Thursday, January 25, 2007

The SPAM experiments, Part I.

THE amount of spam mail I receive is seriously getting out of hand. What is even more annoying, is that the spammers are getting better and better at creating spam that gets by my email filters. As of right now, my inbox has over 3,000 email messages in it, presumably most of them are spam, but I do not want to delete them because I am not sure what they are.

I'm also getting a ton of crap from mailing lists that I either cannot unsubscribe from, or that I refuse to unsubscribe from on principle because I have to "create an account" and "fill out a profile" in order to unsubscribe. I should not have to tell you more about myself in order to tell you to never talk to me again. You really have to wonder sometimes if the people who set up these email systems put even the slightest bit of thought into what they are doing.

Most people eventually change email addresses to escape spam, which is a non-solution, as it immediately renders worthless any contact information that you have given out in the past. Why bother to print email addresses on business cards or resumes at all, if you know that the spammers will force you to change it in a year or two?

A few months ago, I remember reading about some guy that disabled his email account, causing all emails sent to him to bounce. A couple of days later, he turned it back on. His friends that were sending him legitimate emails that were getting bounces eventually re-sent what he didn't get. The spammers deleted his email address from their databases (because bounced messages cost them money). The net result was that after a while, the amount of email coming to him was drastically reduced, and he was able to keep his email address.

I am now in Day Two of this process. I haven't decided how long I am going to leave it off, as obviously there is a tradeoff - if I leave it off for too long, I run the risk of losing opportunities due to email non-delivery issues. Friends will simply try again, or call me on the phone, because they know I still exist. The problem is that some of my email is from strangers, and some of it could be potentially very valuable. How many job databases will I be removed from during this time? Will I miss out from meeting my long lost billionaire twin brother who finally found me after all this time? Who knows?


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