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Spam: Bozo Filters

By Richard Lowe
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A bozo filter is a feature of email and newsgroups clients to allow you to automatically delete messages which you do not want to receive. This is typically used to eliminate flame spam messages so you don't have to see them.

For example, I am subscribed to a number of topics on Yahoo Egroups. In general these groups have pleasant conversations among people who stay on topic and don't flame. There are two individuals,however, who are abusive and make no substantial contributions and see the need to post flames and sarcastic remarks regularly. I could just ignore (and delete) these messages myself, or I could (and have)set up a bozo filter in Outlook which automatically deletes all messages from their email address. This ensures that I don't need to read the messages from these people except as part of a reply to another message (rare).

Using the filters supplied with virtually all modern email and newsgroup clients, you can seriously cut down on spam and other unwanted messages. However, to be effective, you have to maintain your filters on a regular basis. Here's what I do: whenever I receive an email which is undesirable, I scan it quickly to identify something which would identify it. This might be the FROM address, the SUBJECT (some or all of it) or various phrases within the message body. If the FROM address is strange (which it often is in spam messages), then it's better to key off the subject or text body. These identifiers are then added to my filters. In other words, I tell the email client "if you see this phrase in the message body, then please automatically delete the message.

Note that you must be careful that the phrases are specific to the type of message you want to delete.Otherwise, you will wind up deleting messages which you actually want to receive. For example, let's say a common phrase is "sex movies for sale". You should add the whole phrase to your filter, not a short word like "sale" which could unintentionally delete messages about other things.

Note that your filter should move the messages to the trash, and you should always take a quick scan of the messages in your email trash can before deleting. This will help prevent you from accidentally deleting a valid message. Filters are not perfect.

Some good phrases to add to your bozo filters are:

Click here to be removed.
bulk e-mail
bulk e mail
I just found your address by searching through
adults only
If you are under 21
This is a one-time mailing
This is not a spam
million dollars
Section 301, Paragraph (a)(2)(C) of S. 1618
Bill 1618 Title III
Since your email address was listed on a related Web siteā€¦
Claim your prize

Once you've spent some time creating a few bozo filters, you will begin to realize the power at your fingertips. Using the filtering components of products such as Outlook and Outlook express, you can automatically file emails in specific folders, forward them without your intervention and of course delete spam. Have fun and use these to help improve your productivity.

About the Author
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets at ( - Visit our website any time to read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.


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