Choosing a Spam Blocker
When it got to the point that it felt like I was getting more spam email than legitimate email, I started looking around for solutions. After all, I know how much money my time is worth. When you're running a small and growing business, there is really no extra time to dig through hundreds of spam emails each day, especially when there's always the worry of losing important business-related emails in the process.
There is a full range of spam blockers out on the Internet. In my own personal search, I ran into blockers that didn't block much spam and ones that were really tough to set up. These more complicated blockers, if you're an advanced user, allow you to set up and design complex filters and block out common spam key terms. However, I simply wanted a spam blocker that was easy to use and that accomplished the one thing it was supposed to do-block spam!
Here are a few standouts for small businesses and personal users:
Web-Based Email Options
Most of the web-based email providers such as Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail have built-in spam blockers that siphon spam into bulk or junk mail folders. They also allow you to set up your own more advance filters, if desired. As far as spam blockers go, Gmail seems to be the top ranker as far as blocking the most spam with very few false positives (or the blocking of legitimate emails). Cost: Free.
Cloudmark Desktop (http://cloudmark.com/desktop/)
If you work with Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express on a Windows PC, Cloudmark Desktop is a choice and affordable subscription service. Cloudmark works instantly at eliminating spam and any errant spam that slips through can be easily and effectively managed with the service's "block" capability. Cloudmark's "collaborative security network" not only blocks the bad email but also sends it to the Cloudmark server, which helps all users. This technology virtually ends false positives because only email that multiple trusted users mark as spam gets blocked. Cost: $39.95 for a one year license. Try Cloudmark free for 15 days.
MailWasher is a free program that will work with just about every Windows-based email program. The program removes spam from your mail server before you download your mail to your PC, which also means faster mail downloads. MailWasher can be set up to work automatically or even better allows you to easily control its removal process to ensure accuracy. MailWasher is a very easy-to-use and effective spam blocker, even for the novice user. Cost: Free. For just $37.00 (Including one year FirstAlert! subscription), choose MailWasher Pro, which offers even more filtering capabilities.
As always, do your part to reduce spam by keeping your email address private and inaccessible to spambots. Never make purchases through a spammer or forward or respond to their emails, even if they offer removal from their email lists. Through a combination of these efforts and a good, easy-to-use spam blocker, you can take back a little more time for the important things in your life-like business emails, oh, and maybe that email from your travel agent regarding the Tahitian vacation special.
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