Another challenging situation is for people that have web sites. It can be valuable to post one's email address, but at what cost? Spammers spider web sites and find email addresses just the same.
Gmail has done us all a favor by setting up an excellent spam filter. I have just a handful of false-positives (genuine emails that get marked as spam) over a period of months, and perhaps ten spam emails that slip through the filter.
My secret weapon against spam is EndJunk.com. When you register with EndJunk, you get a subdomain of email addresses. Any email address at that subdomain gets processed however you want it. I could have one email address always get deleted, another always get forwarded to my personal email address, another get forwarded to some secondary email address.
Here are some of the beauties of this situation:
- Each time I register with a new web site, I give them their own unique address. If I set up an account with... typepad, I would submit email@example.com . (sundog2000 is my endjunk username, and therefore my subdomain.)
- If I receive spam directed at an endjunk account -- I can tell who sent the spam! If I get spam at firstname.lastname@example.org, I'll know they're the jerks that sold my email address! (Or, after posting this on the internet, it may be that the spam came because this site was crawled by a spambot.)
- If I get lots of spam from a particular address, I can turn it off at EndJunk - no more spam to that address. Endjunk even keeps stats to let you know how many emails you've received at each address
In addition to these measures, I have my EndJunk account forwarding to my gmail account -- I can process my emails in one place, and Gmail's aforementioned excellent spam filter also scrubs them when they come in.
Gmail offers a plus-addressing feature that provides similar capabilities (email@example.com) but I've found that some web sites don't accept email addresses with +'s in them, and I don't trust this to spammers either -- it's pretty easy to lop plus addresses off of gmail accounts with a simple script.
Check out EndJunk, and leave your spam-busting tips in the comments.