How to Eliminate SPAM Forever!

I am sure that heading caught your attention. It is possible to eliminate spam from your in-box quite easily. A nice side effect is that you also get a permanent, searchable archive of all incoming and outgoing e-mail. You don’t need to change your e-mail address and this works with almost any e-mail server. It also gives you the ability to access your e-mail from any computer, anywhere.

And it is quite free.

Use Google Mail (Gmail) as your filter. Gmail has best filter I have ever seen. Gmail uses computer software, of course, but the real secret is the 80 million pairs of eyes that use Gmail. The users. If you have spam filtering software on your email client, It has to be trained by you. Each time you mark email as spam, the system looks for similar messages. With Gmail, when you mark a message as spam, Google flags that e-mail across the whole system. I assume they wait for a few hundred or thousand people to identify that message as really spam, but then it gets moved into everyone’s spam folder. There is a video by Google here.

The result is that I probably see a piece of spam in my in-box about once every two weeks. I am happy to mark it as spam and contribute to keeping the system clean. There are also no false positives. I have never found a message I want in my spam folder.

So how do you do it?

You must create a new Google Mail account. Just go to Google Mail and open a new account (or use an existing one, of course). Just follow the prompts.

Then either have your e-mail forwarded to your new Gmail address, or have it collected.

Forward your e-mail to Google mail.

If you have control over your mail server, re-directing is easy. My mail server has a Smartermail web interface. I simply set it to re-direct my mail and then delete them.

Or, have Google mail collect it for you.

If you cannot access your mail settings, Gmail can collect you mail using POP, the same protocol that your mail client (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc) uses to download mail. Go into the settings tab of gmail, then Accounts, and click on “Add a mail account you own” in the “Get mail from other accounts” section. Step trhough the form, supplying the email address, the user name, password, POP server details. This information is the same as you use to download mail to your e-mail client. Just look in your account settings.

If you have more than one e-mail account, you can have g-mail label each incoming message with the name of your e-mail account.

Now your e-mail is being sent to Gmail. Send some mail to yourself to test that it is working. Gmail has a brilliant interface, and many people just stop at this point and use the gmail interface for all their mail needs.

Make outgoing (sent) mail look like it is coming from your e-mail address.

The next step is to tell Gmail to send mail showing your real e-mail address. This is done from the settings page again.

In settings > Accounts click on “Add another e-mail address you own” Enter your name, and your e-mail address.

To activate this option, Google will sent an e-mail and you must reply to it, to prove you actually own that email address. You can then set that address as your default, and all mail sent will show your actual e-mail address.

But what if I want to use Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, etc?

Go to the Gmail accounts setting again. Click on the “Forwarding & POP/IMAP” tab. In POP download, click on the “Enable Pop for mail that arrives from now on” button, and save.

Then Go to your e-mail client, and set it to point at Gmail.

This is the last step.

Item 3 on the page described above has links to specific instructions for most e-mail clients.

Go into the account settings in your e-mail client, and change the settings to download your e-mail from Google mail following the instructions provided .

That’s all folks!

The benefits include having a Gmail interface accessible from any computer. You keep your official or professional e-mail address and you now have a backup of your e-mail.

An added benefit is that if you use Google desktop, it can search and index all your mail on the Gmail server. This gives very fast search and indexing of all your mail.

Log into Gmail occasionally and have a look in the spam folder. Eventually you will give up, and Google will delete all spam more than a month old automatically.

Enjoy! – Phil Stephens


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