I have about 12 email addresses that I use but have access to as many accounts as I like with my own domains. This doesn’t include my Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail acounts. (Do you know I’ve just realised I have about 8Gig of email space between all my accounts? Why?)
Not including the Hotmail,Yahoo and Gmail accounts, at one point during last year I was hitting 400-500 SPAM a month.
Of those SPAM, about 95% were caught by anti-SPAM software and the rest were manually added to the software’s learning tree. At one point last year, it dropped to about 100 a month.
Some anti-spam applications have a facility to bounce email back to the sender which makes it appear that the address it was sent to was invalid. The idea being was the spammers are where then meant to say, “That address don’t exist!! Let me take it out of the database and never use it again”. Well the intent was there and initially it did lower my emails, but then the spammers got clever and started to filter out the fake ‘bounce’ messages. This then confirms that the email address is valid and can actually lead to an increase in spam.
Towards the end of last year, I was getting between 100 and 200 a month. Now because I had my server set to deliver all email to my domain to me via a catch all default address, (so you could email anything @ mydomain.com and it would get delivered to my default email address), this meant that I was starting to get a lot of ‘searching’ spam. They randomly generate email addresses using known domains and filter out the ones they get genuine bounce messages from. This was cured by switching off my default forwarder and then they were genuinely bounced back.
I was using a number of emails without accounts though for various uses… (I sometimes use online-shopping at mydomain.com, house-hold-bills at mydomain.com when I am using particular services. It allows me to filter emails when received whilst using only the one account to receive them all.
Getting rid of my “catch all” method mean I had to set up a few new accounts or direct them to a known account.
I had been using an application for anti-spam and it proved quite good at filtering out SPAM, but I am always wary of setting it to auto-delete spam just in case it hits something that maybe I did want, perhaps an address I had not added to my safe list, or a reply from a new address. So I always end up reading through the junk mail folder before I delete them anyway. So my inbox maybe clean, but I still waste bandwidth downloading them, and my time in reading them, so its hardly an ideal anti-spam solution.
There are some that say keep an email account secret, hide it away someone, but one day you will forget and post it to a forum that you didn’t mean to and bang, that ones gone too. There are also some that say you don’t get spam if you don’t enter it on sites you would want to get spam from, but they are persistent buggers and they will get your address one way or another eventually.
But in saying all the above. I removed my anti-spam software in November 2004. It is now 26th of January, and my total number of spam since removal? Less than 50.
Why? How? Back in November I realized that I still had an account at Spamcop.net which I had set up when my anti-spam software had a module for automatically reporting email to. But the module in the spam application didn’t work right and so I never used it.
Out of curiosity I started manually posting various spam at Spamcop and whoosh, my levels dropped way off. It seems they don’t like getting warning emails from Spamcop, their ISP’s or the hosting providers. After 3 weeks of using it, spam dropped to a crawl. In the last week I have had about 10 spam, and most of those are from the same group. All I get now are those damn pesky investing emails and the odd “I’m a son of a general from Nigeria who has won the lottery and my auntie Botogwana is threatening to kill me if I don’t transfer it to a Swiss bank via your account” type emails.
Saying that, they have probably had a good 2004 and have taken the last couple of months off while they sun themselves on a beach somewhere and my spam will creep up again.