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Why Am I Getting So Much Email Spam?

Dealing with email spam has become a normal daily activity costing businesses and individuals billions of dollars. Preventing spam from happening starts with understanding how your email address is found in the first place.

Google reCAPTCHAThere are several ways emails are harvested, the most relevant for businesses is simply typing it out on your website. You want clients to be able to contact you easily but having your email address displayed this way makes it an easy target to be “scraped” by bots. Having a contact form with a CAPTCHA bot detection script is a much safer way to allow clients to contact you via email through your website.

If you have a Google account reCAPTCHA from Google is a new free service that has an even more advanced bot detection software.

alert_iconTry to not open spam emails, reply or click unsubscribe links. Doing this may help spammers to identify that your email address is active making things even worse.

Unsubscribe links should only be used on emails for mailing lists you know that you signed up for in the past. Spam emails will not have legitimate unsubscribe links.

WHOIS Domain Name Registration

WHOIS Domain LookupAnother way that your email and contact information is harvested is through your WHOIS registration contact data. The WHOIS databases store contact info for the owners of all registered domains. When you register your websites domain name (ie. your contact information used to register it is shown publicly.

whoisguardNameCheap offers a service called WhoisGuard which replaces your email address in the WHOIS database with a unique email address. Every email sent to this address is filtered and then forwarded to an email address of your choice, drastically reducing the amount of spam in your inbox, while ensuring you receive legitimate communication. This is the best option for protecting your website from becoming a victim of spam from the start.

I did not purchase this for one of my website domains and I received a letter in the mail from a domain company telling me that my website was going to expire, essentially sending me a fake bill!

Thunderbird Email Spam FiltersManaging Spam With Thunderbird

Thunderbird is a popular open source email application that features easy to use tools to help you manage incoming email spam. You simply mark messages as spam by clicking the “junk” icon and emails are sent to trash without having to open them. After awhile Thunderbird uses its adaptive filter algorithms (based on your preferences) to identify which messages are legitimate and which are spam, sending it automatically to the trash.

Here is some more technical information on setting up Thunderbird’s spam settings.

Action Taking Steps

Here are a few simple action steps you can take to help protect your website and email address from spam:

    1.) Don’t display your email on your website. Use a contact form with a CAPTCHA bot protection software.
    2.) Use a WHOIS registration masking service.
    3.) Don’t open, reply or click unsubscribe links in spam.
    4.) Use your emails application spam detection software.
    5.) If your receiving a lot of spam try forwarding your email to secondary address setup with a free email service such as Google’s Gmail. Gmail has sophisticated spam detection software that will help you filter and manage spam.

Here is a funny TEDTalks video of James Veitch discovering what exactly happens if you reply to a spam email.

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