The subject of Spam blockers came up the other day on one of the online networks I belong to. The moderator of the network made the statement that he hated Spam Arrest and other white list Spam blockers, and was seriously considering boycotting them and not communicating with anyone who uses them. His main problems were with blockers like Spam Arrest, because they require the sender to verify his or her email address to prove that the email is being sent by an actual person rather than being computer-generated email sent by spammers. The verification requires that the sender type 5-6 letters or numbers that are shown in a box on the screen; and the entire process takes about two minutes – max. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but personally, I don’t see the big deal. But maybe that’s because I’m one of the offenders who uses Spam Arrest as my Spam blocker. It started a fairly decent dialogue about the pros and cons (mostly cons) of using this type of software. I have to say that I was surprised at the intensity of the posts by those that were against it.
Up until about six months ago, I didn’t use a Spam blocker at all. I can handle the email from all of the different software companies trying to lure me to their sites to buy their “really, really cheap” software, and the occasional email sent out by Internet marketers. I can even handle the constant email from the mail-order pharmaceutical companies trying to cell me Viagra or Cialis – even though, as a woman, I have absolutely no use for it. What really started wearing me down, were the emails from Nigeria and other third world countries trying to pitch their sad, sad (fraudulent) stories, and promising to split the millions of dollars they just found in accounts left by their dead relatives or business partners in overseas bank accounts if I’ll let them use my bank account as a depository for the money, and all of the “phishing” mail purporting to be from various banks and PayPal requesting my account information so that they can update their files. In addition to the fact that I was getting more and more of this particular email every day, it was really a pain in the neck to spend so much time deleting the email, and also put me at greater risk for viruses and all of the other lovely computer crud that’s out there. Now that I use Spam Arrest, none of this email makes it to my inbox anymore. I’m amazed at how much junk the Spam blocker stops on a daily basis; some of which have viruses. Now the spammers have taken it even further, and there’s a rash of “German” Spam making the rounds. Spammers are even sending fake updates out now, saying they are from Plaxo, LinkedIn, and various other sites in their attempt to gain personal information.
Two alternate solutions to using software that requires email validation were Cloud Mark and Spam Assassin. I also did a search on the Internet and found this handy dandy site dedicated to the elimination of Spam: http://www.spam-site.com, which seemed to have several other options as well.
I guess my questions to you are these:
1) How do you handle Spam? Do you use a Spam blocker, or do you just hit the delete key when Spam hits your inbox?
2) If you do use a Spam blocker, which one do you use? And, what do you like about it?
3) How big a deal is it to you to have to take that extra small step to verify your email address when someone (like me) uses a Spam blocker that requires you to do so? Do you take it in stride, or do you vow to ban that person from your address book forever?
It really doesn’t matter to me one way or another which Spam blocker I use, as long as it stops Spam and isn’t driving off potential clients. I’m open to suggestions.
So what do you think about the subject? Or do you even care at all?