Email traffic has increased dramatically over the last few years, largely due to the proliferation of unsolicited email, or spam. According to a Ferris Research study released at the beginning of 2003, unwanted email will cost U.S. companies more than $10 Billion in lost revenue this year alone. This is, in part, due to Spammers’ increasingly creative methods for harvesting live email addresses. Use the email traffic reduction tips below to combat these methods and secure the sanctity of the inbox.
1. Maintain multiple email addresses.
Set up personal and public email account(s) in addition to work email. Use the personal account for friends and family and the public account for online shopping, newsletters, etc.. Never give out the work address for non-work related reasons.
2. Don’t post an email address in public places.
Marketing companies harvest email from public places on the net. Refrain from posting an address on websites, in newsletters, or in email groups to avoid identification by these companies. When posting is inevitable, use the public email address.
3. Avoid signing up for marketing material, newsletters, and email lists.
Opt out of online retail marketing newsletters. Don’t sign up for email lists or newsletters that will sit in the inbox unread. Time wasted deleting these notes is time lost on more important work. All that said, be wary of clicking “unsubscribe” on unsolicited email; spammers use this to identify a live address.
4. Don’t be part of the problem.
The more email sent out, the more received. Don’t forward email jokes, chain letters, and news on the latest virus hoax. Don’t address an email to multiple recipients unless they need to read the content. Don’t hit Reply To All if the only person who requires the information is the sender. Finally, don’t be afraid to (politely) ask people to refrain from this behavior if they are violating these rules.
5. Utilize technology to reduce the impact of spam.
ISP’s and/or IT administrators can provide information on server based spam elimination. Install client side software to provide further protection. Use automated processes to prioritize the inbox to minimize the impact of unsolicited messages. See Top Five Ways to Manage Your Inbox Effectively for more detail.