In 1998, nearly 10% of all email traffic on the internet was SPAM. By 2003 that number had climbed to 50%, and the problem had gotten so bad that Congress passed the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act)
The specific requirements and penalties of that law, (which took effect in 2004) have done little to stem the tide of junk email we all receive. Today, in 2005, the percentage of unsolicited email is at an all time high of 87% (source ? Wired Magazine July 2005)
How can we even stand to check our email? Well I can't. That's why I pay for a service to protect my entire domain name from all Spam. That's a great solution for me, but it's too expensive for a home or very small business user. How then can you protect yourself?
First, there are filtering options in Outlook and Outlook Express, and I encourage you to investigate them further. More details on this are in my article from May of 2000 called "Managing your E-mail II" here http://pdxtc.com/200005-managingemail2.htm
After trying about 6 other programs, I found a free version of some software that I used for a long time called Mailwasher. This program was easily trained and configured to learn all of my preferences, and for free, there's nothing better. However, you I still basically have to check mail twice, once in a clunky web-interface to sift through all the blocked SPAM. I prefer to just check my mail normally, not worrying about a missed message.
In 2003, a friend recommended a service called Knowspam. That was a great solution that blocked 100% of all SPAM through a "permission based" system. A permission based system means that all new senders not on your list, will get a "verification" email, asking them "Are you human?" Well, if they are really human, then they take the simple instructed action, and you'll get their email, as well as all future mail from them, unless you choose to block them later.
Many readers of my column tried Knowspam, and I got dozens of positive comments. That wasn't enough for Knowspam though, because they still went out of business.
Well the good news is that there's a replacement for Knowspam. It's called Spam Arrest, and it's under $3 a month. It does everything that Knowspam used to do, and then some. I've now set myself up with an affiliate account and arranged for you try it for free for 30 days.
First, you easily upload all of your contacts, and then follow their easy directions to change your system mail settings, and anyone on your list or anyone you ever send mail to is automatically approved.
The great news is that this works for up to 5 email accounts, and even works for AOL mail! If you want to see 100% of your spam get blocked, and not be embarrassed to let your kids see your inbox, then visit http://www.pdxtc.com/spamarrest and sign up for your free 30 day trial.
Scott Hendison is living in Oregon, and is the owner of Portland Technology Consultants. He is a computer and internet consultant, and has been in the industry since 1995. He provides search engine marketing and optimization services for selected clients, and offers integrated POS / e-commerce systems for retail businesses that want to sell online. For over 75 other articles, visit his website at http://www.pdxtc.com