We have all received junk email with no idea as to how this person got our email addy (address) or why they even think we're interested in their product. Well, I'll tell you how they got the addy.

Do you have your addy on your website? Have you ever posted your addy in a note to a newsgroup? Have you ever left your addy on a message board? Email Spider Programs go from site to site, zoom through newsgroups, and gobble up message boards with fervor. These are programs that collect thousands of addys for their user, giving him a mailing list that he can send his spam junk mail to.

Here's how it works. The user will pick a popular site and let loose his cyber spider on that page. Let's say it's my page. The spider "spins its web," entrapping my addy. Then it goes to EVERY link I have listed on my ENTIRE site and collects addys from those pages. Then it goes to EVERY link listed on all of THOSE sites and just keeps catching email addys in its little web. It does this until it hits a pre-determined number of addys (say, a thousand) or until the user stops the program. The result? This spammer now has a thousand valid email addys to send his junk mail to � whether you want it or not � whether your site deals with the junk he's advertising or not.

Regularly in these emails you will see a little disclaimer either at the top or the bottom telling you that if you don't want to receive messages from this person anymore, simply reply and type REMOVE in the subject area. 99% of the time, if you do that, you'll soon get a little note from your mail server saying that no such address exists. It's a fake addy. In one case, a woman who runs a popular woodcrafting site received a letter where she had to call a long-distance number and tell someone to remove her. Instead, she attempted to reply to the message, and of course, it was a fake reply address.

MOST of the senders of junk email give a FAKE reply address. MOST of the addresses that they give you to "unsubscribe," even if you never subscribed to their mail, are FAKE email addys. There is no way to get these people to stop sending you letters unless you set up filters in your email program; and then this spammer gets no recourse.

Well, they WILL NOW.

THIS IS WAR. There is a simple way to squash these spider programs, and the spammer gets back a note for every defunked email addy he tries to send something to. (Just like when you zip off an email to the address listed in the header and you get back that lovely note from your mail server.) Simply put an "X" in front of your email addy EVERYWHERE. Put it on your addy on your website with a little note telling people that when they click on the email link all they need do is remove the "X" from the address and the mail will go through fine. (Remember, spiders can't read. They just catch addys.) So your email command would look like so: mailto:Xyou@wherever.com

Make sure you change the email addys included in your webring codes as well. Do the same thing in all of your postings to newsgroups. Do the same thing in postings to message boards. WHEREVER you leave your email addy, put the "X" in front of it.


Remember those notes you get back saying "no such address exists"? Well, imagine if even 100 addresses an email spider collected had this "X" in front of the address. Just 100. The spammer sends out his bulk email, and IMMEDIATELY gets back 100 messages from his email server (which is a machine that replies directly to the address the mail is being sent from, it doesn't even know the person has a fake "reply to" addy) telling him "no such address exists". JUSTICE. Imagine if this spammer sends out his spam advertisement 3 times a day... (a spammer started spamming me three or more times a day to join his Sports Site banner swap program ... does my site look like a sports site?) ...with just 100 defunked X'd out email addys he would receive 300 notes back from his mail server a day that he would have to delete.



Let everyone you know who's receiving email spam about this method to stop spammers. If you have a website, please copy the graphic above and add it to your site with a link back to this page. The more people who use this technique, the fuller these spammers' mailboxes will be. Maybe they'll even get so tired of deleting the notes from their server, they'll stop spamming altogether. We can only hope.

The spiders on this page were found at The Animated Arthouse and were created by Lisa Konrad.

Mac Man! | Fight e-mail spam |Email

To email me, click on the link above and remove the X in front of my address.

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