Email - Friend or Foe?

2000

2014

In 2000

World Population: 6.09 billion people

Internet Users: 361 MILLION users

In 2014

World Population: 7.18 billion people (18% growth)

Internet Users: 3.0 BILLION users (731% growth)

Source: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

Email Statistics:

- There are over 2.5 billion email users worldwide and over 4.0 billion email accounts worldwide.

- It is estimated that over 196 billion emails are sent every day.

Source: http://www.radicati.com/

Taming the Monster

For me, email is one of my primary methods of communication and information gathering.  I continue to try to find ways to consolidate my email, but I am involved with so many different organizations, that I have not been able to consolidate my email into just one (1) email account.

  • Personal - three (3) email accounts and I monitor three (3) other accounts
  • The Shepherd’s House - one (1) email account and I monitor two (2) other accounts
  • Grace Network International - one (1) email account  and I monitor two (2) other accounts
  • Love INC of Central Oregon - I monitor one (1) email account

Total email accounts: 13

I estimate that I am currently receiving over 500 emails every day, 80% of which are junk mail.  That is over 400 emails each and every day that I don’t need to see, read or do anything with other than to get them out of my inbox.

There are several methods I could use to deal with this many email messages.

1. Slog through all of my accounts manually every day reading good email and marking and removing junk mail one at a time.

2. Change email addresses at least twice per year to stay ahead of the spammers. The longer an email address is active on the Internet, the more junk mail it will receive.  Over time, spammers will find your email address and you will begin to get more and more junk mail.  By changing email addresses several times a year you can actually remain somewhat spam free, but you will become very annoying to your friends, family and customers who want to stay connected with you.

I established our first domain name (email address) in 2000, gatleyfamily.com.  This domain receives by far the largest amount of spam because it has been in existence for over 15 years.  The activities of other users on the domain can also substantially increase spam mail for everyone on the same domain name.  Once a single email address is discovered on a domain everyone on that domain begins to receive more and more junk mail.

3. Use email client (Outlook, Gmail, Mail, etc) spam blocking features.  One of the most common features of the email software you use to read your email is some sort of junk mail marking and/or filtering feature. Once you mark a message as “Junk”, the software remembers your selection and marks all future emails from that sender as junk.  The software is also “smart” in recognizing junk mail and will attempt to filter out email messages that look like junk mail.

4. Use server spam blocking features.  This is very similar to the client blocking methods explained above, but the filtering happens at your email server and you do not even see the email message that has been blocked because the server blocks it or moves it to a specific folder before it makes it to your inbox.

With most server services, I find that I still get quite a bit of junk mail AND some of my NOT JUNK messages get trapped in the system and never make it to my inbox. I feel as if I have less control with this service and I don’t know what happens with some of my email.

5. I can use an online service like SaneBox*.  This is what I am using now.

https://www.sanebox.com/signup/a94b63231f.

*NOTE: By using this link, I will receive a $5 credit if you start a free trial and an additional $20 credit if you subscribe to their service.

SaneBox watches two of my most active email accounts, gatleyfamily.com and briangatley.com.  During the past year, I have “trained” the system to recognize over 20,000 contacts as Junk Email senders. If I receive an email from any of these contacts, the email never makes it to my inbox.

Because of the amount of spam and junk mail in cyberspace, I still receive over 200 junk mail messages every day, even though I have identified over 20,000 junk email addresses that I never see. Without SaneBox, I would probably be slogging through over 1,000 emails every day.

There area also many other features of SaneBox like deferring email to be sent to your inbox at a later date, putting email on vacation hold, and even custom filtering messages to a specific email folder.

For email addresses that receive a lot of junk email, I highly recommend SaneBox.  They even address the issue of Gmail accounts and why SaneBox is better than Gmail tabs and filters.

How to Reduce Junk Mail

There are several precautions and practices you can use to limit the amount of junk mail you receive:

1. DON’T OPEN - When you open junk mail on your computer, it will typically let the spammer know that the message has landed in a viable email account. Once they know they have a viable account, they send even more spam to that mailbox and even tell their fellow spammers about the mailbox they found that opens spam mail.

Remember…there is so much spam on the Internet today for only one reason….IT WORKS! Yes, people open spam mail every day and try to buy or access what the message has to offer.

2. DON’T SUBSCRIBE - Do not subscribe to email lists or services from sources you don’t know.  Spammers sell your email address to other spammers.  Once you are on a spammers list you will eventually make it on thousands of other lists because your email address is sold over and over to other spammers.

There are services and email lists that you can subscribe to (like briangatley.com) who will not sell your email address to spammers and who will not fill your inbox with emails. But be sure you know the source of the list you are subscribing to.

3. DON’T UNSUBSCRIBE - If it looks like you are on a spammers email list (that you didn’t subscribe to) do NOT try to unsubscribe.  This again is an indication that they have found a viable inbox with a real human being who will click on email.  You will never get off their list once you are on it.

If, however, you have subscribed to a viable list and want to unsubscribe from that list, you can do so.  Reputable email lists will unsubscribe you from their list with no questions asked and no further unwanted emails.

4. RECOGNIZE SPAM - Learn to recognize spam email messages.

 - FROM - Look at the sender’s email address and recognize proper email addresses. An email from Bank of America will not come from “open-now@314-bankofamerica-jp.com” even if the sender’s name is “Bank of America”.  Anyone can change the sender’s name to whatever they want and make it look like it is from a viable company or individual.

 - SUBJECT - A blank subject, or a blank reply (RE:    ) can be an indication that it is junk mail, but not always. 

Special characters (***buy now—$$$***) in the Subject line is most likely an indication of junk mail.

Vague subject lines (open now, your immediate attention, your car loan, your insurance, etc) are typically an indication of junk mail.

 - MISSPELLING OR BAD GRAMMAR - If the subject or body of a message contains misspelled words  (especially from a company, bank, or government) it is most likely spam.  Most professional legitimate senders of email know how to use spellcheck. Bad grammar in the body of a message is usually a clear indication that the message is junk mail, again, especially if it is coming from your bank, professional company or government.

 - PERSONAL INFORMATION - If any of your personal information in a message is slightly incorrect, it is most likely junk mail.  For example: “concerning your credit card 6498” or “Dear Mr. Gattlleeyy". I don’t have a credit card ending in 6498 and my last name is not spelled “Gattlleeyy", the message is junk mail.  Also, your financial institutions will not expose or ask for any of your personal information through email. 

5. PHISHING - Phishing is a means of getting any information about you they can, including your computer hardware information, your location, your operating system, your bank, your account number, your social security number, your telephone number, etc.  Any website you visit will know the computer operating system you are using and the software you are using to access the website.  They will also know your general location if you are not using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), but they will not know anything else about your location (i.e. address, phone number, etc) without access to your Internet Service Providers records.  So don’t give more personal information online than necessary.

6. "FIX YOUR COMPUTER" - Do not click on anything that tells you your computer needs to run faster, or that your computer has a security threat, or that your computer is running out of disk space.  All of these messages are attempts to gain access to your computer.  If your computer needs something, go out and get it from a reliable support or software vendor online. Don’t RESPOND to a need that just pops up from an email message or website.

These are just some of the things you can do reduce and/or limit the amount of junk mail you receive in your inbox.

If you have any questions or comments about junk email, just comment below.