I’ve had it with spam blockers


I’ve had it with spam blockers

OK, so there’s a lot of spam, but so what.

I just got a message from Michael (Klein) who had sent a link to this blog to a buddy at the city of Syracuse hoping for a comment on my lambasting of the NY community about their lack of oversight on their parking issues.  His message to Syracuse was blocked by their spam blocker.

Lets see, a message from the head of the parking authority of the city of Albany couldn’t get through to the city of Syracuse. What good is email anyway? I sensed frustration in Mike’s note to me. He would probably have to call him to get through.

Then there’s my friend who has some earthlink piece of junk that requires you to read cryptic letters and key them in to be "approved" by him before your email can get through. What is with that? I am insulted before I even get to get my message to its intended recipient.

I must get bout 150 to 200 spam messages a day. About 95%  of them are removed by my ISP. They have a spam filter that seems to work. (Go Comcast). They hold the spam in a file at the server and once a week or so I go and take a look to see if anything there looks promising. In a year, I have not found one message that was from a non spammer in that spam file. (I used to check and clear it once a day, but now that my confidence level is up, I check it once every week. I still haven’t found a message that wasn’t spam.)

My second line of defense is done by Outlook. Bill and the boys did a good job with this one. It culls out about a dozen messages a day. They go into a file that I can see readily in my outlook desktop and when I see five or six messages in it I take a quick peek and about once a week I find one that should not have been blocked. I then add that person to my "safe senders list" with one click of the mouse and all is well.

I then get about five messages a day in my regular in box that could be considered "spam." I just delete them at that’s that.

Why is this so difficult.  None of my correspondents get nasty messages about being rejected. I never miss an important message. And email works as it is supposed to.

Spam blockers that return your messages or require you to perform cyber tricks are the height of arrogance. They take away the true value of email — the free flowing fast communications. Technology is such that unwanted mail can be removed (just as you toss fliers you receive in snail mail into the trash as you walk from the mailbox to the kitchen.)  Sometimes there are unsolicited catalogers there that you really enjoy. Sometimes you don’t care the Mervin’s is having a sale. Spam is the same, only easier. Unwanted emails can be filtered automatically.

Most spam filters can be set on differing levels of sensitivity. If you want, virtually all your email can be blocked and you will get only messages from your mother. Or you can set it so only Viagra ads and guys wanting to redo your mortgage are held up. Or somewhere in between.  But the mail is still there so you can check to be sure nothing important is missed.  The only question is how many messages do you want to scan personally.

I get about 10 unsolicited faxes a day. They are usually ads for people wanting to rent me money. I just put them in the trash. No harm no foul. We did an email attack promoting something a few years back. The list was from people who gave us their fax numbers and said they were interested in parking stuff. Seemed reasonable to send them a notice about parking stuff. Someone actually called me and threatened me with a lawsuit because I had the audacity to send them something they told me they wanted. HUH. They were so incensed that they had to "waste" a piece of paper that cost them two fifths of a cent that they were threatening to call their lawyer.

If you don’t want to communicate with the world, I have no problem with that. Simply unplug your computer, turn off your fax, disconnect your phone. On the other hand, if you want to play in the real world, particularly when you are doing business, disregard the communications you don’t want and get on with it.

Now was that so difficult.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

11 Responses

  1. Great post John! It’s right on the mark.
    I also have had to learn to live with spam.
    Here’s something else to contend with as well.
    I also use Comcast and use their Spam Blocker which is quite effective. However I leave the messages on the server so I can take a peek at them once in a while to see if a good email got jailed.
    This presents another problem in the world of wireless devices. I get my email sent to my mobile phone. All of the emails including the Spam is grabbed when it is left on the server. So now my portable device is loaded with Spam.
    The only way around this is to not have Comcast leave them on the server and immediately delete anything it thinks is Spam. This works.
    Spam is like the weeds on my lawn! You cannot get rid of it completely but can go crazy with different levels of control!

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