Wouldn't it be great if you could register your e-mail address with an agency much like you can do with the national "Do Not Call" list? The "Do Not Call" list has been extremely effective at reducing the telemarketing calls. For example, prior to registering my phone number, I'd receive at least five telemarketing calls per day. Now, I get maybe one or two a month.
However, while the U.S.'s CAN-SPAM Act places restrictions on spam, it doesn't actually can it. Instead, marketers have guidelines that they must follow such as providing their physical address and a means for opting out of future messages. Further, CANSPAM does not have a "Do Not E-mail" provision.
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) offers an E-Mail Preference Service they call the "eMPS" that appears to be a voluntary effort by the marketing industry to give consumers options. You can register your e-mail addresses with the eMPS and, theoretically, reduce the amount of unsolicited e-mail messages that arrive in your inbox. I say theoretically because not all spammers clean their e-mail lists using the eMPS system. What good is registering if none of the spammers use the registry? Registering your e-mail address may reduce some e-mail but I doubt it will make a dramatic impact. Instead, this should be part of a larger strategy.
If you want to register your e-mail address with this service, it's fairly easy to do. Simply enter your e-mail address in the E-Mail Preference Service form, click the confirmation link in the confirmation e-mail that you receive and wait and see. They say that you should expect to see a decrease in e-mail volume in about two months. I just registered a "disposable" e-mail address as a test and will report back in a few months to let you know if any spammers managed to get a hold of this unpublished address.
So, if there's no legitimate "Do Not Call" list for spam, how can you reduce the amount of spam that arrives in your inbox? Be stingy with your e-mail address, use disposable e-mail addresses, and use a good spam filter.
Don't freely give away your main e-mail address or you will be spammed. This includes filling out entry forms at special events, posting your e-mail on Web pages and forums, and signing up for freebies online. When an e-mail address is required, use a disposable one such as a Yahoo e-mail address that is used strictly for such purposes. I use SpamGourmet. To date, nearly 52,000 spam messages that would have landed in my inbox have been gobbled up by this free service!
Finally, a good anti-spam program, such as ParetoLogic Spam Controls, can identify and trap spam messages that manage to come your way despite your precautions.