Email has become a familiar part of everyday life.
In fact, both professionally and privately, many of us today could not function without a combination of email and text being at our disposal. Unfortunately though, email can also bring with it a number of non-trivial problems including the dreaded Spam.
What is Spam?
Almost from the day that large-scale public email was born, a variety of legitimate and crooked commercial interests saw it as a great opportunity.
Perhaps few of us have been fortunate enough to entirely avoid needing to look through piles of unsolicited emails that in most cases are trying to advertise something that we are not interested in or in others, perhaps seeking to defraud us.
This is collectively called “Spam” and for many years the IT industry has been trying to find ways of stopping it reaching us. Surprisingly, this isn’t quite as easy as it might sound.
A Porous Barrier
Clearly, there are an awful lot of emails that you will want to receive. In many cases they may be from individuals or companies that you might not have dealt with previously but you do still want to see their communication.
It also hopefully goes without saying that you want emails to reach you that are coming from your established contacts.
In many situations, the organisation providing your email services will have put into place something called a “Spam filter”. In the early days, these were fairly crude and often simply stopped emails coming through that originated from known Spam sources or simply from an id that your email provider didn’t recognise.
The problem there was, as many people will have experienced and perhaps still do today, that those filters were simply not precision engineered. In other words, far too many legitimate emails were being blocked and that could and still can cause serious difficulties.
The difficulty for the service provider is that there are so many ‘characteristics clues’ that they can use to automatically spot something that they know you won’t want to receive. For much of the time in the past they were reduced to making what they hoped were intelligent guesses – and sometimes they simply got it wrong.
That resulted in the tedious business of constantly needing to check your service provider’s discard box to make sure they hadn’t accidentally blocked something coming through to you that was important.
Modern Spam Filters
The good news is that things have changed over recent years.
Modern IT support companies who provide Spam filters allow their customer to tag received emails to indicate whether or not they are Spam. Over time, the filter software learns from the users’ expressed preferences and that allows it to apply ever more appropriately refined blocking filters to incoming emails.
True, this does take a little bit of initial patience on the part of the user in terms of looking at the discard pile and clicking on any that should not have been blocked.
This is typically only a relatively short process though and after a modest period of time, modern Spam filters should be astonishingly accurate in terms of passing through to you materials you would wish to see while blocking those you would not.
If you don’t have such a system already in place, it might be worth making enquiries about them to find out more.