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At what point are nearly all emails just spam..

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MarkAW

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Some irony for you. My email provider recently enabled a spam filter on my mailboxes (I didn't want it, and haven't yet got round to figuring out how too turn it off)
It sent me an email yesterday to say it had intercepted a spam email :rolleyes:. Only the spam email it had intercepted was from my email provider :LOL:
 

RobinBHM

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So a lot of people - including developers - don't realise that there are some rules for email address.

You can insert a full stop anywhere before the @ symbol, and it is ignored by the email servers.
e.g.
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

The other thing is that you can use a + sybmol, after which everything is ignored;

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

The email is sent to [email protected] but the address used is [email protected] so I know it came from them.

This one may not work if the webpage developers are unskilled and moan about the + symbol not being allowed. That itself is a really bad sign 'cos they're trying to protect from attack by banning symbols rather than properly using escaping characters, but that's a different discussion.

I have a shedload of accounts with people using the "+" function, and when I get spam I know exactly who sold my details... including the login for this very forum!
Very interesting, many thanks…it’s given me ideas
 

D_W

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the infuriating one for me is banks promoting paperless billing/statements to save paper, which is a good thing.

... but then frequently sending me post trying to get me to use one of their credit cards ... grrr


If you could somehow add up all the energy used (server farms) for spam mail, I wonder just how bad it would be?
Marketing always gets more cost leeway than actual products to customers.

I worked at a consulting group a couple of decades ago where the office leader used to constantly tell us that prospective clients were more important than current clients (despite the fact that current clients were the only ones actually paying, and prospective clients generally had a pretty low hit rate for acquiring).

All the way from leadership at the top, the focus was only on new clients. If you had a quarter million of new growth and loss of a $1MM client, they still thought it was better than the other way around.

"It's growth!!"

Yes, in a negative $0.75MM way.
 

J-G

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Some irony for you. My email provider recently enabled a spam filter on my mailboxes (I didn't want it, and haven't yet got round to figuring out how too turn it off)
It sent me an email yesterday to say it had intercepted a spam email :rolleyes:. Only the spam email it had intercepted was from my email provider :LOL:
That has to be IONOS - previously 1 & 1 - I have exactly the same issue and I suspect that the intercepted e-mail was not from IONOS at all but from a third party faking the IONOS address - I've had over 60 scam e-mails ostensibly from IONOS but have yet to take it up with them.

I originally had the same thoughts about the spam filter and when I found that they had intercepted a regular daily mail from a potential supplier that I do want to see, I looked at what facilities there were to 'accept' certain messages that they considered [spam] and was pleased to find that it is very easy to set up both 'allow' and 'block' specific addresses - and to turn the filter off completely. The pain comes from real scammers who create new e-mail addresses every day to get around the blocking :mad:
 

J-G

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Email me at [email protected] and I'll happily email you back.

Hope that clarifies it, although we've probably confused the non-techies now....
Well, I've received your e-mail but only to my 'proper' address, I presume that you also sent to a modified address with a '+' incorporated and hopefully you had a 'Failed Delivery' message about that one.
 

Just4Fun

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I worked at a consulting group a couple of decades ago where the office leader used to constantly tell us that prospective clients were more important than current clients (despite the fact that current clients were the only ones actually paying, and prospective clients generally had a pretty low hit rate for acquiring).
30 or so years ago a friend worked for a local evening newspaper in the UK. He regularly got into arguements with management about promotions that they had. They would deliver a free newspaper every day for a week to all households in a target village who did not already subscribe. A few (very few) of them would decide they liked the paper enough to subscribe but always these were outnumbered by the existing subscribers in the village who cancelled. They said they had been a subscriber for X years and had never received a free paper so why should they continue to pay when their neighbour had got a paper for a week for nothing?
 

D_W

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I did a version of that with the cable company this year. They had an internet tier for new customers. It wasn't available to current customers at any price (and it wasn't anything special, just between their budget and nosebleed price packages).

I called to ask about it as they mailed me literature advertising the new tier at the same or barely more than mine (which had issues hosting zoom due to low upload speeds). It's nice to have something mailed to you with your name "or current resident" and then get told that it was sent to you but you can't actually get it.

They encouraged me (well, they didn't, their actions did) to look into a competitor who uses fiber instead (and used to require a contract). Well, the competitor lowered their price and removed the contract requirement, and 8 times the bandwidth costs 75% of the cable company's standard tier.

Insurance companies and other regular billing companies do a lot of analysis about this kind of stuff (to them, the current customer is a lot more important as they have a strain for new customers because of agent commissions). More or less, if you have happy paying customers, don't remind them of anything - even thinking about the bill may trigger them to question whether or not they should look around.
 
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Dabop

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It's funny, I have only used the one (free Yahoo) address since 99, and always found their spam filters to be excellent- some forums won't accept 'free' emails and want a 'real' one- which is funny, because although my (probably dozens by now) ISP's have always given me one, I have literally never used a single one of them- I consider my 'free' Yahoo one to be my permanent one (over two decades and counting) and my ISP one to be the 'temporary' one- it could be a completely different one in a couple of months LOL

There was a brief burst of spam emails getting through a couple of months ago (one or two a day), but that stopped within a few days...
Oh I get plenty of spam (several hundred a day) but it all just goes in the spam folder and is automatically deleted after a couple of weeks or so, so unless I specifically go into it, just never see it...
 

