Now that I have a newborn in the house, the last thing I have time for is weeding through an email inbox filled with offers for 30 percent off at a store I bought one thing from three years ago, or daily newsletters from an online magazine touting ways to make my life more creative. I don’t have time to shower, let alone bake sweet potato muffins.
Thankfully, there are some easy ways to make my email more of a tool and less hassle, and stop spam with very little work from me.
Most email providers have an integrated spam filter to stop spam, and many have additional plug-ins you can install that will use a variety of means to filter out what it deems to be spam. Unfortunately, junk messages often slip through while legitimate messages are relegated to your spam folder.
One great alternative to permanently ditch unwanted messages and filter out phishing emails and spam is www.unsubscribe.com, which describes itself as an email firewall. It’s a free add-on that, once you download and install the free application, puts an “unsubscribe” button at the top of your inbox. Now instead of selecting all the messages that you want to get rid of and clicking delete, click the “unsubscribe” button to be permanently removed from the email list that generated the message.
There’s even a Social Monitor feature that will show you the access that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn third-party applications have to your personal data, along with an overview of their reputation, and another unsubscribe button so that you can quickly remove yourself from apps that may mine your personal information.
Gmail, Yahoo Mail and AOL Mail users can consider two great free applications that offer a more personalized spam filtering solution. Sadly, these are not yet available to hotmail account holders, like me (before you send me a “how can you call yourself a nerd” email, I also have a spam-free Gmail account that I guard like the tooth fairy’s home address).
First, BoxBe is a free email filter that helps you quickly create an approved “guest” list to your inbox. Those senders on the list get into your party no questions asked. Those who aren’t are sent a message asking them to confirm that they’re human. If a message is unverified, it will sit in your “Waiting List” until you approve the sender or mark it as unwanted. Messages in your “Waiting List” are ranked from 1 to 10, with 10 being very likely spam. You can set up auto-approval filters so that, for example, any messages with a junk rating of 3 or lower will get automatically sent to your inbox. Alternatively, you can choose to auto-delete those messages with a high junk rating.
Second, if your inbox is inundated by unwanted newsletters and mailings check out the service provided by Unroll.me. Currently in beta, this site promises to find all the newsletters in your inbox and allow you to quickly and easily unsubscribe from newsletters and subscriptions you no longer want. Those you do still want will be kept organized in a daily overview format.
The final consideration also is the most drastic: ditch my primary email, consider it henceforth a spam email account, and create a new account that I vow to only give to family, friends and trusted sources of information I really do want to read. This may not work for everyone, but in my case it did.
The hotmail account that I created in 1998 is now officially relegated to the shopping sites and newsletters that have clogged it, despite my best efforts to keep it clean. All I need to do now is convince my friends and family to stop writing me there and switch to the new account. Until that happens consistently, I still have to cruise through it periodically.
If you’re drowning in a sea of junk mail, and really want to stop spam, but you’re not ready to ditch your tried and true email address, email us at www.callnerds.com/nerchick for more ways to de-spam your inbox.
Now, a lot of us have had the same e-mail for years and that means we get cluttered with all kinds of newsletters and things we don’t even remember signing up for. Most e-mail providers have spam filters, like Gmail and Yahoo. So not everything gets through.
One great alternative to managing your spam, rather than relying on Yahoo or Gmail to do it, is unsubscribe.com. Once you install their program, it’ll put a little unsubscribe button at the bottom of your e-mail message, and every time you see a message you don’t want, click unsubscribe and it’ll block it from your list.
Boxbe.com is a great e-mail filter. Here you can create a list of approved senders, so they go directly to your inbox. Everybody else will get another e-mail sent back to them when they send you e-mail, that makes them prove that they’re human before it hits your inbox.
If your e-mail inbox is already filled with newsletters you don’t want to unsubscribe to individually, go to unrollme.com. There you can scan your inbox, and remove yourself from all of the lists of all the newsletters in there.
Lastly, but a little more drastic, is create a new e-mail address. Take your old one and use that for spam, shopping, and everything else; your new one only for banking, and friends and family.