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Spam not ham

Beat spam - simple - change your email address

Fri 02 Jul 2010

You might be impressed that I live my life virtually spam free without the use of anti-virus or anti-spam software. Meanwhile there is no �real� messages lost to spam filters and those precious communications and broadcasts make it to the In-box every time.

Impossible in this day in age - actually its pretty easy. Just change your email address.

Before you scream �what?� hear me out. It is possible, in fact relatively easy. The only complicated bit  is setting up an �auto-responder� - that is the ability for your email service to send a message automatically back to the sender. This is most commonly seen in the form of �such and such is on leave�....

Here's the procedure for changing your email address with minimum hassle.
a. Decide on a new email address. You might have noticed that I have the year on the end of my email address and that it cycles every year. John2010 is the current one, but I am not receiving spam to last years email address, so its still working too.

Adding the year is my suggestion, but you might like to change from first name to first  name DOT last name, or at least add the first letter of your second name. This is a bit more corporate... and more respectful to your heritage :)

b. Once you have decided on the new email address, implement it and set up your email software to receive at this new address.

c. Ensure that your software is SENDING emails from the new address too!

d. Change any automatic email services, �watches�, Facebook registration and other things that are linked to the old email address. (Scanning your deleted items is the best way of identifying most of these)

e. Change your stationery, business cards

f. We are just about ready to put an end to spam. Notify your friends of the change via bulk email to your address book, text it, or even send a letter to your clients.

g. If you know how to put filters on your incoming email, highlight email still arriving to the old email address so you can easily spot people who have not acted on the change.

h. After a week or a month, you will notice that the only thing still highlighted is the spam. Cool eh?

i. Now the master stroke. Put an auto-responder on your old email address, so that the odd person and all the spammers get a message back automatically. The message says �I have changed my email address to, please forward email to me there� or similar.

The cool bit here is that �spammers� don't read all the bounce messages they receive. I suppose that when they get a list of 10000 email addresses to sell their enhancement drugs, they will always end up with 1-2 thousands bounce messages that they just ignore knowing that 8000 got their spam. In the 5 years that I have been doing this, the above theory has proven true as I have not found my way back one single spam lists.

j. Set your email software to NOT receive from your old address, knowing that real people will receive the auto-response and act on your message. I will get one a month that will actually congratulate you on this action.

So there you have it - live your life with out spam, spam in-boxes, missed messages, virus emails, anti-spam messages - and become a more effective, and happier communicator!

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