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OK, How do we stop the e-mail spam?

E-Mail Spam how to avoid it and where to start?



6:51 am on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi everybody!
I thing we all had it with e-mail spammers by now!
What do we do and how do we fight back?
Send tons of letters to the spammer - not too effective and in return is the same spam.
Catch the spammer and sell him to the authorities - doesn't work to well either as police and others now aware of the problem and do not understand what to do with them (in most cases).
How do we catch the spammer in the first place? You may be able to get the spammer phone number (usually listed as a remove from the list number) or the mailing address. Then what?
In my opinion webmasters should get together and open a site where all information is collected for further analysis. To help others make proper filters and have their system in place to make spammers work 10 times harder for their money. It may eventually make their clients to go away.
If you host some freebee site with web pages for everyone - make them protected from spam.
Nothing works better for spammers than badly designed web site and webmaster who do not know what he or she is doing.
I can provide space and scripting for the hub site. Let me know if this idea is acceptable or if there is a place I can get information on technique of finding spammers and how to get on their tail.


2:51 pm on Mar 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Check out Spam Cop [spamcop.net]. They filter all of your email, and only let emails with approved senders through.


3:00 pm on Mar 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I agree, there are ways of filtering spam. What about new users from your web site. Do they get through? No. I am talking about a global problem. I do have too many addresses to list in a single letter or page. I don't thing Spam Cop has the answer for me as well as for many fellow Webmasters.


4:23 pm on Mar 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yes, it is a global problem, but not one there is any easy fix for.

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.


4:52 pm on Mar 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yeah, I use the same technique for many years, but there is a company named Network Solutions where your address is freely available.
My idea is not prevent anybody from snatching your address but to put a leash on spammers. Make them pay for each and every spam they send. Get their information and make their life miserable in one way or another.
Once you make people not to use their services - they'll die out. Educate people not to respond to their mailings and when no income - no spam.
I think ISPs should join the movement and have an article on their site about it. Let people know about spammers before they do anything stupid.
Unfortunately there are many people who do not understand this concept and believe in things like they just won a million bucks for no reason.


6:12 pm on Apr 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

I started something that really is the only way to beat spammers at their own game...

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.


7:57 pm on Apr 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hey CyberSpaced!
Yeah, that's an old trick most of us used or using. I am guilty of using it in the past as well, but I decided not to use it again as it's very low tech and spammers probably have overcome this problem (at least the good ones) and on the other end it ties the Net resources big time (spammer uses your server then sending all those letters if he is stupid enough). They probably laughing reading posts like that. I am not posting what I do to their spiders (let them think for a month or two) but their spiders go blind for a while after visiting my pages and their own server got full of crap, not mine. Although they do consume e-mail sending resources afterwards.

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.


8:03 pm on Apr 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This is an extremely emotional 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.


8:11 pm on Apr 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I agree with BoneHeadicus... silence means no money for spammers.. we all know it but what about those poor millions on new users - who will educate them?? They fall for free shuff like ants and got burned...
Another issue here - educate your new visitors on that matter as ISP or as a friend...
If tomorrow spammer will receive no reply at all on their spam compain - eventually they will die out.. as their investment didn't bring any income.
And I do keep my addresses away from the web as well.


8:39 pm on Apr 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I, OTOH, find some spam rather amusing... I've mentioned my Nigerian Banking Scam collection before. It's getting SO extensive, I'm thinking of setting up a blog on my website *just* for posting banking scam emails...

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.


2:46 pm on Apr 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

I know my server won't let you send e-mails unless you check a valid e-mail address first. Most of the major web hosts do this now to eliminate "re-mailing". Unfortunately, most ISP's don't do this. I can't count the number of times that I've seen local ISP's flooded by spammers using their services to re-mail.

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.


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