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Spam bots are evil!

About Spam and Helpful Hints on How to Avoid Spam

How does this junk email problem happen?
  1. Email "bots" comb through the internet looking for email addresses to spam.  Since at one time every web page on BlackDog had an email address on it, the "bots" collected multiple instances of BlackDog's email address, and consequently the site has been spammed mercilessly.
  2. Other "bots" collect email addresses from web pages and pirate the email address to send out their nasty viruses.  Be assured that if you got an email from BlackDog that had a virus in it, it was NOT sent by BlackDog.
  3. Email viruses and worms have caused unbelievable problems.  What happens is that when someone who visits BlackDog opens an email attachment containing an email virus or worm, the visitor's system becomes infected.  The infected system is scanned by the virus or worm looking for email addresses located in web pages cached on that computer.  The owner of the infected system then unknowingly sends out many, many emails appearing to come from BlackDog.  That's very bad because people then block BlackDog entirely from being viewed, thinking that BlackDog is sending out spam.  It's amazing how many emails BlackDog receives wrongly saying it came from BlackDog itself.
Solution to the spam/virus/worm problem?
  1. Protect your computer with a good antivirus software, such as Norton Anti-Virus or PC-cillin Internet Security.  Many people also use McAfee Virusscan.
  2. Update the virus definitions for your anti-virus program frequently.  (Every day if you receive a lot of email.)
  3. Never, never, never open an email attachment without first scanning it with your anti-virus program.
  4. Never, never, never open anything you download from the internet without first scanning it for viruses.
  5. If something doesn't look right, use the "X" and close it down.
Helpful Hints to Avoid Junk Email

Don't give out your actual email address to anyone but friends and family.  Avoid listing your e-mail address in large Internet directories and job-posting Web sites.  Don't even post it on your own Web site (unless you disguise it as described below).  WHOA!  Wait a minute there! 

How do you purchase those cool things on the net?  And what about those nifty little programs to download that make you fill in an email address before you can download them?  And what about the times you'd like to donate money to a worthy cause?  Hmmmmm....

There is a solution (or two or three).
  1. Set up an e-mail address dedicated solely to Web transactions.  Consider using a free e-mail service to help keep your primary e-mail address private.  When you get too much spam there, simply drop it for a new one.  A couple of good services are Hotmail and Yahoo.  (Note:  A new web browser window will open when you click on these links.  To return to this page, just close that window.)
  2. Use a free email server, like DodgeIt.  You don't need to sign up.  Just pick out any email name you want, such as coolkid@dodgeit.com.  Fill that made-up email into the place requiring your email.  Then, go to www.dodgeit.com and type your made-up name into the box there.  That's it.

    You wouldn't want to use an email service like DodgeIt for important stuff, like receiving notifications from your doctor, or for important passwords because it is a public email address and anybody who can think of that name can check that email box.  But for normal internet things, it's wonderful.

    By the way, DodgeIt is used by millions of people, and it is kind of fun to check everyone else's email.  You'll be amazed by the JUNK that's created by giving out an email address, even once!  To see how fast an email address can be picked up and spammed, go to DodgeIt and type in coolkid.  That email address box was totally empty on the date this was posted to the internet (Oct. 20, 2005).
  3. Disguise your e-mail address when you post it to a newsgroup, chat room, bulletin board, or other public Web page - for example, black-dog AT example DOT com.  This way, a human can interpret your address, but the automated programs that spammers use often cannot.  This technique is used on this site.

    Here's a technique for web page designers:  As long as your visitors have a javascript enabled web browser, you can have a link that looks like a real email link, but which will trick the spam bots.
    <script language="Javascript">
    <!--
    var name = "youremail"
    var domain = "yourdomain.com"
    document.write(">a href='mailto:" + name + "@" + domain + "'>")
    document.write("email me")
    document.write("</a>")
    //-->
    </script>
    

    Another technique for webmasters is to create a small image with your contact email and use that image where you would normally place your email address.  See BlackDog's contact page or below to see both of these techniques in action.
  4. Watch out for pre-checked boxes.  When you buy things online, companies sometimes pre-select check boxes to indicate that it's fine to sell or give your e-mail address to responsible parties.  Clear the check box if you don't want to be contacted.
  5. Use email filters.  Many Internet Service Providers (ISP) or e-mail programs provide junk e-mail filters that can serve as the first line of defense against spam.  Keep your spam filters up to date.  Spammers work relentlessly to outwit these filters.  You must also do your part by keeping your junk e-mail filters up to date.  And using some of the techniques set out here will help you, too.
  6. Block images in your email.  Just as a lighthouse beacon beams a message with light, pictures in e-mail messages - also called "Web beacons" - can be adapted to secretly send a message back to the sender.  Spammers rely on information returned by these images to locate active e-mail addresses.  Images can also contain harmful code embedded inside them and be used to deliver a spammer's message in spite of the filters.  The best defense against Web beacons is to stop pictures from downloading until you've had a chance to review the message.  Both MSN Hotmail and Microsoft Outlook 2003 are preset to do this automatically for e-mail from addresses not in your address book.  Outlook Express also increases its protection against Web beacons if you're using Windows XP Service Pack 2.
Hopefully, removing the email address from BlackDog's web pages will help get email back to a manageable level so BlackDog can go back to responding to the real people who email BlackDog.  Use some of these tips so what happened to BlackDog doesn't happen to you.

By the way, all these measures are followed by BlackDog.  So, if you send an email to BlackDog that contains a file, or a nifty email image, or even has some cute email wallpaper or a happy face, I'll never see it.  All emails with any kind of attachments, images, etc., go straight to the junk mail box.

Working Examples:

If you need to contact BlackDog, send an email to:

Alternative #1

You will need to type the email address in the image into your email program.

In the meantime, if you have a javascript enabled web browser, here's an easy way to .


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