Great Place Not to Be

by | Jun 4, 2002 | Archives

Recent messages have looked at great places to be, but there are also places we should avoid. The note below is from a reader who responded to our message about avoiding Nigerian scams and why one should never go to Africa to meet someone who has sent a message of this sort.

“Gary, thanks for the alert about the Nigerian scams.

Curiously, I recently have been bombarded with email from three or four of these artists. And it looks like more will come in. A big nuisance,AND I have begun to fear them as a possible source of some super destructive virus!

Do you know how to stop this unsolicited email? Is there an E-mail Bomb we can send back?

More importantly, do you know how these people get our email address in the first place? My address is constructed to be unusual, not intuitive, and I sure haven't sent anything to Nigeria that they could pick up.

It is becoming alarming.”

Here is the reply our webmaster passed to this reader.

“This is a very lengthy topic I could address for hours…but very quickly I did a search on your email address at one search engine Google and found your address. So, your email address is on the web.

Spamming companies send automated “harvesting” programs round the web and these catch anything looking remotely like an email address…and that's it in a nutshell!

Don't reply to these emails.

Ask your ISP if they support spam filtering using ORBS (or similar, as ORBS is now largely defunct) or mail filtering using Procmail.

By the way if I were a spammer developing these harvesting programs, (I am not!) I would try to pick up keywords from the page I pulled your email address from. For example I see your email address is on a page for “1968 Nevada signs in very good condition”.

One key aspect of Gary's International Business Made EZ course is defining your customer; if I can harvest only 1000 email addresses off the entire Internet with a well-focused set of keywords and email those with a very focused offer, then the spam becomes much more targeted and results-likely. Interesting theory, anyway…


Dear friends may I have your ideas about how to avoid spam to pass onto other readers?

Until next message I hope wherever you are is a great place to be!