Dealing with Unwanted Email
It’s no secret that I love email. One of the great things about email addresses is that they are public and that everyone can get in touch with you this way. That’s also one of the more annoying aspects of email - you tend to get a lot of unwanted emails (think of this as spam+).
The worst kind of unwanted email is obviously the automated spam (think unexpected inheritance, Nigerian princes and so on), but most of the time your email vendor will take care of it reasonably well, provided you help them with the training of their spam filters. Basically you should mark everything you consider spam as such. Don’t skip on this!
The next most annoying categories of unwanted email are:
- (ad) newsletters to which I didn’t subscribe (or subscribed accidentally)
- reach-outs from sales people trying to peddle me something
- lots of people are actually trying to sell services to the company I work for and attack me on both personal and professional addresses - that’s pretty lame
- a bunch of people want to place ads or paid “guest” articles on my personal sites - that’s never going to happen
- a bunch of “SEO experts” promise me quick path the top of the Google results - I don’t care about this at all
- reach-outs from recruiters
- I’ve already said a lot on this topic in the past
I try to unsubscribe from newsletters when possible, but I also block them to be on the safe side. Every email from a human that I consider unwanted gets similar treatment:
- report as spam
- block sender
The recipe is simple, but quite effective. It definitely beats not doing anything, as often sales people and recruiters will send you numerous “follow-up” emails if you let them do so. Some email services like HEY block email from unknown senders by default and that’s another effective way to combat unwanted email. You can build similar workflows with most popular email vendors - e.g. here’s how you can do this with Fastmail.
So, what’s the gist of it? It’s not an issue to have public email addresses as long as you consistently tackle unwanted email right away. I know the alternative all too well and I’m not falling in trap ever again.1 And nor should you!
A depressing inbox with hundreds of unread email where it’s hard to spot the few important messages that really deserve your attention. ↩