Unsolicited email has got to be one of the biggest time-wasters in our known universe. Over the years, my personal Yahoo account had become under siege from just about every attack vector known to spammers.
What’s more, like a frog in boiling water who doesn’t notice the temperature slowly rising until it’s too late, I had become accustomed to my daily (and sometimes hourly) task of fighting this little private SPAM war going on in my email inbox and spam folder.
Worse yet, with Yahoo Mail’s constant freezing up, failing to respond and forcing me to log in over and over again was crippling my productivity (and my attitude at times, and I didn’t even realize it).
The issue had become so acute, I was getting many hundreds of these spam emails a day – often times dozens per hour. And I had actually become addicted to fighting this battle! (not realizing it fully). Combined with the slow and unpredictable Yahoo Mail service, my email had become a black hole for time – sucking away at my productivity at every turn…
Fortunately for me, last week Yahoo Mail became so slow and annoying (requiring me to log in again after I sent each email for like 30 minutes), I decided enough was enough. I was sick and tired of having my precious time wasted day after day – with Yahoo’s horrible web email client and service that was so slow and unreliable… well, as it turns out, that’s the straw that finally broke SPAM’s back! (Thank You Yahoo!)
So, out of sheer frustration with horrible email service by Yahoo Mail, I decided to finally take the leap – and switched over to GMail. Wow!! What a difference.
No wonder Google’s dominating this market. They have the best product available (both for search and personal email). It only took a little time learning that “Label” means “Folder” to get over the initial hurdle and I was well on my way…
I’d resisted GMail for years, even though everyone else in my family had abandoned Yahoo long ago. I have so much stuff archived in my Yahoo Mail folders, that I just couldn’t bring myself to make the switch. Turns out, that barrier was more in my head than anything (I can still go back to Yahoo and search through my folders, in the rare cases where I need to find something). Over time, this will become less and less an issue.
Back to the SPAM battle… So, I quickly noticed that GMail’s SPAM filter is much more accurate than Yahoo’s, but still not perfect. I was still getting a few dozen SPAM emails a day coming through the filters (and felt I had to look through the bulk folder in case something legitimate fell in there, which happens all the time with Yahoo Mail). To my surprise, I rarely found a legitimate email in the GMail SPAM folder (nicely done Google).
Still, due to my various Internet businesses and the many hundreds of emails I get per day, I was left with a residue of SPAM, even in GMail. Then, something fortuitous happened…
I sent a broadcast mailing to my OPT-IN list of newsletter subscribers (about 25,000 subscribers total). One of them bounced an email right back to me… it was SpamArrest, prompting me to enter in the CAPTCHA code (that little string of characters proving you’re human).
Then the light bulb went off! I could’ve stopped this whole SPAM problem a long time ago, if I had just taken a few minutes to seriously learn about and try out SpamArrest – an ingenious solution to the SPAM problem (Actually, I wish I’d thought of it – it’s an elegant, ingenious tool that’s now patented).
Since I still have so many emails flowing into my Yahoo mail account, and I don’t want the same issue cropping up in my new, pristine GMail account, I finally found the solution…
So now, instead of just simply forwarding my Yahoo Mail account directly to GMail and pushing the SPAM problem over into GMail, I’m using SpamArrest as my SPAM filter intermediary. It works like this…
All my original public email arrives at the Yahoo account. I have registered this darned Yahoo email address with so many hundreds of places since I first opened my account (so long ago I’ve forgotten when I opened my Yahoo Mail account – like a lot of people on AOL and HotMail, I’ll bet), I have no idea where all this email address is even used anymore. But it doesn’t matter…
Every 2 minutes, SpamArrest now wakes up and reaches into my Yahoo Mail account via the POP3 email gateway, pulling down all new incoming emails that have recently arrived in my Yahoo Mail account.
First, SpamArrest checks the sender of each incoming email to see if they are on my pre-approved list. If the email sender is on the approved list, SpamArrest simply forwards the email to my GMail account (where it gets further scrutinized as potential SPAM – a job GMail is very well-suited to handle).
If the email sender is unknown (not approved), then SpamArrest automatically replies to the sender’s email asking them to verify they are human (you must enter the text you see on the screen to prove you’re a human and not a SPAM-bot). This is where 99% of the SPAM will get stopped in its tracks.
