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Are There Any Safe Alternatives to E-mail?
When e-mail first became popular in the 1990s, it was viewed as nothing short of wonderful. There was no need to go to the post office, no need to purchase paper or stamps, and no waiting days for a reply. People could easily and quickly send written messages to anyone else with an e-mail address. Life was good.
Then, abuses by commercial entities began to creep in and ruin the fun. These spoilers were playing the numbers, and sending out to millions of addresses that had been bought, stolen, or otherwise obtained. They knew that if only an extremely small percentage of those receiving their spam advertisements were to respond, this would generate enough money to make the exercise worthwhile. So communication was changed to reflect this abuse.
No longer was e-mail freely sent between writers. Now there were filters for e-mail accounts. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were also on the lookout for spammers using their services. Something as simple as sending out a newsletter could prove tricky. If the ISP thought someone was engaging in spamming, or had received complaints about unwanted emails from recipients, the ISP could move quickly to shut the newsletter, and sender, down. An easy way to avoid these issues is by using a service such as the phantom writers (http://thephantomwriters.com), which distributes to thousands of sources, and leaves the writer free to create.
Safety has become a watchword for e-mail. Before opening any message, it's important to recognize who the sender is. Going beyond the enormous clutter caused by spam, computer viruses abound, and many people are quite rightly hesitant to open any sort of attachment.
Some web based e-mail accounts are not as good as others. Many have size limits, forcing one to either pay up for more space or open additional accounts. Some are difficult to access, even when the correct password is used. With some of the filters used, one never knows how much mail that is actually wanted isn’t getting through the electronic walls.
Perhaps a better option is to use a password protected, secure web site where only those you invite have access -- for the times when you care about receiving communication. In this way, messages can be sent directly, safely, and virus free, to the intended reader. Keep the e-mail account for “junk” correspondence.
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