Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How to Use Pobox addresses to Reduce Spam

Spam. It's the blight of the Internet. It's the fly in the soup. There's no worse feeling than seeing your little new mail icon light up, and jumping over to check to see what delight your Inbox holds, and finding a piece of spam instead. But, what to do? There are just so many places out there where you need to give an email address!

Well, obviously, the first thing I always suggest is Pobox's awesome spam protection, but you can also use multiple email addresses to help stem the tide of spam. All Pobox accounts include at least 3 addresses, which all deliver to the same place.

The first address is your protected address. This address is your precious. You only give it to people you know in real life, and trust. This address is for personal correspondence ONLY. No matter how much you like a company, or trust a shopkeeper, never give your protected address to any company -- sooner or later, it will get sold. (Also, don't make your protected address something like aaa@pobox.com -- any very common first name or three or four letter combination will get spammed by dictionary attacks, no matter how careful you are.)

Then, the other two addresses can be rotated. If you start getting too much spam to one of them, you can deactivate it for a few weeks. Then, turn it back on. Or switch it to a new address!

Even better, get your own domain, and use AllMail to send mail sent to any address at your domain (except for ones that you specifically want to send elsewhere) to one address. Pobox spam protection lets you see which address a piece of spam was sent to, so if you see that an address at your domain is getting too much spam, you can deactivate it, so messages to that address will bounce. Spammers usually get the hint pretty quickly that an address just doesn't work anymore.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Five Reasons Why You Need your Own Domain.

One of the most frequent questions I get from my friends is, "Why would I get my own domain? I don't really need it." You absolutely need it! I don't have one domain.... I have 4. But what do I do with them? Why would you need them?

1. It's so easy to remember! For people that know you, a personal domain instantly makes sense. I'm vanessa@phillyfoodie.com. My friends always remember my email address.

2. It's a true lifetime address. You own your own domain. As long as you keep paying for it (and at $15/year, it's one of the cheapest personalized things you'll ever buy -- try monogramming a towel for that price!), it will always be yours. No worries about a company going out of business, or changing your email address out from under you.

3. It reduces spam. I have one domain, that I use with AllMail, that I only give to companies. Walk into the soap shop, and want to get on their mailing list for sales? Yes, my address is soapshop@preshie.com. Buy something at the Gap online? I'm gap@preshie.com. Do it consistently. Within 2 months, you will look through your spam, and find out which of these delightful organizations is in the habit of selling your information. With AllMail, you can also make exceptions, so mail to disreputablecompany@preshie.com can be bounced
"user unknown".

4. It sets you free. While I think we provide some of the best email services out there, a domain gives you the freedom to move, to any provider, if you need or want to. It's also a snap to separate your email services from your website, so you can use a provider (like Pobox, hint, hint) that specializes in email, while keeping your website at the place that lets you run your fancy CGIs.

5. They're fun to share! Nothing says "Be mine" or "I think you're cool" like giving someone an email address at your own domain.

Plus, with your own domain, you can redirect the website to your blog, your Flickr album, your facebook page, whatever you want!

Ownership has its privileges. If you don't have a domain yet, register one today for only $15/year. If you already own your own domain, you can add it (and individual addresses at it) to your Pobox account at no additional charge, or add AllMail for only $30/year.