car, I know that AirTran sold my address.

The next step both reduces the spam one needs to look at, and organizes email that one might actually want to read. In Outlook, make folders for different types of mail. I have folders for real estate related mail, and then it is further broken down into client names, RPAC, and then various other folders based on need. I also have a folder for 4x4 stuff. It is broken down into club stuff, and then other catagories as needed. There are several other categories and sub-categories that I use... but you get the idea... and yours will different and based on your own needs.

Finally, build rules (I do it as mail comes in) to route the mail to the appropriate folder. When I changed from my old address, I replied to people as needed, and gave them a new address to route their mail to the appropriate place. As mail came in to the new addresses, I wrote rules in Outlook so that the mail would go to the folder I needed it to go to.

Now, as my mail comes in, I can glance and know if it is something I need to be on right away, or if it is something that can wait. I empty out my junk folder several times a day, but it only takes moments instead of the great deal of time it would take before.

I hope this helps. And, I know there are other strategies to lower spam as well.

Just don't route MY mails to spam...

And, I will soon be deploying a GREAT offer through email. Keep an eye on my new website for details... they aren't there yet, but will be in the next week... It's going to be a cool deal.

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