Do not use profanity. Be very careful when discussing financial or business affairs. Avoid any mention of your private parts. Do not offer any guarantees, or refer to checks that may or may not be in the mail. | Refrain from describing anything or anybody as “free.” Abstain from the exuberant use of punctuation marks. Shun simple salutations like “Hello,” and opt instead to craft a detailed, personalized subject line. —Michelle Delio
—Spam Filters Grab Good With Bad (Wired)
Spam is evil.
The above article lists some of the new rules of e-mail. I have my e-mail spam filter set to block any message with more than two exclamation marks or the word “sex” in the subject line. (The only person who might ever want to talk to me about sex is my wife, and she doesn’t need to use e-mail to get my attention.)
I’ve stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, adding anti-spam protection to our SHU installation of MoveableType. There were scores of links to viagra, digital camera, and gambling websites tucked away in older blog entries. (The spammers want Google to find links to their sites, thus artificially raising their rankings.)
I’ve also read that we can expect to start seeing full-screen advertisements that load stealthily in the background while we are surfing a site, and that play after we click away from a website.
I have four different ad-blocking tools installed on the computer I’m using now: Webwasher (which not only blocks ads but closes up the space on the screen where the ad used to be; I sometimes have to shut off because it interferes with my webmail), Google’s Toolbar (great for stopping popups; hold down ctrl when clicking if you know you want a popup this time; or, click a button to permanently allow popups on the domain — very useful), NoFlash (which kills Macromedia Flash ads; I can easily turn it back on if I know I want the flash thingy), and a few minutes ago I just added the unimaginatively-named Mike Skallas’s Ad Blocking Host File (a list of ad-serving hosts that your browser will ignore, registering only errors where the ads are supposed to be… not pretty, but effective).