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There are some tools out there to fight the problem, which won't eradicate it, but can make it much better. For example, on my site, I use a formmail script for my "contact us" page that doesn't reveal the email addy. Users must type their message into the form. The only way they get the email addy is if I reply to the mail. I have used this for over a year, and have yet to get a regular spam email on that addy. But, my visitors can still contact me without fail.
Using this type of contact page on your site, and spamcop on personal email addy's can really help. Using different "trash" email accounts for online signups, watching closely where you leave your addy's, and reporting abuse can all help fight the problem.
I have thought about this at length in the past, and I really can't think of an end-all solution.
I added a page to my web site that lists all the people that have spammed me, including their e-mail addresses. There are no links on the site to anywhere else, so e-mail harvesters will only stay on the one page. It also runs a fake e-mail generator that links to pages that do nothing but list obviously-fake e-mail addresses. I then had about 10 webmaster friends link to this page as well.
What happens is the e-mail harvesters see a large quantity of e-mails and jump all over the page. They then follow the links, which are all bogus. They spend large amounts of time reading fake e-mail addresses that only tie up system resources. Because the link is so e-mail-rich, the harvestor chooses that site over others first, and spams only the people that have spammed me while delaying it's intended travells around the web.
It isn't the best solution... but every second the harvesters aren't scavenging a useful site, the less productive and the less spam we all get.
Once again, my idea is to prevent their act at the beginning. Cut them off at the ISP level. If more ISP and hosting companies will look a bit deeper into their logs and delete their users caught spamming - they'd have to use more of their money to setup their own servers (and here Network Solution or so have to cut them off)... where would they go after that??? ...waiting tables for $5/hr and tips :-))) or become a good Net Citizens.
Another issue is overtaking mail servers where spammers send their letters by using someone's servers. Good server administrators and proper server setups should cover this issue.
People really get fired up about this.
I think the best approach is like Drastic does....keep the address out of site.
When you do get a spam...just let it go. Don't hit unsubscribe and most of all don't take it personal. Your silence will win out in the end.
But then, honest-to-goodness scams are the only ones I find amusing. Commercial "buy our stuff" emails are awful. I delete them all.
As far as dealing with it on a personal level, deleting them when they hit your inbox is probably best... but feeding them other spammers' and bogus email addresses is a great way to feed them some of their own abuse back. I saw a script for generating bogus emails a while ago... don't remember what it was called.
The bogus e-mail thing works okay, but my main idea is to get spammers themselves on spam lists. I actually go to their sites and find the person in contol's e-mail address, not the one they sent the spam from. This makes sure that a live person gets spammed, not some auto-responding cr@p e-mail address. It doesn't up their CTR's, because I don't click through on the e-mail. So they don't see any monetary gains, and their own servers get log-jammed by those other spammers.
I agree that spamming should be an offense registerable at Network Solutions. Unfortunately, I have sent several directed e-mails to specific individuals, and been accused of Spamming because I used a different address than the one they first responded to. Should I get registered as a spammer? As far as these people know, I am one. So you have to really define a punishable level of spam, set standards for punishment, and there really isn't a clear enough system in place to do so.