Thursday, October 23, 2008

How to deal with Spam

If you Don't Already Get Spam
First and foremost, never put your email address anywhere out the internet where it will be visible on a page. If you do put it out there, you will get spam. Do not register a domain name without whois protection. If your registrar can't hide your email in the domain registration records, use a Gmail acct for your domain contact.(see below).

Next, Have two email addresses.

One gives you everything you really need to see, the other is for all the misc. stuff.

Your PRIVATE email is one that you only give out to real actual live people (and maybe your bank or another business with which you have a private and trusting relationship)

The other email is your PUBLIC email address, and I suggest a Gmail address for this, because Gmail has the greatest spam filters in the world. This address is used for newsletters, Amazon orders, and friends that like to send FW: RE: emails.

I collect email from these two addresses in two separate email programs (Outlook and Thunderbird). That way my private email account only gets mail from people I REALLY want to hear from. It cuts down on the distractions in a BIG way.

If you give your email address to someone who likes to send FW: RE: type emails, get them to change to start sending stuff to you at your public (Gmail) account, or sooner or later your PRIVATE email addr will end up on a computer that is virus infected and you will start to get spam. This has happened to me.

For an email address that gets spam, a couple ideas.
You can set up Gmail to receive your email, and then you can set up Gmail and your email program (Outlook, Thunderbird...) to get the email from Gmail. That way your email gets filtered by Gmail. Gmail's filters are so good that one of my clients had 2000+ spams filtered out, 2 that got through and no false positives.

Outlook has pretty good spam filters. Update Outlook at Office Update, and then set Outlook's junk mail options to High. What happens for me is that almost all the spam goes into the Junk folder, and I also get false positives on a regular (predictable) basis. The false positives are fairly easy to deal with. I only get them once, and I only get them from new correspondents. I keep and eye on the contents of my junk folder and 'mark as not junk' any emails coming from a real person. Now, I don't have a lot of new correspondents, and I don't get thousands of spams, so this works for me.

If you have your own domain and website, you can even change your MX records so that Google apps for domains collects your email, instead of your hosting company's email servers. Again, you get the benefit of Gmail's awesome spam filters. I set this up for a client and it's been awesomely successful. It's transparent for the client, he just collects his email in Outlook the same way he did previously.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Horribly Wrong: Adwords keyword tool advertiser competition

Google's Adwords Keyword tool supposedly shows how much competition there is for a given keyword phrase, but sometimes when I perform a search on that keyword in Google, I see no ads whatsoever.

Here is an example:
According to Adwords there is a medium high degree of advertiser competition for the phrase "visa logo"

Click for larger image

Yet when I go to Google and do a search for "visa logo" I get zero ads.

Click for larger image

So, what is going on here?

When I am working with Adsense or Adwords I have started doing searched to verify that there are competing ads in Google. In Adsense, if you are trying to write content for a high competition ad, to get highly paid clicks, then you will want to know that there really are NO advertisers for that keyword.

In Adwords, no advertisers can mean a niche that none of your competitors have discovered, which is like finding money on the street.

Your thoughts?