Too Much Spam?

By Elizabeth Rodgers

Spam is not delicious. Yet, we all eat it. Every day.

When you make an online purchase, sign up for a newsletter or buy something on eBay, your email is up for grabs. Vendors may sell your email address or use it for their other companies to solicit your business. At the very least, they will send you a monthly email with some great deal they have. Spammers could also be trolling chat sites to gather addresses. Hence, spam. So what's the solution?

Get a 2nd, free email address with say, Yahoo or Hotmail, for all of your online purchases. (If your main email address is with Yahoo or Hotmail, just get another one.) Then, keep your main email private, SACRED. NEVER purchase anything online with your main email address. Don't even sign a petition! Use your secondary email for that. Most of your spam will now go to the secondary email. And, since you never give out that email address to anyone you care about, you can just delete all of your emails at that secondary address en masse. Nice.

A few other things to think about: don't respond to spam. Don't YELL, don't even ask nicely to be taken off their list. Even if they say, "to unsubscribe, press reply and type 'remove' in the subject line" - unless you know and trust the company. Otherwise, they will know that they have reached an active email address and they will send you more. If you have spam notification software, check it off as spam and then delete. Even better: delete spam before you open it - sometimes opening spam can trigger an alert to the spammer that your email address is active. (Insidious, eh?)

USE the spam filters! Most email programs like Outlook, Outlook Express and Entourage have them. They allow you to set different levels of protection: the highest level being that you will only allow mail from those already in your address book. Yahoo and Hotmail also have spam filters in place. If you're really not kidding around, you could buy a spam blocker like SpamArrest. It's super easy to use, keeps the junk emails away and if you're still interested, you could look at your daily spam, if you really wanted to. But just know, spam is not good for you.

Elizabeth Rodgers (along with her husband, Jonathon Fishman) is the founder of Ben's Ranch, a personal and small business technology service company. Elizabeth also writes for television and film. For more information on Ben's Ranch, please visit