Take Charge of your Inbox

SPAM is a staple of any camping trip, but I can’t stand it in my Inbox.  Spammers can be very aggressive and clever, so you need to set up what I like to think of as a ‘Multi-Layered Defense’.  Here’s how I dig the trenches…

1) Unsubscribe.

As counterintuitive as it is, if you’re dealing with a legitimate business (that is, one that you have already done business with and you would simply like to get off of their email distribution list), then go ahead and click the bottom of the email that says ‘Unsubscribe’.

Example: You attended the wedding of a friend 5 years ago and bought the couple a registry gift on Crate and Barrel’s website. You had never bought anything from Crate and Barrel prior to you friends wedding, and have not bought anything from Crate and Barrel since. But for some reason Crate and Barrel thinks you are a professional Wedding Crasher and that you intend to buy overpriced flatware from them on a weekly basis. You don’t, and you’d like to stop receiving their emails- So Unsubscribe.


2) Don’t Unsubscribe.

If your email is getting peppered by some random business you’ve never heard of, DON’T Unsubscribe. It is probably just a spammer fishing for active email addresses, and when you click ANYTHING inside the body of the email (or the email itself), the spammer knows they’ve found a legitimate email address to sell to fellow spammers. In this case you can block the email address using a SPAM filter or simply go on to the next rule…


3) Use Unroll.me.

This is a relatively new email scrubbing service I heard about from Clark Howard. Unroll.me is a service that takes a look at your inbox for you and performs as sort of ‘Email Triage’. Use Unroll.me and choose stuff to

(1) Unsubscribe (true SPAM),

(2) Rollup (Marketing stuff that you might take a look at on Unroll.me’s ‘Rollup’ once per week), or

(3) Email from real people you care about (leave alone and keep in your Inbox).

Take Charge of your Inox
Unroll.me’s Email Triage Tool
Take Charge of your Inbox
Unroll.me’s Rollup Screen

4) Create a ‘Marketing’ Rule for your email program.

It can be webmail (YahooMail or Gmail) or Outlook mail.  Most all marketing emails (be they legit or illegit), have a blue hyperlink at the bottom that says ‘Unsubscribe’. So I set up a rule that if I receive any emails with the word ‘unsubscribe’ in the body, that my email program moves the mail to a special ‘Marketing’ Folder. I’ve never had a close personal friend send me an email that has the word ‘unsubscribe’ in the body, so this rule works pretty well in sweeping up emails that somehow manage to get through rules 1 through 3 above.

The only time I have been bit with this is when the local Little League coach used Shutterfly to send out group emails for practices, games, etc. Unfortunately, Shutterfly sends out emails with ‘Unsubscribe’ at the bottom, so the Little League emails were sent to this ‘Marketing’ folder instead of straight to my Inbox (If I was proactive, I could set up a first priority email rule to keep these in the regular Inbox, but it’s not that big a deal).

Also note that you must get Unroll.me working before you implement tactic #4.  If you create the ‘Marketing’ rule first, Unroll.me will never see the undesirable emails lingering in your inbox, because the offensive emails have already been vacated by your email/webmail server rules/filters.


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