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Computing Terms

Spam-

Unsolicited "junk" e-mail. If you receive junk e-mail form someone and you never gave them your address, you can consider it spam.

How do you avoid it?

1. Never, ever, reply or respond in any way - just delete the e-mail. When you ask to be removed, all it does is tell them they have a "real" e-mail address. After all, anyone who would send out junk like that probably doesn't really care if you're angry about being on the list. So, don't respond to junk mail. Just delete it.

Besides, most of them use a fake e-mail address, so you can't reply to it anyhow.

2. Be careful what you sign up for and tell your friends not to sign you up for stuff.

You don't want to accidentally sign up or get on a list that freely sells its subscribers to anyone who will buy (no, we don't - in case you're

wondering) and they didn't inform you of this.

Unfortunately it works the same way online as it does in the real world of direct marketing. You purchase something and give your phone number away. The place you make your purchase from then sells your information and suddenly you start getting telemarketers calling constantly (especially at dinner).

So, maybe you signed up for or purchased something on the web and the company sold your e-mail address. Now your address is on a CD with millions of others that's being sold for $150.00 to whoever wants to buy it. (And no, we don't do that either)

My advice on this one is to make sure whoever you're giving your info to will respect your privacy and not sell your information to a third party. If you're one of the thousands of people who have purchased software from us in the past, you probably noticed that we have privacy policy that promises we won't give your info away. Make sure any site you give you info to has a similar policy.

3. Another way to get your e-mail address on these lists is to post stuff somewhere. You post a classified ad or stick a link on a free for all links page and your address is sitting out there for the taking. There are little programs that "harvest" e-mail address from all over the net, so any time you post something, you risk getting added to a list somewhere.

Chat rooms, especially on AOL, are good targets for these e-mail harvesters too.

Sometimes it's a good idea to maintain a free e-mail address for this kind of thing, so you can avoid getting lots of spam in your regular e-mail account. Check out Yahoo or Hotmail for these.

4. And finally - tell people to use BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) to forward you e-mail. Have you ever gotten something forwarded to you with hundreds of e-mail addresses in the header? If so, your e-mail address may be getting unintentionally passed all over the net. Tell people to BCC forwarded messages to you so your address isn't exposed to the world.

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