Every day millions of people around the world receive emails offering all kinds of goodies ranging from miraculous sex enhancing drugs and surgical procedures, to cheap Rolexes and financial deals that would ensure the easiest money you’ll ever make. Most of us have come to grudgingly accept spam, like rain or sardine-like conditions on trains. However, unlike with rain and commuting, you can actually do something about spam. If you own your own domain name, there are a couple of things you can do to reduce spam:
Remove the catch-all email forwarding function
Email forwarding is a way to ensure that emails sent to an address associated with your domain name, will reach the intended recipients. For example, you can set it up so that emails sent to "firstname.lastname@example.org" will end up in the inbox of each member of the sales team. If you want to be less specific than that, you can set up so called catch-all forwarding. This means that every email sent to an address at your domain name, can be forwarded to a mailbox of your choice. This is useful for when people, who are trying to get in touch, tend to guess which address to send mails to. It doesn’t matter what’s in front of the ‘@’, as long as the part afterwards is your domain name.
The problem with this is that it opens up the door more widely to spammers. They will often send spam to general email addresses, like info@, sales@ and webmaster@. In addition, spammers will send mails to addresses with random numbers and letters. If you notice that a lot of your spam is sent to different addresses at your domain name, switching off the catch-all email forwarding, could drastically reduce your spam. While spam sent to genuine addresses is hard to stop, spam sent to speculated addresses is likely to be heavily reduced.
Often when you make purchases on the internet, your details end up on the company’s mailing list or on that of an affiliated third party. This shouldn’t be considered spam and reported as ‘spam’ or ‘junk’. If you do and you block the emails, you risk not only missing out on great deals and tips for related products but also important information. For example, if you have booked a flight to Mallorca, you may want notifications of changes made to your booking. Similarly, if you have bought a domain name, you will be sent notification whenever you need to renew your subscription but this won’t reach you.
It’s not a particularly good idea to list emails sent from companies as spam because they would end up getting blacklisted and you face the risk of missing your flight or losing the domain name you’ve had for years. Maybe you could have paid half price for that extra memory you bought after buying the Xbox?
If you are not interested in receiving any emails whatsoever from the company or any affiliated third parties, there should be an option to unsubscribe. If no such link is present, contacting the companies directly usually helps. Legitimate businesses do not want to annoy customers with emails (because let’s face it, if you keep getting unsolicited emails from a company, you are not very likely to do business with them in the future). They know this and will usually be more than happy to help you unsubscribe to their email marketing. Should the company continue to hassle you, they should be regarded as spammers and probably be reported to Trading Standards. Luckily, most UK businesses are not that way!