Spam emails are an unfortunate reality. We cannot avoid them entirely just yet, but there are numerous ways to minimise and manage them so that they become a minor annoyance rather than an overwhelming chore.

Understanding Spam Lists:

Many websites collect databases with their user’s information. Some of the less scrupulous websites sell off their databases for profit. Often, these databases land up in the hands of spammers.

Spammers use the domain names given (eg: @yourwebsite) to generate random email addresses using that domain. If you are working in an organization, this opens the entire company up to spamming.

The spammers then track the bounce-backs and make a new list of the addresses that prove valid.

Voila! Your email is potentially on a brand-new spam list.

There are many possible reasons people receive spam. Below are some of the most common:

  • Public Email Addresses. If your email address is listed anywhere public (which is something of a necessity in most businesses), you are in danger of being added to a spam list.
  • Other People. A member in your organization could enter their email on a 3rd party website to sign up for a service. If they do this, there is a possibility these websites could be selling their databases and your email address will become a casualty.
  • Acting on Spam. Any type of activity immediately notifies the spammer that the email address is valid. This includes replying, enabling pictures, clicking on links or even requesting to be unsubscribed.
  • Joke Lists. Often, people will forward funny emails to friends without deleting the email addresses in the forward. This means your email address finds its way into many different types of inboxes. Many of which are susceptible to, or even belong to spammers.

What can you do?

It’s not entirely hopeless. There are some tips and tricks you can use to help minimise the amount of spam you receive.

  • Make use of Spam Filters. Spam filters work by looking at the origin of the email and what it contains. The filter combs through what the email is about, the wording used and how many other people are getting that same email message. If it looks like spam, then the email is simply moved from your inbox into your spam folder. These filters get better the more you use them which brings us to tip 2.
  • Mark emails as spam. Each time you mark an email, the filter uses the information to refine itself. Over time, the number of spam emails making their way through to your inbox should decrease considerably.
  • Be stingy with your email address. Reputable businesses will not sell off their databases to third parties. Be careful about which websites you share your information with. If you are interacting with an online retailer you have not used before, take the time to check their privacy policy before sharing your email address.
  • Consider using a ‘spare’ email address. Many people use a ‘spare’ to post publicly on websites and forums while keeping their primary email address secure. This will help keep your email address more private however it does mean managing multiple inboxes.
  • Use a disposable email address. There is an option of using a disposable email address if you prefer. 10minutemail.com offers a service that will give you access to a working email address so you do not have to risk using your personal address on a website you do not trust. Once you have finished, simply exit the website and you can leave knowing you will never receive any unwanted mail as a result of it.

Email definitely makes life easier in many ways, but it can become tedious if you are having to devote time each day to sorting through a heap of junk mail before you can get to what is important. Use the above tips to help minimize the amount of spam you receive and always be careful when sharing your information online.

If your daily emails seem unmanageable, consider hiring a virtual assistant to help you manage them and prioritize what is important.

BONUS TIP: If you don’t normally receive a lot of spam but you find that you are suddenly getting “spam bombed”, be sure to check your financial accounts. This includes Amazon, PayPal, eBay, etc. Sometimes spammers will ‘bomb’ your account with spam in the hope that you will miss valid emails from these types of accounts, informing you of a transaction.

Forewarned is forearmed!

Bauhinia Solutions, Digital Marketing, Hong Kong

If you’re struggling to get started with your social media marketing, organise a call with Nicole to find out how we can help you develop and implement a social media marketing strategy, that showcases your brand on the platform, that’s right for you.

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Rivky is an experienced Digital Marketing Professional who enjoys the creative elements of drafting posts to driving engagement online. As a Client Manager she supports our clients who need digital and social media assistance.

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