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Effective Action Against Spammers
copyright 1997 by Tracy Marks     posted on Nettrain, 1997

Note: This article will be updated in November 2006.

For months, I've been finding spam - unsolicited, untargeted bulk email -
to be extremely annoying and time-consuming. We spend time (and many
of us spend money) downloading unwanted mail; we lose time as we sort
through it, in search of our meaningful personal and business mail.  We
lose time attempting to remove ourselves from spam lists - usually, with
little results since we cannot always find the REMOVE instructions, and
if we do, and follow them, our REMOVE messages usually bounce.

We also may be emotionally affected - annoyed and even offended by
the nature of the spam. Many spam messages are spurious (and illegal)
make-money-quick marketing schemes. Other spam (especially offensive
when sent to women) is pornographic - "1000 nude pictures of sexy
chicks - FREE!" or even, believe it or not, "increase your penis size by
an inch in a week!"

This is especially intolerable to those of us who view such messages as
smut, and who are using our email accounts for professional purposes
or seeking enjoyable online communications with friends and family.

Writing angry messages to the spammer does little but temporarily
relieve our anger, because the spammer rarely receives our message -
he has taken great pains to obscure his real address - and if he does
receive it, generally ignores it, or sends another spam by autoreply.

Likewise, reporting each spammer - especially if we receive a dozen
or so spams a day - takes time, and we many of us do not know how
to successfully  report the spammer. So usually we just delete each
message, and feel continually annoyed as the spam increases in our
mailbox every day. Meanwhile the spammer is not alerted to the
effects of his intrusive and often illegal actions, and isnot penalized
for his lack of social consciousness or sensitivity.

But if what if we were to learn HOW to effectively report spammers,
and to report one a day - or perhaps even five a week? And what if
we learned that most of our reports resulted in spammers immediately
losing their email accounts? Would it be worth the five minutes per
spam, or perhaps half an hour a week to help reduce the clutter of
spam on the Internet and in our lives?

My answer is YES, and for that reason I posted the following on
the Nettrain mailing list:


Reporting spammers and getting immediate action from I.S.Ps (Internet
service providers) is an extremely satisfying and constructive means of
releasing the day's frustrations and feeling like you've accomplished
something meaningful for both yourself and the Internet. I am having
a high degree of success in stopping spammers, and I.S.Ps are being
extremely cooperative (they're on our side, after all), so I thought I'd
share the techniques that are working for me.

Hopefully those of you who are concerned about spam will try them
(if you haven't already) and share them with your students and your
online friends and acquaintances.

In the process I wish to acknowledge Adam Boettinger of Exposure
for his excellent article on how to deal effectively with spammers and
also Bob Rankin for quoting it on the Tourbus list.

Here's my summary how-to:


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