Email Anti-SPAM News, Help & Advice.

Fed up of receiving SPAM, viruses, scams and phishing schemes via email?? We were - so here are some useful news articles, hints and tips to keep informed and reduce the problem!

September 27, 2004

Use a better SMTP mail relay service

Most ISP's offer basic SMTP services (some offer none at all!).

They allow you to use their servers only while you are using their Internet connection (quite understandable!) but this causes problems if you use multiple ISP's.

As another anti-spam precaution they often only allow you to send as and not you@your-domain-name - no good if you do have your own domain name!!

To get around this you need to use an authenticated SMTP mail relay - we found AuthSMTP on Google - and it seems to work perfectly.

Their service authenticates you using a user name / password and allow access to multiple / alternate SMTP ports - meaning you should be able to use it from almost all ISP's.

In addition you authorise the 'from' addresses you send as - so you can only 'send' from email addresses you can 'receive' - so stops a lot of spam and phishing schemes which rely on being able to fake the sender address.

The benefit of this is it actually makes their servers more reliable - if normal ISP's send spam / phishing schemes their servers risk being blacklisted which means your email gets blacklisted!

The service is low cost, has been 100% reliable and well worth a look!

September 26, 2004

How is spam sent?

Spam is sent either from:

1. Individual computers that have been infected with a virus / trojan - they connect to the Internet and download lists of email addresses and start sending out spam.

2. Misconfigured email servers (open relay) - some people setup or reconfigure mail servers incorrectly and receive mail from anyone and then redeliver it - spammers love these as servers are usually on high-speed Internet connections so can send more spam quicker!

3. Some ISP's are spammer-friendly - they are willing to take payment to setup servers and even offer to change IP addresses when those IP's get blacklisted.

4. Spammers may buy mail server services from ISP's using stolen credit card details.

September 16, 2004

So how can I send bulk email?

Bulk email is not always spam - if people / customers know they were signing up to your mailing list it is not 'unsolicited'.

Many people / companies have a legitimate use for bulk email - but we would recommend you ensure:

1. All the recipients are your existing customers / subscribers.

2. Subscribers were 'opt-in' - i.e. they wanted to join your mailing list.

3. You give people a working 'unsubscribe' option / link with each message.

As long as people recognise you they are likely to trust the unsubscribe link and then you are much less likely to get reported as sending spam.

September 15, 2004

What happens if you send spam?

Firstly you are likely to harm any brand you are trying to build and most people know you should never buy from spammers so you are unlikely to make many sales.

But if you were to actually send spam you are likely to be:

1. Blacklisted - quite quickly people will report the spam to Internet blacklisting services. This will stop both spam and your legitimate email address being sent! Some blacklists are based on your IP address but others on your domain name - some may last 24-72 hours but others much longer or permanently!!

2. Reported to your ISP - most ISP's take a very strict view of spam (especially as you may be using their resources / servers to send it!) and you may find your account suspended or ceased. Usually this will be without refund as you will be in breach of their Acceptable Usage Policies.

September 03, 2004

Be careful when emailing multiple people

When you email multiple people as general good practice and an anti-spam feature - do not put all the people on the To: or cc: (carbon copy) lines of your email program.

Doing that reveals all the email addresses to all the other people you are emailing - if this is what you want then fine but usually it not!

Instead you are best to address the email To: yourself and use Bcc: (blind carbon copy) to add the other recipients - by doing this you will get a copy of the email sent back to you but most importantly all the people on the list will not be able to see each other.

This is important because some viruses / trojans will scan through emails in a mailbox - so if you do not use Bcc: if just one person you were emailing got a virus you could be handing over the email addresses of all the other people on your mailing list!