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Drunk Vegan
2008-Aug-20, 07:09 PM
I always hear people complaining about the hundreds of spam emails they find in their mailbox every time they open it. I use Gmail, so there is almost never (like 99.999% of the time) a spam that manages to sneak through to my Inbox. They're usually safely segregated in a spam folder.

But they really aren't that many of them. I get, maybe, 20 spam messages per week, or about 3 per day. Even if Gmail didn't filter, it would not be a crisis.

I never really wondered why others have it so much worse with spam. I guess I always figured they were just complaining because they'd chosen a crappy email provider.

But somebody on the BA blog made an * excellent * post which explains where the spams are coming from:


yeliabmit Says:
August 19th, 2008 at 8:44 pm

My understanding is that many ó perhaps most ó of these emails (and similar ones that arenít just spamming porn sites or Viagra) are sent out into the wild to harvest active email addresses. People forward the message to others, who forward the forward, etc, and when it finally makes it back to a spammerís email account, the headers are full of nice fresh email addresses for them to add to their databases.

(From the Mars As Big As The Moon! post (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2008/08/19/mars-as-big-as-the-moon-its-baaaaack/#comments) - 6th comment.)

I'm just glad that I hate those stupid chain emails and delete em when I receive em. Spares me a whole lot of spam.

Trebuchet
2008-Aug-20, 07:16 PM
I have had my current personal e-mail account for about five years and NEVER get spam. Not even the filter is catching any. That's because I don't use it a whole lot and not too many people have my address.

My wife, on the other hand, has several dozen a week caught in the filter. That's because she has relatives, who have her e-mail address, and never saw a "free smilies" ad they didn't click or a cute fw:fw:fw:story they didn't feel they had to pass on to everyone they know. So I'd say the theory is right on.

AndreasJ
2008-Aug-20, 07:51 PM
I've never forwarded a single chain letter and I still get huge numbers of spam email to my gmail address (the huge majority of which getting caught in the spam filters).

Drunk Vegan
2008-Aug-20, 07:57 PM
That could have something to do with:

a) the popularity of your email provider
b) whether your email address is listed in the provider's directory
c) the uniqueness of your account name (if it's andrea@whatever.com I imagine you'll get a lot of randomly targeted emails that hit andrea @ every domain .com).
d) Signing up/registering for things - any time you make an account on a website for any reason and they send you that confirmation email, you run the risk that they farm email addresses and sell them to spammers.

Jeff Root
2008-Aug-20, 08:17 PM
I have about a half-dozen e-mail addresses currently active, all at the
same e-mail provider. Together, they accumulate about 5 spams per day
on average.

My e-mail provider uses what may be an unusual spam reduction method,
which I won't describe in detail, but it does not examine the content of
e-mails, instead it requires the e-mail to comply with the Internet e-mail
technical standards. E-mails which don't comply with the standard are
rejected by my e-mail provider. I don't know how effective the method is.

The e-mail addresses which get the most spam are the addresses I used
on USENET newgroups and the address for feedback on my website.
I should have modified the address on my website to make it hard for a
robot to read, but I wasn't aware of that possibility at the time I put up
the web page, and I've never changed the way I did it. Soon, maybe.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

AndreasJ
2008-Aug-20, 08:34 PM
c) the uniqueness of your account name (if it's andrea@whatever.com I imagine you'll get a lot of randomly targeted emails that hit andrea @ every domain .com).
It's not of that exact form (as you might have guessed from my username, my name is not Andrea), but yes, I get a lot of this kind randomly targeted spam. Another rich source of spam, I imagine, is the fact I use the address on Usenet. But I was merely pointing out that avoiding chain letters is no surefire way of avoiding spam.

Drunk Vegan
2008-Aug-20, 10:09 PM
It's not of that exact form (as you might have guessed from my username, my name is not Andrea), but yes, I get a lot of this kind randomly targeted spam. Another rich source of spam, I imagine, is the fact I use the address on Usenet. But I was merely pointing out that avoiding chain letters is no surefire way of avoiding spam.

Definitely one thing that can be done to help avoid it though, along with never posting it on a website in a form a robot can read, or signing up for websites/sweepstakes/whatever.

Delvo
2008-Aug-21, 02:09 AM
Definitely one thing that can be done to help avoid it though, along with never posting it on a website in a form a robot can read, or signing up for websites/sweepstakes/whatever.I did that once for a survey and saw my spam increase at a fairly predictable rate right after that until I got a new ISP and address. Now I have an address with which I've never done that, and get no spam at all again.

alexvorn2
2008-Aug-22, 01:25 PM
I use two e-mails : 1 for sites I trust and the second for sites i don't, you must do the same if you want to have an e-mail account with no spam.

Abbadon_2008
2008-Aug-22, 01:42 PM
yeliabmit Says:
August 19th, 2008 at 8:44 pm

My understanding is that many — perhaps most — of these emails (and similar ones that aren’t just spamming porn sites or Viagra) are sent out into the wild to harvest active email addresses. People forward the message to others, who forward the forward, etc, and when it finally makes it back to a spammer’s email account, the headers are full of nice fresh email addresses for them to add to their databases.

I get lots of spam. So my FRIENDS must be watching an awful lot of porn!
Yep. That's the ticket. It ain't me, for certain!

samkent
2008-Aug-22, 04:45 PM
Email addresses are no different than home addresses. Once you get on a list, that list gets sold to others. If you sign up for anything your address can end up on a list.
I run a web business so I have several emails under the domain as well as my personal yahoo/gmails. So I can personally tell you from experience robots troll websites for emails. Disgruntled people will sign you up on bad web sites.

Every once and a while an off shore company will get hold of one of our addresses and will send several hundred spams per day. After a couple of weeks they will get shut down. We had a few addresses we stopped using for a couple of years and tried reactivating. The spam started back up in just a couple of minutes.
If you get on the wrong list you might as well forget that address and get a new one.

novaderrik
2008-Aug-22, 06:06 PM
i keep a relatively low online profile, but i have relatives that have my email address.. they have long since stopped sending me those cutesy little emails, but i'm still in their address books, so i still get some spam from time to time.
but Yahoo does a good job of filtering out the junk.
however, i did manage to somehow anger a troll here on this very site a few days back (some of you might have seen the thread- i didn't even say anything mean this time), and now i get about 10 spam messages a day that get thru the Yahoo filter. it is a very minor inconvenience to click on the "spam" button for each message, and in a week or so, they will stop coming..
on a side note- does anyone know what kind of junk mail filter they use at Hormel foods- surely they don't want to block every email that might be considered "Spam"....

dethfire
2008-Aug-22, 07:30 PM
samkent is right, all it takes is one time to get one one list. your addy then gets sold a million times over :(