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[whitespace] Stop The Spam

By Will Harper

In this brave new Internet age, life's certainties have grown to three: death, taxes and Internet spam.

Spam, for analog-era readers, is electronic junk mail. Like regular junk mail, it is annoying, irrelevant banter about ridiculous products and get-rich-quick schemes. There is no sure-fire way to get rid of it, but here are a few tips to slow the flow:

  • Never reply. Spam-hating experts advise against following a spam email's instructions to be removed from the offending mailing list. Your reply merely shows the spammers that your email address is valid and thus encourages more spam.

  • Report the bastards. Computer users can register with the Network Abuse Clearinghouse (www.abuse.net), which will forward complaints to the appropriate system managers. Users can also complain directly to Internet service providers, which usually have a special email address for reporting spam.

  • Use Filters. Popular email programs like Outlook Express allow users to filter out unwanted email. If that isn't good enough, individuals can register with Bright Mail (brightmail.com), a spam-screening service.

  • Establish an alias. Open a free account with Web-based providers like Yahoo! or Hotmail. Use that account whenever posting messages in chat rooms, buying stuff on the Net or website registration.

    For more information on spam, see the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email's website, www.cauce.org.

    And about those window envelopes in the kitchen? Consumers can write the Direct Marketing Association (1120 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, 10036) and ask to be removed from direct mail lists. You can also specify whether or not you want telemarketing calls (does anyone want telemarketing calls?). It takes about six weeks before the tide of enticing envelopes offering wealth and free Ginsu knives stops dropping through the mail slot.


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  • From the March 16-22, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

    Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

    For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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