Spam, Spam, Spam . . . not so wonderful spam
A recent analysis of time spent managing spam and other unwanted emails has revealed it may cost medium-sized businesses in excess of £34,000 per year per company. Factoring in the time spent to open, read and delete the average 25 unwanted emails per day plus support desk costs (whether internal or external) it is easy to see how these costs are incurred.
So what is spam and why do we get it?
In a nutshell, spam email is worthless information sent in bulk to an indiscriminate set of recipients without their consent. At least 80% of all world email is spam.
Its purpose is always to make money and often has the intention of spreading viruses or spyware.
Spammers (the people who generate spam) are becoming increasingly sophisticated; their emails look legitimate, making spam more difficult to detect and control.
How do they find email addresses?
There are several ways in which a spammer can obtain an email address. Here are just a few possibilities.
- Often it’s by guessing. As all domain names are listed on the internet, sometimes it’s just a case of sending an email to every name from a popular names list @your domain (for instance John@yourcompany.co.uk). Incredible though that seems, it’s simple for spammers sending thousands of emails at once when it doesn’t matter to them how many ‘bounce’; their scattergun approach will mean they achieve some ‘hits’.
- Spammers use programmes to search the web for email addresses, so if yours is on your website – because you want genuine customers to contact you – the spammers will find it.
- Did someone gave the spammer your address? We all give out email addresses – registering on websites, signing up for newsletters or handing out business cards – but what happens to this information? Email addresses are a valuable commodity to spammers and sadly, sometimes others are tempted to sell lists to them.
Does it matter if we get spam – can’t we just delete it without opening anyway?
Well yes you can, if you recognise it straight away. However think of the lost productivity when your staff have an inbox full of junk email to delete every morning (checking they don’t inadvertently delete something important in the process!)
Besides that, each spam email received uses up internet bandwidth, not only costing money, but also delaying or blocking important messages.
And if the spam isn’t recognised as such and is opened, at the very least it can distract staff and waste their time as they check the content and follow links to irrelevant web sites.
How to avoid receiving spam
The most obvious way to avoid junk emails is to stop spammers getting hold of your email address in the first place, however this is difficult to control. To keep the amount you receive to a minimum:
- Consider using a email@example.com format for email addresses. They’re more difficult for spammers to target.
- Have a separate address for company enquiries on your website and avoid individual email addresses.
- Only register on websites you trust. Consider using a separate address to keep spam out of your main inbox.
- Check web site privacy policies and marketing opt-outs carefully to ensure you don’t subscribe to unwanted sites.
- Don’t respond to spam emails as this indicates your email address is live. This includes refusing any read acknowledgements.
Using spam filter
Unfortunately once your address is on a spammer’s list you will never get off that list. So what can you do?
A spam filter – a software programme to analyse and assess incoming messages and block the vast majority of junk email before it reaches you, your staff or your IT systems – will help in you fight against spam.
To find out more about how we can help, please call the Direct Voice and Data team on free phone 0808 165 86 86 now.