What are Spam Blockers?

David White

Spam blockers can be something that you really depend on. They can also be your greatest enemy. Most people find them somewhere in between.

Spam represents a very real threat to millions of e-mail users worldwide.
Spam represents a very real threat to millions of e-mail users worldwide.

Most people who have email accounts get at least one email every day. Some people get hundreds or even thousands of emails each day. Of course, not all of these emails are solicited or even desired. Email that you don’t want or didn’t ask for is called spam.

Spam blockers filter unwanted email messages to a separate folder, but they sometimes can be overzealous.
Spam blockers filter unwanted email messages to a separate folder, but they sometimes can be overzealous.

Most spam seeks to sell something. Spam solicitations commonly ask people to click on a link in an email. These links can direct people to websites that sell products or advertise programs. Other spam emails contain attachments that carry computer viruses. If you don’t realize it, you might click on a spam email that automatically opens its attached virus and begins infecting your computer.

Spam is a huge problem for many, many people. Deleting unwanted email can take up a significant amount of time. Spam often takes the form of objectionable material as well, such as ads for drugs or announcements of activities that make some people uncomfortable. The threat of virus infection is very real these days as well, with viruses capable of erasing files or even entire hard drives. Naturally, tools that help people avoid such situations can be very popular.

Spam blockers act as guardians of your email Inbox. Spam blockers can keep out some of the most invasive emails, so you don’t have to waste time deleting them. In most cases, spam blockers are customizable software programs. For example, you can set up most popular spam blockers to quarantine or delete emails from certain providers or that contain certain keywords, either in the subject line or in the body of the email.

Spam blockers are usually relatively inexpensive. As with most software programs, the more features you buy, the more money you’ll pay. Especially for people who get a lot of email anyway, however, that money can be well spent. Some Web-based email applications offer spam blockers as part of their service.

One danger of spam blockers, however, is that they can be overzealous in their protection of your Inbox. You might find, for example, that emails from your friends or colleagues somehow qualify as spam in the eyes of your spam blocker. If you have the program set to automatically delete anything it designates as spam, then you will never see those friendly emails. Customizability works both ways in this instance; you might have to set up those spam blockers not to restrict emails from friends and colleagues.

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