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How to Make the Most of Messages Sent by Email

Sandra Prior
Jun 13, 2008
There's little doubt that the success of the Internet is dependent, in part at least, on email. Email pops up everywhere, and everyone who is anyone can reel off their address at the drop of a hat.

That isn't to say there aren't more than a few problems with email. Indeed there are a number of problems that only affect this kind of communication. Spam, for instance, is a pain in the neck, both for the Net as a whole and for anyone who receives it. Hoaxes, chain letters and unsolicited newsletters are an irritation. Viruses pose a far more serious threat.

Disgruntled employees, people with low self-esteem, people trying to illustrate the weaknesses of a security system, anarchists, weirdos, and people out to kill 'The Beast' (the World Wide Web) create viruses.

In their simplest form viruses are programs containing a set of instructions that infiltrate and attach to files on a computer. All viruses cause some kind of damage and propagate themselves, spreading from computer to computer. The more vicious strains of viruses like Michaelangelo, Melissa, and I LoveYou viruses cause havoc in international markets by erasing files, shutting down servers and crashing hard drives.


Send four messages to an equal number of people and that could constitute spamming. The actual definition of spam is as cryptic as the reason why it picked up the pink moniker in the first place (with everyone from Monty Python to the MUD community getting a look in). It doesn't matter what you think about your current torrent of junk mail; whether or not you find it useful has no effect on whether it is deemed span. A general definition of spam is when the same message is posted to more than 20 newsgroups or emailed to more than 20 email addresses.

Now for the fun bit: if you are a spammer and you send a message to 19 email addresses, it'll still be spam - the classification of a message has more to do with the sender's intention than any rigid rules.

Of the two types of spam in existence, we are going to look at how to tackle the email variety. Obviously sending all your friends and family details of your next party does not constitute spam, even if you exceed the 20 recipients limit.

The definition of spam, with reference to emails, is anything unsolicited that has commercial content - similar to junk mail. The difference between normal junk mail and email junk mail is who pays for it. In the traditional postal system, the company responsible for the junk pays to get it delivered; with junk email, you pay to download it. Add to that the fact that all this junk email is taking up vital Net bandwidth, which makes your connection even slower, and you should quickly deduce that all spam should be eradicated.

You can create message rules to throw junk straight into the junk bin. Email you receive is checked against these rules and the defined response triggered. Web based email services are really useful if you travel a lot and most of them have spam filters to stop junk mail from reaching your inbox.
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