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Entrepreneur Mom

with Aliza Sherman

If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.

To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.

The Trouble with Spam

Categories: Biz Nuts & Bolts

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There is nothing more productivity-crippling than spam. Spam in your inbox, spam on your blog or forum, even spam on your cellphone. What’s a busy business owner to do about all this spam? Learn more about the legal side of spam.

Here are a few quick tips to help handle the spam overload.

Spam in Your Inbox

1. Get free Web-mail. Now I’m not recommending that you be like me with 8 different email addresses to serve various purposes, but one additional email address using a free Web service - like Gmail.com - can help you keep your more personal address relatively spam free. Use this whenever you sign up for anything or fill out an online form.

2. Use “high” blocking. Most email providers or ISPs provide spam blocking these days and often at a low, medium or high strength. Pick high. You may have some initial hassles making sure you get all your emails, but once you’ve “cleared” your friends, family and colleagues, you should be in business.

3. Don’t post your email. Sometimes, I’ll put my email on a Web site or blog as mediaegg AT hotmail DOT com but I’m sure the spammers are getting around that trick. If you don’t want your email lifted by unscrupulous spammers, keep it off the grid.

Blog Spam

1. Use a secure blog host. If you are going to use a Web-based blog host, make sure they have good spam protection in place. Blogger.com, for example, allows you to put a verification image in place before people can post to your blog. Typepad.com has spam protection to a point but spammers always seem to get by.

2. Beware of Splogs! What’s a splog, you ask? They are a spam blog - a fake blog set up to automatically lift content from the Web - often based on certain keywords such as “business.” The blog is built with other people’s content. Hate to say it, but I have no idea how to avoid this kind of spam link, but at least it is not ON your blog. This is a relatively new spam annoyance.

3. Moderate your blog. If spam is really becoming a headache on your blog, switch to a moderating mode where you have to approve all posts. Yes, more work for you, but better than the spam showing up on your blog.

4. Shut off comments. This is the last resort for major spam invasions. You can usually completely shut off the comment feature on your blog. Again, it is a last resort.

Spam on Your Cellphone (also called SMS Spam)

I had to turn to some experts for this one!

1. Register in the Do Not Call Registry. According to an article on CNET, start by registering your cellphone number on the Do Not Call list.

2. File a Complaint with the FCC. Another tip from CNET - file complaint here.

3. Call your mobile provider. Now this one may not do much, but at least they have on record when you call to complain. Call each time you get a spam message. Right now, my husband is in a dispute with his mobile phone company because they charged him for 13 incoming spam messages. But he did call after receiving each one so hopefully that will help him get a refund.

None of these tips are foolproof. Spammers always find workarounds. But hopefully they will help!

If you have some other spam-avoidance tips, please share them here!



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