I am a great believer in, “you don’t and won’t ever get something for nothing”.

Call me a cynic!

I believe that you need to either work for it or pay for it in one way or another; financially or emotionally. Nothing is free. As good as the offer sounds, there is always a catch.

Businesses are now quite digital; read this, I will give you that, subscribe to this, you get that. That’s all fine, but what if you need some advice but don’t want to sign up to be emailed every day.

And sometimes when you sign up, you discover your email address has been on sold and then you are spammed by businesses you have not heard of nor signed up to.

Of course, in Australia you can always hit the unsubscribe option; and this too can be a risk if you are unsure of where the email originated.

By unsubscribing, what if you miss something? What if the advice given after you have unsubscribed is exactly what you are looking for or need to progress your business or your life? I guess that is the risk we take.

Is there an answer?

How can we protect ourselves from being spammed?

I know businesses want and need to make money. However, how do you get past the never-ending emails and spam?

Face-to-face marketing and networking, I learned many years ago, was the way to go, but it was extremely challenging work and did not reach the wider audience as much as it does today. We have become a society of ‘cyberstalkers’. Almost anything can be done online these days, from ordering your groceries to buying that special gift for someone.

I digress.

How do we ensure, through email content and marketing, that we are really giving 100% true value to our subscribers without trying to sell them something all the time?

How can we assure our email subscribers that they will not be spammed at every turn or that their email address will not be on-sold?

Unfortunately, there really isn’t a whole lot that can be done according to howtogeek.com.

“Spam seems to arrive in every single email account we use, no matter how careful we are. How are spammers getting all our email addresses? And can we do anything to hide our email address from spammers?

 Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to prevent spammers from bombarding you with emails. There are some tips that will help protect you, but spammers will probably find your email address eventually.”

Ways your email address can be obtained:

  • Leaked Account Databases
  • Clicking Links or Loading Images in Spam Emails
  • Scraping the Web for Plain-Text Addresses
  • Buying Lists of Email Addresses

Web Spam’ have 7 ideas on how to keep your email address safe:

  1. Do not give your new email address to online forums or guestbooks.
  2. Do not allow your email client – webmail or Outlook-based – to recognize images or accept HTML-based email. If you enable this, you run the risk of your email being sent to a spam server, which will validate your email address as working.
  3. Disguise and encrypt your email address as much as possible. If your email is yourname@yourname.com, always substitute something for the “@” symbol. For example, yourname(at)yourname.com and yourname(at)yourname.com will suffice. It will not hinder or confuse all of the bots out there, but the great majority of them will pass you by.
  4. Do you own your own domain? If so, most hosting companies will allow you to use a catchall function for your emails. This means that if someone misspells your email address, it will still go to you. If you register a secondary email address such as box2@yourname.com and it starts receiving spam, you can always block it, and you will still receive regular email at your master address.
  5. Only register for online forums and other websites using an axillary email address or find a website that will give you a disposable or temporary email address if you do not plan to join, but only read information on a website.
  6. Only use reputable anti-spyware and anti-virus programs to keep your computer safe. Many rogue programs are out there and will harvest the addresses in your address book and your own – and sell them and/or spam you themselves.
  7. Avoid using ANY toolbars at all cost. Many companies offer toolbars for your web browser for “convenience;” however, they too can harvest emails and sell them to spammers. They can even capture more private, sensitive information that you enter into any commercial websites you may use.

According to ‘Blog Site Studio’, there are three ways to protect your email from spammers.

  • The way your email gets on a spam list is through web site scraping. If your email address is visible, then it is scrapeable. Scrapers use sophisticated tools to scrape sites by the thousands per minute. Why these tools are not illegal is beyond me.
  • You can find instances of exposed email addresses by first doing a site search. Search for a specific email address, or for the link prefix, mailto: The easiest way to create an email link in WordPress is also the easiest way for hackers to scrape your email address: by placing “mailto:” in the link box. By clicking this link, a users’ email client pops up and creates a pre-addressed email message, ready to complete.
  • This is the oldest solution in the book, spelling out mari [at] marikane [dot] com. It’s also one of the lamest. Users then have to type the address into their email message which increases the chance of mistakes, and it reduces usability. Basic, but unsophisticated.

I choice is yours. I know that I won’t be spamming my subscribers, nor selling their details!