The anti-spam fortress for my small business consists of several defense mechanisms, of which routing all my email through an “anonymous” Gmail account is my knight in shining armor.
The general strategy here is not to use Gmail as your main business email account, but rather as an effective spam filter for your regular business email address.
The tactic involves routing all you email through Gmail prior to receiving the email in your primary email address and client, such as MS Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.
This is the first article in my series Five Tips on How to Stop Spam Effectively.
How to Set Up Your Spam Filter
For the steps below, lets’s first assume that your current public email address you use with customers, suppliers, and all of the outside world is:
1. Sign up for a Gmail account sign up. Choose a unique name, perhaps something like:
2. In your webhosting account
- Set up a new email address where you want to receive your filtered email.
- Then, set your current public email address “first.last@yourcompany” for forward to your new Gmail account.
3. Open your email client to reset your email accounts profiles. In MS Outlook, this means going to Tools > Email Accounts > View or Change Existing Email Accounts.
- Remove your public email address “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
- Set up your new address “receive@yourcompany”.
- As your Reply Email for “email@example.com”, enter your current public email address “firstname.lastname@example.org”. In the MS Outlook email setup menu, you can do this by clicking on More Settings > General.
4. Return to your Gmail account and goto Settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP.
- Where it says, “Forward a copy of incoming mail to”, enter “email@example.com” into the box. Then, click Save Changes.
That’s about it! You’re on your way to blocking lots and lots of spam!
About This Gmail Spam Filtering Method
Let’s take a look at the underlying mechanism for this spam filter method to see how it all works.
Emails from spammers and our friendly contacts alike are all sent to your publicly known address “firstname.lastname@example.org”, from which your webhosting server immediately forwards these emails to your Gmail account. There, Gmail filters out the spam and then forwards emails from friendly contacts to you receiving account “email@example.com”. When you write or reply to your friendly contacts, they get an email from your receiving account “firstname.lastname@example.org” but see on their screen your public address “email@example.com”. When they reply, they will also automatically reply to “firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, some of your email recipients may be using software that lets them see be able to see your receiving account address. Since an email from “email@example.com” may not looks so good, you might choose to use different receiving account name, i.e. “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
The spam filtering method above allows you to filter email With Gmail for your business domain email address, and works on most email clients, and can be set up quickly on just about any webhosting server.
Does the Gmail Filter Stop All Spam?
Spammers are pretty smart, but the Gmail filtering method can cut the bulk of your spam. After all, with millions of Gmail accounts, Google and its good old anti-spam soldiers have collected enough data about spam to develop a rather robust spam filter that produces few false positives (at least from my experience).
When you combine the Gmail filter with other basic anti-spam methods, such as using Spam Assassin and cloaking your email address on your website, you can almost completely stop spam from infiltrating into the headquarters of your business.