Don is a retired engineer and shares his experiences and knowledge with his readers to help them as technology gets more complicated.
Your email account is out of control.
I know a lot of people who complain not only about the big "boogaboo", SPAM mail, but who are frustrated by the number of companies and strangers who are filling their mailbox.
The number of incoming emails is sometimes so frustrating for people that many will occasionally just open a new email account and close the old one in an attempt to get the size of their mailbox under control.
Of course, you can tag the strange emails, from strange sites as JUNK or as SPAM, or whatever the popular name happens to be, and that specific email will be gone from your list. But, what happens the next day? POP! There is a new email from the culprit, often with the same address, but often the same junky email with a new address.
So, there you are, spending a significant amount of your time, just cleaning out the trash every day, before you can relax and read your real emails from real people or sites.
Who are these Spammers and Junk Mail sites?
And, you keep asking yourself; Who are these people sending this junk tome and how did they get my email address, in the first place.
The real problem is that there is a very lucrative business, around the world, for selling and purchasing mail lists.
WHAT? You say? Someone is selling my email address?
Actually, there is a long list of sellers and purchasers of email lists and here are just a few;
Probably the biggest category of culprits is your favorite online store. The larger ones can have tens of thousands of customers email address' and other companies pay big bucks for a list of trusted customers that they can then make offers to.
State and Local Governments
That's right, many states and certain local governments can and will sell their mailing lists to private companies in order to make extra money for themselves and their operating budgets.
Medical and Health Companies
Of course these companies sell their customers mail information. Think about it, if a company that specializes in treating a malady, for instance, orthopedics, then there are dozens of companies that sell items from drugs, to braces, to wheelchairs, to home remodeling for the disabled, to name just a few.
Each of these companies look at such a mailing list as a goldmine of potential sales.
The Junk Mail Delima
OK, You probably already have at least one email address, and you know how to use the web, at least to some degree.
I mean, you are reading this, so you knew enough to get to it, Right?
But, do you get Junk Mail? From people and sites that you have no idea how they got your email address?
Well, there are so many ways for people and companies to get your access to your email address, that even if you are being very careful, eventually you end up having to sort through what I call the Pigeon Poop of the web.
There is one relatively simple way to manage your email, that I have been using for several years, and, so far, it is working well for me.
Here is a simplistic overview of my email management system, and why I made these decisions.
Select an Email Service Provider
Most of us have a free email service provided by our local web service provider. It's free, it's there, so most of us end up using it. In my mind, there is a problem with this.
You see, every time you relocate, or even just want to change service providers, you find that you end up having to go to dozens of banks, credit card companies, and other business' and either online, or by mail and change the email address that they use to communicate, or even bill you.
And, often, the email service that they provide is not a very, shall I say, flexible, email system. In fact, some are just plain archaic, and hard to use. For some reason, providing a good flexible email system for the average person is just not on the priority list of mist providers.
They seem to think that their job is to provide access and speed, and such supporting services as email, news access, search engines, etc. are just not near the top of their list of priorities.
I can’t tell you how many times in the past, that I have visited a friend, who might not be very technical, and they will ask me to “Fix” a problem they are having with their email. And, when I look, what I normally see is a hodge-podge system of software that is obviously cheap and shall I say “Clunky”.
And, the most common problem smy friends have is a combination of; 1-the available instructions and support is below even what I would consider the “Basic” level, and 2- often the package itself has “bugs” that end up adding to the non-technical users confusion.
So experience has driven me to go to a major player for my email service.
What you should do is talk to your more computer involved friends about what service they use. There are plenty of free services out there, so finding a good one should not be a problem. I myself, after a little research went over to Google’s gmail.
The service is free, and they have a very flexible and powerful email service that also provides several mega-bytes of free storage.
How Many email address’ do you need?
Yes, that’s right! How many do you need? Let me explain.
I got tired of my email address being sold to other companies and ending up with a mailbox full of Junk Mail, that was eating up my time (and storage memory) deleting and otherwise managing them.
So, I now have 3 email address’.
Email #1 is the one that I use strictly for business, and financial communications, such as banks, utility companies, financial institutions, etc.
Email #2 is the one that I use strictly for communications with friends and casual associates.
Email #3 is the one that I use strictly for shopping on the web, searching for information on sites that I am not confident of their security, etc.
And, of course, my spouse has two email address’ of her own, one for friends, and one for shopping.
That is 5 email address’ that we have for our protection.
The business email address has remained safe, and I have not had to change address’ with my companies for years.
The friends email address, gets very little Junk, and what I do get is easily managed. The biggest problem with friends and acquaintances is the danger from their attachments. So be sure you have your security set up to scan incoming mail for such potential problems.
And the third email? Well, that is the one that gets deleted and re-set up whenever I start getting a lot of Junk or even the occasional virus, etc.
But, at least I have it contained to a separate address that, when it is corrupted, I can fix much easier than if I had all of my mail tied to only one address.
It works for me.
Your Web Service Providers email address.
Most Web Service providers will give you an email address, on their system that they want to use to communicate with you. Usually things such as System problems, projected down times, update schedules, etc.
What I did is set this address up to automatic forward all of these mails directly to one of my email address’ that I had selected as discussed above.
This way I don’t have to go over to their site and check for notices all of the time, because I get their notices forwarded automatically.
Use the Mail folders that any good email service provides. These will really help you keep control of your email history. I generated folders with titles such as; Financial, eBay, Target, Insurance, Health Info, PC Info, Friends Mail, etc. Of course, you can generate whatever fits your personal lifestyle.
I read my emails, and if I think there is any information that I might want to reference, or just re-read in the future, I move it over to the relevant folder, and it is automatically saved.
The remaining emails? I delete them, they are some of that Pigeon Poop that I mentioned earlier, and you really must get into the habit of cleaning them up.
Think about it. If it wasn’t important enough to be in one of your folders, then it is probably not worth keeping at all. GET RID OF IT! I have a friend that deletes nothing, and his email main folder, is enormous, and he takes forever to find old information
I have one more suggestion on folders. Once a year, either delete the old ones, or, write the older ones to a CD, in case you need to look the information up in the future. CD’s are cheap, but if you don’t manage your old emails, you will end up hitting the limit of that free storage that the provider gives you.
You will get an email offering you expanded storage capacity ….. for a price of course. And you will be given a time limit to comply with the old limit or BUY the new capacity. I hope you have the time to do this after the fact when the notice comes in, because it will come, eventually.
I hope that this information has been helpful to you. In today’s world, you need a powerful and flexible email system. One that does what you want, the way you what, when you want it, not just what they want you to do for you.
So …… Shop, Research, find the right package and maximize your communications with the world.
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© 2011 Don Bobbitt
Gracenduta from Kenya on April 04, 2012:
Thanks Don for your informative hub
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on July 13, 2011:
MS longterm plans are to drop Outlook, so prepare yourself. I was totally in Outlook, and it took me forever to come up with a plan and then to
"break up" mynmail into logical categories that would be manageable in the long run. Thus my solution. Good Luck and thanks for the great comment.
Kelley Marks from Sacramento, California on July 13, 2011:
Having multiple email accounts sounds like as much trouble as being spammed to death. I use Comcast with multiple filters courtesy of Outlook and Norton protection as well. However, I do have a Windows Live hotmail account, which gets no spam. Thanks for the informative article. Later!