SPAM
The information provided here may give you some insight into the mechanism
that drives spam. We are installing various filtering methods to help you
but there is no one fix-all for junk mail and the user must get involved
if unwanted mail is to be curtailed. So read on, we hope this helps.

What is SPAM?
Different people with different perspectives and agendas may define spam in 
different ways. As we see it, spam/junkmail  is e-mail that is received,
unsolicited or unrequested by the e-mail user. There is also e-mail that is 
considered spam by the user because it is unwanted but that user may have 
intentionally or unintentionally gotten themselves on a mailing list. Sites,
services or individuals will sell or otherwise distribute personal info
which includes e-mail addresses and these may in turn be obtained and used 
by spammers.

Where spam originates. Spam comes from either fixed or varying e-mail 
addresses.
    1) Fixed e-mail addresses Mailers that have the same e-mail
address from mailing to mailing. This is made possible when the ISP where
the spam originates allows it to happen, from a list server that someone
pays to send their advertising or a legitimate entity (has a real 
unsubscribe/remove). 
    2)Varying e-mail addresses A method that is becoming more common
is for spammers to obtain list information and set up temporary accounts,
mostly at places like Yahoo and Hotmail and send the spam out to thousands 
or tens of thousands of addresses then close the account and move on to use
another e-mail address to send spam. 

Where E-Mail addresses are obtained from.
Mailing Lists. It all comes from lists of some sort. The question is,
HOW DID I GET ON A MAILING LIST?? 
Following are ways that your address can be had by a spammer and a few 
recommendations on how to keep it from them. Listed are the most common
methods but I'm sure there are more since spammers are as devious as
crackers (hackers gone bad). 
     Online registration - The site you 'register' at may sell your
registration information including your e-mail address to spammers. Any site
that requests your e-mail address is a potential for spam lists. Take the
time to read the sites privacy policy information before you leave an e-mail
address. Don't give your e-mail address unless it's required. I give an 
e-mail address that I created at Yahoo when I must give an e-mail address
but don't want the site to have my real address. I check it once every 
couple of months and send myself an e-mail from there to keep it active.
I consider this poetic justice since Yahoo/Hotmail does virtually nothing
to curtail spammers. I call this a garbage account. As far as the other 
personal information, you can create your own 'alias' name,address etc. a 
kind of alter ego.
     Replies to Spam - When a spam message has a 'Remove' or 
'Unsubscribe' and you reply, the whole intent of the spam may not have been
to sell something to you but to confirm that your e-mail address is 
legitimate. A list of legitimate addresses is compiled and sold to other 
spammers. Use common sense. The legitimate companies eg CNet,Mercury News
etc. will take you off their lists since they have more to lose by bad press
concerning spam if they don't. I do use the 'Unsubscribe' at places that I
consider legitimate. If a 'remove' address is at Yahoo or Hotmail or 
something I have never heard of, I will not respond.
     Purchasing Online - Here you must fill out correct personal 
information. Check on the privacy policy and make your decision. This may be
the cheapest you have ever seen this product for sale but it is up to you to
weigh the options with respect to the possibility getting on a list.
     Legitimate Lists - There are legitimate mailing lists that 
provide daily news or information of whatever sort that you really do want to
receive. They may have functional 'Remove/Unsubscribe' options but check the
fine print to see if they sell or otherwise distribute personal information
which includes your e-mail address.
     Guest Books - Like registration, some guest books make themselves
public or sell the e-mail info for lists. Use a garbage account.
     IRC and Chat Rooms - Some IRC clients give out their e-mail
addresses to anyone who wants them. Some chat rooms give out e-mail addresses.
Remember, they are looking for a valid e-mail address not you in particular.
Use a garbage account.
     Hostile People - A person that is angry at someone might sign them
up on a not so nice e-mail list using the other persons e-mail address. This 
can be very hard to get off of since the username and password at the list
site is unknown to the legitimate user of the e-mail address.

What can you do on your end?
1) Use common sense when responding to e-mails. Don't give it out unless 
necessary. The internet is the real world and common sense will win the day.
2) Utilize the filters built into your browser Outlook Express and Netscape 
Communicator both have pretty good filtering facilities. We have some info
at www.vom.com/faq.html and will have more soon. 
3) Set up a garbage account eg Yahoo,Hotmail etc.
4) We have implemented filtering methods here at VoM and we are employing them
when requested. We take spam/junkmail very seriously!!