John Brown

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As suggested up-thread - multiple email addresses work for me - I have my own domain name : <word>.co.uk and the mail system is set with a "catch-all" to forward all mail to my "real" email address (that's a BT Business account)

So - when I need to give an email address I can give the real (BT) one for important things like the bank, doctor and official stuff. For other things I'll usually create an email address as <supplier>@<word>.co.uk domain. Thus incoming mail can have filters set with various options at my email client - like delete at server, file in xyz folder - OR be blocked. I can also filter on sender addresses and keywords. It may seem convoluted but it works - for example, Trustpilot, Tripadvisor etc just get blocked - likewise subject lines with, e.g. Investment Opportunity can be blocked.

The other thing my method shows is when an email address is sold to/passed to another company or mailing company . . . .

It's not 100% foolproof but it's a start.
I used to do a similar thing about 40 years ago. If I was calling or called about a photocopier, for example, I would give my name as John Xerox. Just coincidence, no relation...
If they called back at some point, I'd immediately know who it was, and could deal with them appropriately.
 

johnny

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So a lot of people - including developers - don't realise that there are some rules for email address.

You can insert a full stop anywhere before the @ symbol, and it is ignored by the email servers.
e.g.
[email protected]

The other thing is that you can use a + sybmol, after which everything is ignored;

[email protected]

The email is sent to [email protected] but the address used is [email protected] so I know it came from them.
thanks for this...I wasn't aware of this and its definitely going to be used from now on
 

Jonm

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I have a number of email accounts which I use for different purposes. It does mean that if one gets infested with nuisance emails I can delete it.

If I get an email telling me there is ???? wrong with something, first thing I check is that it has come in on the correct email address, usually not.

For most of these I use zoho.com, it is free, works well and has been very reliable, over many years I can only vaguely remember one very short problem which resolved itself quickly.
 

Jonm

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Some irony for you. My email provider recently enabled a spam filter on my mailboxes (I didn't want it, and haven't yet got round to figuring out how too turn it off)
It sent me an email yesterday to say it had intercepted a spam email :rolleyes:. Only the spam email it had intercepted was from my email provider :LOL:
I do not use spam filters, they often block things I want to see and if someone is sending me spam I want to know about it and hopefully get rid of it.
 

Jonm

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Email me at [email protected] and I'll happily email you back.

The use of subaddressing is included in RFC5233 but is not universally implemented. Although RFC5233 doesn't specify a delimiter, the industry seems to have settled on the "+" sign. I think Amazon use something else in their world, just to be special.

The use of the "." is specific to google services, so apologies for the miscommunication there, I've used it for so long I'd forgotten. I use gmail as a spam filter between my real email and everyone else for stuff I don't care if google know about - like forum notifications! :)

For real private email, like from my bank authenticator, I either create a new address in my own domain or just give them my address.

Hope that clarifies it, although we've probably confused the non-techies now....
I sent a message to John and got one back with “+test“ added to the email. I assume John added that to show it works.
 

J-G

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I sent a message to John and got one back with “+test“ added to the email. I assume John added that to show it works.
This only shows that SOME providers support the idea but it's certainly not universal so cannot be relied upon.

I'd be interested to know if your (Jonm) e-mail address is in fact a 'catchall' ?
 

Jonm

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I'd be interested to know if your (Jonm) e-mail address is in fact a 'catchall' ?
I have no idea what a catchall email is, whether it is a good or a bad thing. As I said above, it is zoho.
 

jcassidy

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I sent a message to John and got one back with “+test“ added to the email. I assume John added that to show it works.
Yep, I added the "+test" subaddress. Obviously Jonm email provider supports subaddress but as mentioned earlier, it's not universally supported.

Anyone brave enough or idle enough to run their own mail server can add support for sign addressing fairly easily.
 

jcassidy

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This only shows that SOME providers support the idea but it's certainly not universal so cannot be relied upon.

I'd be interested to know if your (Jonm) e-mail address is in fact a 'catchall' ?
It can be relied upon ifif your service providor supports it. The mail transport agents don't care.
After leaving Gmail, I moved to proton mail because they do support subaddressing.
 

jcassidy

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A catch all email is when you run your own service and if any emails arrive to your domain with unrecognised addresses, you can send them to an admin type person. This was back when spam wasn't so prevelant as now and you'd want to catch emails with errors in the "to" field. I remember a time mid to late 90s when that was a thing. Especially when it was rare enough for mere mortals to have their own email address, so most emails were for management types, company reps, or teams such as the operations, telecoms, or server teams.

If I wanted to get in touch with someone in operations at Acme but didn't know who, I might try an email to "[email protected]" and hope, if that address was non existant, some some fellow sysadmin there would respond saying "you should try [email protected]"

Then with spam, that catch all address changed to /null. Because who the pineapples has time for that....

Now I'd look up linkedin and find some connection to a connection...
 
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