Spam CSI

August 7th, 2015

You may have noticed a few more SPAM messages in your inbox recently. SPAM, not the yummy meat product kind either, is trending up again, reminding us all that the pest has not gone away. Recently I attended a brainstorm where we sat and rethought the battle with SPAM, yes SPAM. Instead of the typical kneejerk reaction of adjusting our SPAM filter or screaming, we decided to CSI or in other words use intelligence to analyze and defeat the anonymous beast. We ended up coming up with simple, proactive ways to combat SPAM before our inbox gets it.

WEBSITES: Review how your email addresses are coded on your website. If your email is hyperlinked in clear text, for example when you hover over it, your email is easy pickins’ for email harvester software that will scrape the address over and over for SPAM lists. Talk to your Web developer about changing your website email address to an image, scrambled script, challenge submit forms or removing your personal business email all together.

LEGIT MARKETING EMAILS. Review your inbox for a link to your past. One sign up made years ago can come back to haunt you exponentially. When you signed up to download whitepapers, attend an event, join newsletters, connect on social media or work with vendors, the fine print you clicked through may have legally allowed the source to trade, sell or use your email address how they chose. The emails you see today as SPAM may actually be several lists removed from one of your past legit signups and thus, not identified as SPAM. Carefully review marketing emails that you get (and usually delete) regularly for safe unsubscribe options and begin the process of eliminating the marketing emails you truly do not want, you will be surprised at how many there are and how many legit lists your email is part of. One unsubscribe list we recently reviewed led to as many as 83 legit marketing emails lists tied to one white paper download! I can say after a week of diligent work on my inbox, I have viewed a lot of unsubscribe lists, stayed malware free and have a lot cleaner inbox to work from every day. I would estimate that I reduced legit marketing or informational emails I did not read however were also not SPAM, by one hundred or more per day, a lot of emails I previously had assumed were SPAM and thus lazily deleted, weren’t SPAM after all.

USE A THROW AWAY EMAIL ACCOUNT: Obtain an online email account from Google, Yahoo or Microsoft and use it for all future email signups for events, marketing, whitepapers etc. Think of it as your higher risk email account and begin protecting your business email address like it is your cell phone number, only giving it directly to contacts you know. This process will save your daily business inbox sorting.

There you have it folks, with a little bit of good ole fashioned elbow grease, you too can enjoy a cleaner, leaner inbox. Just ask my friend who has a lot of money to send me if I email him my bank account numbers. Hmm, another day.

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