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              "SPAM Filters - Good or Bad...Here's my opinion."
                        Copyright 2004 by Wes Waddell
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The new Can Spam Bill is in full force, the number of junk messages we 

receive has actually gone up.

Regulation, as almost always, has made it tougher on those that play by 

the rules and done little to detour those that don't.

So, what do we do to fight this river of spam? I know many of you have 

started using one of the various spam filtering services or software programs 

that are available.  I know because it's getting harder and harder to get
our members the information they need to access the resources they paid 

good money for!

Depending on the application you chose, this may have been a big mistake!

If you are doing any type of business that relies on e-mail or you send and 

receive long (anything over 2 paragraphs) e-mails, this is most certainly not 

the right solution...it is in fact a roadblock for your friends, family and most 

of all... customers! 

Why?  Do you know how many mails you are losing?

Quick question... do you do business on the internet?  NO! 

 

I'll bet you're wrong, but we'll get to that in a minute.

First, let's look at how these filters work and how it affects your ability to 

receive e-mail you want:

1.  Activating the spam filters your Internet Service Provider (ISP) provides 

     you built into your email account...

     These filters are programmed to "key in" on certain words and phrases 

     in your mails and assign them a point value.

     If the point value gets too high, it automatically dumps the message and 

     you will never even see it. Now, I know that some ISPs don't delete the 

     messages right away, they place them in a "Junk" folder and hold them for 

     a period of time before deletion.

     The main problem here is that unless you log onto the account through their 

     internet (on-line) portal, you won't even know that they're there. Even if you

     do check them, you still have to manually go through them to find your 

     wanted messages. 

     What did this save you? Nothing, it just made it more difficult for you to do 

     the filtering yourself.

     Think this doesn't effect you?

     Think that your ISP is only filtering words and phrases that you don't use?

     Think again. In reality you will end up losing mail from friends, family, and 

     if you do business with e-mails - CUSTOMERS!

     Let's take a look at why. Here are just some of the words that are
     considered to be spam in nature (most filters have hundreds):

     a.  vacation
         "When are you going on vacation? Maybe we can plan a vacation 

          together."

     b.  business
          "She tried to tell me it was none of my business, but I just wouldn't listen."

     c.  website
          "I put the cruise photos on my website." or "You need to check out 

          this scrap website."

     d.  dear
          "Dear Mom,"

     e.  free (Sometimes, just using this word once is enough)
         "I'm free Saturday, want to do something with me?"

     As you can see from the sample sentences, these words are not just used by 

     the spammers. They are frequently used by "you" too.

     Since no machine or software can tell you from the bad guys, I'm telling 

     you, DON'T turn those filters on.

     And, if you use an ISP that automatically filters incoming mail without giving 

     you any choice in the matter...CHANGE ISPs. Fast!

2.  Using anti-spam software on your own machine... 

     The software you buy and install on your server or your personal computer 

     works the same as ISP spam filters.  In many cases, they are the same 

     exact software.

     Don't use them!

     Software programs cannot tell you from the spammers.

3.  Using an anti-spam service that forces writers to confirm their email 

     address...

     This is actually a very good solution for people who only receive 

     personal email. Unfortunately, it is still a rotten solution for anyone using 

     e-mail to do business on the net.

     Again, you ask Why?

     Think about it...when YOU receive a notice that you must confirm your 

     email address before your message will be sent to the reader, do you always 

     take the time to do it?

     Your friends and family, while slightly annoyed, will most likely understand 

     and take that action. 

     What about the rest of the world?  The truth is, over half the other people on 

     the internet WOULD NOT.

     And, if a potential employer (what if you're job hunting), customer or prospect 

     is writing you -- and they get a notice that they must first confirm their email 

     address?  More than half of them are going to say "forget it... this is too 

     much trouble."

     When you need to make it as easy as possible for people to contact you, 

     you can't afford even the smallest of chances they'll think it's too much trouble. 

     Each additional step of the process gives your respondent a chance to 

     say "forget it" and walk away.

     You want to reduce the steps your friends, family and prospects take...not 

     add to them. 

So, what's the best answer?

Yes, there is a good solution to the spam filtering dilemma.

Almost without exception, every email program offers the user the ability 

to filter and route incoming messages.

This is the way I recommend filtering out the spam...especially if you're 

sending or receiving lengthy e-mail letters or doing business on the internet.

Here's Why?

Number one, it puts YOU in charge of what words or phrases should be keyed 

on...instead of a program or machine.  You know best what kinds of mail you 

get and should be the one deciding what words or phrases are bad and who's 

mail should be sent directly to the trash bin.

It's not hard, just start looking through the body of the junk messages you're 

receiving, and filter out the phrases that are used repeatedly in the messages. 

You even have the option in most programs to block e-mails from anyone at a 

particular site. For example: anyone@this-site.org

Since you have complete control, you can ensure words and phrases used by 

your friends and family are never filtered out.

Which means...

You'll receive ALL messages you want while keeping the access process simple 

for your customers and prospects. 

Yes, you will get a few junk mails through, but how many do you get now? 

Wouldn't it be nice if they could only do it once before you block or send them 

straight to the trash?

Take control of your e-mail box... Learn to use the controls you have built into 

your mail program. Don't let your ISP or someone else decide for you what mail 

you get and what mail you don't! You're much more qualified than they are.

Still think you don't do business on the internet? 

 

We already gave one example above that might be you. Most classifieds and 

resume' houses are now automated on the net. Employers will be contacting 
you by e-mail, that is if they can get through.

Our site and hundreds just like it use the internet for information and resource 

access. Getting your passwords (another filter word) and log-ons is doing business 

on the internet.

How many of you get coupons in your e-mail from the craft store or kiddie photo 

shop?  That's marketing and that's business in its truest form.

Medical information updates, prescription reminders, E-CARDS!  These are all 

doing business on the internet.

The fact is that the only way you are not doing some kind of business on 

the internet is if you never use the internet.

Your filter may be keeping some (key word here - SOME) of the junk away, 

but how much really great things are you missing just to save a few minutes time?

Just my opinion.


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About The Author:
Wes Waddell (http://www.PrincessCrafts.com) is the Marketing 
and Web author for PrincessCrafts.com. PrincessCrafts specializes 
in teaching others how to easily and affordably build computer scrapbook
pages and how to take your scrapbooking out of the books and 
put it where you never thought possible. Check us out today!
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Wes Waddell

PrincessCrafts.com

5505 Whipshaw Rd.

Peyton, CO  80831

(719) 683-5780