Click Here January 2004: Junk Mail

Click Here
By Lee C. Sonko

Last month, I told you about some websites you can visit to get off of junk postal mail and telemarketing lists. A few people have asked me how they can use those services without a computer. To get on the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call List, call 888-382-1222.

To register with the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service and dramatically decrease the amount of unsolicited junk mail you get, send a letter to
Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

Write a letter with your name, address, and phone number. Tell them that you want to be put on the Mail Preference Service and hand-sign the letter. You’ll be on their list in a few months and stay on for 5 years.

There has been some hoopla recently about the CAN-SPAM bill. The hope is that it will eliminate all that awful unsolicited email we all get every day. Unfortunately, even if the law passes, the proposals in the bill are far too weak to have any effect on spammers or your email inbox. Let’s hope Washington gets it right next year. In the mean time, you might use the tips I mentioned in last month’s article.

Popups and Popunders. They sound like fun breakfast foods but in the computer world, they’re just another nuisance. When you go to a website and another window pops up in front of the window you are trying to get to, that’s called a “popup”. If the new window is hidden below the window you want to get to, it’s called a “popunder”. Nine times out of ten, a popup or popunder is just an advertisement for something you don’t want. I find popunders to be more insidious because you don’t see them until you’re getting ready to turn off your computer.

There are several computer programs that can stop these critters. If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer on the PC (that’s the vast majority of people) then I highly recommend the Google Toolbar.blocked.png Just go to http://toolbar.google.com and follow the installation instructions. The next time a popup tries to … pop up, Google will stop it!

On occasion, you might actually want a popup. Maybe your bank pops up a new window when you are logging in. To tell the Google toolbar that you want popups from a particular website, just click on the “blocked” icon. It’s that simple.

I love the Google Toolbar. It’s free. It gives you a free popup blocker. And it connects you to the Google search engine, which is by far the best internet search. There is a lot to love about Google. They have too many services to list here but one of my favorites is Google Answers at http://answers.google.com. Live researchers will answer your questions on just about any subject in the world for a very modest fee. I’ve spent several enjoyable and informative hours browsing peoples’ questions and answers. I’ve asked a few questions too. The answers were right on.

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