You see, spammers are a lot like cockroaches. When the light comes on, they scatter, looking for a place to hide. The one thing you can absolutely count on spammers to do is constantly change their From email address (so they don’t get caught, and so their latest spam email “creative” has a better chance of getting through the existing network-based SPAM filtration gauntlet). Anyway, even if a spammer could somehow reply to the “challenge” email sent by SpamArrest, it wouldn’t matter because they won’t be using that same email address ever again…
All remaining emails from unknown senders (mostly spammers), remain locked up in SpamArrest’s “holding cell” (the Unverified folder), where they sit for up to 7 days (after which they’re deleted). I can still periodically have a look in this folder – to satisfy my SPAM inspection habit and curiosity, I suppose
So far, I have received ZERO new SPAM emails into my GMail account – they’re being stopped in their tracks by SpamArrest. And I intend to keep it that way…
Some of the reviews I’ve read about SpamArrest were perplexing. People claimed that you could lose important emails because people might not be willing to enter the CAPTCHA code to ensure your email gets through… and that the sender should’nt be burdened with the receiver’s spam problem.
Hey – it’s a brave new world out here on the Internet… if your email is important enough to be read, it’s important enough for you to register (to opt-in) with the receiver. This is very similar to opt-in permission for people to send you email (a proven technique that’s perfectly acceptable today).
If I send an email that matters to someone and they’re protecting themselves against SPAM, I will definitely take a few seconds to enter the one-time code so I can communicate with the person; otherwise, them receiving my email apparently wasn’t very important to begin with.
It’s only $4.95 per month for SpamArrest – a pittance compared to the value of most anyone’s time these days… (how much of your time are you forking over to spammers – what’s it worth to you to be 99% SPAM-FREE?)
So my strategy is simple. I plan to continue using Yahoo Mail as my “SPAM-SINK” – where I’ll register with all the people I may or may not choose to communicate with, who may sell my email address, or otherwise find their way into my Inbox “uninvited” (Yes, if I wanted your mail, I just might actually invite you; otherwise, you need “permission” to enter – and my SpamArrest Gatekeeper will decide who gets in and who doesn’t).
My GMail address will only be shared with people I trust and want to have an ongoing, long-term relationship with (friends, family, business associates, etc.). And SpamArrest will manage the “neutral zone” in between the hostile Internet zone and my SPAM-Free Zone in GMail. So, I’m using SpamArrest as my own personal ‘SPAM Firewall” - and loving it.
Moreoever, as a SpamArrest user, I can now simply go inspect the Unverified folder once a week (or once a day if you’re still in SPAM fighting withdrawal, like me) to ensure that nothing important ever gets lost.
I have to say, SPAM free email feels GREAT!! And SPAM-free email delivered to GMail is even better!!
And to be perfectly honest, it FEELS GOOD to win vs. the spammers!
The combination of using a PRODUCTIVE email system (GMail) along with SpamArrest has probably given me back one half to one full day per week of productivity – enough time I can now spend more of it doing fun, productive work again - like BLOGGING or Twitter!!! (what a concept)
When you add up the time wasted on dealing with SPAM, combined with the distractions from one’s ability to focus on productive tasks that it creates, it’s truly an amazing productivity gain.
I sure wish I’d found this dynamite combination earlier. Now if my GMail account eventually becomes overrun somehow, I know exactly what to do (open a new GMail account and filter the old one through SpamArrest!)
Thank You Google for GMail and SpamArrest! You’ve given me a significant percentage of my life back that had been wasting away to non-productivity.
A SPAM-FREE life is the good life. In case you’re wondering why GMail is so much faster, here’s a great little piece on GMail’s performance advantages.
P.S. Here’s a tip, Google… Go buy SpamArrest and make it FREE! (hey, it’s worth asking )
P.P.S. Please share this solution with as many people as you can. We really need to gang up on these spammers and drive their response rates as close to zero as humanly possible. The spammers are turning what used to be a great Internet-based marketing vehicle (legitimate opt-in email) into a distorted playing field that’s confounding the end-user… we have to defeat these spammers.
P.P.P.S. Apparently others are growing weary of the poor Yahoo Mail service, based on this Business Week review