Like everyone else, the staff of Additional Software Inc. have suffered from increasing spam loads. Here is an explanation of the steps were taking and the costs.
Spam loads have passed 1000 emails per person per day - employees receive, on average, about one spam every minute! This includes bounces of spam directed to people outside the company where the return address has been forged to look as if it has originated from us. We have used very conservative policies on our spam filtering to avoid false positives (legitimate email that the filters mark as spam, and thus we never see). The filters caught about 2/3 of the spam and the rest was handled manually. Despite the very low likelihood of false positives, we also conducted periodic spot checks of the spam files looking for legitimate mail that had been accidently flagged as spam.
The result has been that spam-related activities were costing employees from 15 to 30 minutes per day. Since our webmaster also reviewed all bounces, dealt with mail to inactive mailboxes, and maintained filters, he had higher costs. All these costs are, of course, borne by our customers or by the companys shareholders.
We need to be able to reduce the costs of spam substantially. It will allow us to be more responsive to you, our customers, and to keep our costs as low as possible. With that goal, we have made the following changes :
• we have purchased more sophisticated spam filtering software.
• non-existant email addresses will now bounce. In the past we have intercepted such email, and where it was the result of a typing mistake or to a discontinued mailbox for a departed employee, we would pass it on to the right place. Unfortunately we will no longer be able to provide this service.
• we are removing hyperlinked email addresses from our web pages. These are picked up by spam web crawlers and result in more spam. You will no long be able to click an email address and have a correctly-addressed note automatically opened in your email program.
• we are using graphics to display our email addresses. Web crawlers are not yet sophisticated enough to pull addresses from images. However, you will no longer be able to copy & paste an email address.
• employees will be given an additional public contact email addresses for newsgroup and mailing list use. Mail to the employees via the list address will bounce or be lost. To combat this, each will be given a web page with a special email address on it. That address will only pass mail that also has a password in the subject line. (Both the address and the password are displayed on the page.) Employees will include the URL as part of their standard email footer so that unfamiliar people can contact them.
• employees will all be receiving new, unpublished email addresses. Mail to the old email addresses will be monitored for a short while, and then the address will be discontinued and mail will bounce.
• If your email isnt getting through or you dont know someones address, you can use the general address page: http://www.additional.com/contacts/generalcontact.html. Using the email address & password contained on the page, you can contact us and we will forward your email. The employee will then add you to their personal white list and you will be able to correspond without the password.
We apologise that we need to pass some of this inconvenience on to you. If we can remove spam efficiently and safely and keep our costs competitive, we will. In the meantime, please consider contacting your political representatives to voice your support for legislation and funding for the elimination of spam. It costs us all.