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Spam Uncanned

Why the recent anti-spam legislation isn't protecting you
July 1, 2004

Is the Can-Spam legislation reducing unsolicited e-mail? Not according to a February 2004 survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Fifty-three percent of home and work e-mail users haven't noticed a change since the first of January, when the legislation went into effect. In fact, while 11 percent of work e-mail users noticed a decrease in spam, 19 percent saw an increase.

The law doesn't prevent spam; it attempts to regulate how it's sent. Meanwhile, spammers continue using automated programs to harvest the Web for e-mail addresses. Internet marketers are especially vulnerable. A few simple steps can help you better protect your privacy while you're promoting your business online.

Also realize that if you register a URL, your e-mail is placed in a publicly accessible database. In an effort to prevent spammers from using this database, several domain registration services offer private registration. An alternate e-mail, postal address and phone number will be listed in the contact database. Network Solutions is offering private registration at an introductory rate of just $5 per year, plus the cost of a domain name. A few bucks for the idea of less spam seems worth it.

Once you receive spam, you can report deceptive messages or ignored unsubscribe requests to your ISP and the FTC. However, that's a reactive measure that won't prevent new spammers from finding you. Being proactive in protecting your e-mail address during your marketing activities is a key action step.

Speaker and freelance writer Catherine Seda owns an Internet marketing agency ( and is author of Search Engine Advertising.