Ventura County Computers masthead

Reduce Spam

It wasn't long ago that we gave the oft-repeated advice, "Never, ever, reply to spam asking to be taken off the list." The reason is that the spammers would have confirmed that your email address was a good one and then sold the list to even more spammers.

But that was before the CAN-SPAM Act (see FTC Guide for details). For marketers, the key details of the CAN-SPAM Act are:

If you opt out of diet, dating, finance, cooking and other garbage-ware, you will actually reduce the amount of spam you are receiving.

Rick started doing this and I (Toby) laughed at him. But after two weeks he gets hardly any spam. With fear and trepidation, I began doing the same and my spam has reduced by about two-thirds.

Oh, sure. You can't opt out of the Nigerian banker who wants to split the millions one of his clients left behind when he died. And you won't get rid of the Rolex watch ads that come from China. Those don't have any opt-out links in them, anyway. But you will reduce the number of US solicitations, and that is wonderful.

When you start this, you'll see multiple emails from FTD Flowers and other vendors. You'll think they didn't honor your opt-out since you keep getting the email. But many companies license "marketing companies" to help them with marketing their products. It isn't enough to opt out of one FTD message. You have to opt out of all the different marketing companies' lists. It takes time initially.

But keep after it. Before long you will have a trickle of spam instead of a flood. I was getting 300+ spam messages per day. After two weeks I'm down to about 50. Some of the lists say they need 10 days to complete the removal process, so hopefully I'll reduce this even further.