Q-C Online support pages
Technical support article

Spam/Junkmail



Quad-Cities OnlineŽ does not sell, publish, or distribute lists of our customers, their personal information, or their E-mail address. We may use your address as a means of contact for QCO related offers and announcements, but will not make this information available to anyone else. If the junkmail problems you are having cannot be resolved using the help and tips below, there is nothing our service or staff can do to prevent E-mail from coming to you.

At Quad-Cities OnlineŽ, we have a basic junkmail filter that looks for common spammers and common spam headings. This filter removes the majority of junkmail that hits our servers, but does not remove all of it. No spam software is perfect, and therefore we use what he have to stop what we can. In order to have software that prevents all junkmail, we would have to block the services of major companies includings those like AOL, Yahoo, and Hotmail. Doing something this extraordinary would prevent alot of our customers from being able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones who happen to use these other services for E-mail. We keep our spam filter up to date with the latest updates from the company that publishes the software. This company keeps a large registry of known spammers and spam messages on file so that Internet services like QCO can subscribe to it and block some of the more notorious abusers.

Because we cannot block all messages, it is up to the customer to keep track of who is given their contact information and filtering out the remaining spam messages from their machine. This is not always the easiest to do as there are many types of spammers out there. Below is a description of the two most common types of spam.

First, is plain old unsolicited/junk e-mail messages. Unsolicited means that you lack affirmative consent from the recipient. If you found an address on a web page, on a mailing list, or on Usenet, you don't have consent. If you acquired an address during a gift receipt, sale or trade, you don't have consent. If someone gave you an address for a particular purpose (for example, a commercial transaction, information about your products, or after-sales support) you only have consent to use it for that particular purpose. Use for any other purpose requires a new consent. Many people also include messages such as chain letters and pyramid schemes into this category as well, even though the sender many times is someone known.

A second type of spam is when someone sends messages (usually in bulk) to a multitude of addresses. Bulk means that you sent a basically similar message to a large number of address at the same time. A message that differs from recipient to recipient only by details (e.g. the recipient's name, account number, blocks of random words, characters, numbers, or non-rendered text) is still the same message. A message that uses different wording to express the same idea is the same message. Although most spamming is done deliberately, sometimes it can be accidental. Many times someone will need to bulk email a list of friends or business associates for non- spam reasons. Since it is difficult for a server to determine whether what you are sending is a letter to many friends or actually spam/junkmail, there are instances where you may find your messages blocked because of spam related errors.

Because there is no list of QCO customers that we distribute, sell, or keep online that spammers have or can ever get access to, when you see a list of QCO users along with your name on a list of E-mails, most of the time that is because of what is called "Alphabet Spamming". Spammers scour the Internet looking for addresses to send their junkmail. The spammers then take that list of people and put them in alphabetical order according to the Internet Service Provider the customers subscribe to (everything after the @ symbol in an address). We can only assume they do this mainly to make sure that they dont have duplicates of addresses, but cannot really say for sure. They then send out their junkmail and when you get the message, all the others in the header will tend to be alphabetically right before or after you.

Many times they even try to put your E-mail address in the subject line in hopes of grabbing your attention, but mess up and put in the address of the next alphabetical person from your ISP.

If you wonder how the spammers find you, there are some simple ways that they get ahold of your email address:

  • 1. You have entered your E-mail address somewhere on the internet or on paper. Any time a website or form (paper or electronic) asks you to fill in your E-mail address, you are giving them the opportunity to sell your information to those sending Spam. Do not fill in your E-mail address on anything unless it is necessary.
  • 2. Someone you know has entered your E-mail address somewhere on the Internet or on paper. It may have been a harmless Refer-a-Friend program or a funny holiday E-card, but if someone gives out your E-mail address, whomever they gave it to may have the right to sell your address to those sending Spam.
  • 3. You have a common E-mail name. Choosing an E-mail address of "john@somewhere.com" or "sally@webaddress.net" may be easy for people to guess. Many Spammers will find a domain and then try out different common names at that domain to see if they are valid mailboxes. This is also known as alpabetical spamming. They pick common words or random letters and then hope to get a hit off of the E-mail. Picking an address that has numbers and/or is not a common word, name, or set of initials many times can reduce spam to almost nothing.
  • 4. Someone had the username before. when someone cancels their account on our system, the username and E-mail address they had becomes available for anyone else to use within 24 hours. If you pick a username that is common, such as "tigger" or "pookie", someone may have had that E-mail name before and subscribed to lists. If the list does not remove the name, it will keep trying that E-mail address over and over until the account is reactivated, whether by the same customer or a new one.
  • 5. Someone has a similar username. If you have the username of "sam" and another person as "san", they may accidentally mistype their username when subscribing to items on the Internet. If they hit the M instead of the N, it would go to the wrong customer. This is a common occurance.
  • 6. You have posted your E-mail address on your personal website or a company directory listing. If you have a website with QCO, or any other company, most likely there is a link to your mailbox there. This is an easy way for spammers to get addresses.
  • 7. You have used a chat program that asks for E-mail information. If you use applications such as AIM or mIRC, it will ask for your E- mail address. This will become public information as soon as you log on to their server.


In order to prevent getting junkmail, here are some tips.

  • 1. Do not give out your E-mail address unless you know the person you are giving it to.
  • 2. If you must give out your E-mail, get a second mailbox to use just for that occassion. That could be another QCO mailbox or it could be a Hotmail or Yahoo mailbox.
  • 3. Try to pick a unique E-mail address. Pick something you can identify with but that is not easily guessible and most likely was not used before. Try using your initials with numbers, your first initial and last name (if your last name is uncommon), or first name and first initial of your middle name and then your last name. Add numbers if need be.
  • 4. Try to limit E-mail address use on the net. Use it only for purchases from major corporations with a privacy policy and for contacting friends. Do not use it as your contact when playing games, chatting, or requesting information from a company. Set up a second mailbox on QCO, Yahoo, or Hotmail and use that for contat addresses on online forms. All junkmail will then go to that address which you can clear out and go through at random without fearing that you may delete important E-mail.


If you are getting junkmail already, there are some steps you can take to try and reduce the spam.



Although we do have a spam filter on Quad-cities Online, it is difficult to block all spam from coming through our server because the spammers tend to change e-mail addresses frequently, don't use valid reply addreses, and use internet services such as Yahoo/Hotmail/AOL which all have a valid customer base and therefore us blocking the whole provider would prevent real people using that service from contacting our members. The filter we have does a good enough job to keep some of it out, but with spammers hiding behind different fake addresses and names all of the time, it is nearly impossible to prevent it all.

If you are getting overwhelmed by email from some type of "message of the day" or "joke of the day" list that you subscribed to or a friend subscribed you to, try to get yourself removed from the list. Most good companies will have a REMOVE or UNSUBSCRIBE option at the bottom of the letter. It will either be in the form of an address to E-mail to or else a link to a place to Unsubscribe. If the link or the address does not work, try hitting your REPLY button and complaining directly to the person who sent it to you.

If it is a company you are not familiar with, look to see what domain it is from. The domain is everything past the @ symbol in an E-mail address. Try sending a complaint letter to "webmaster" at the domain list. For example, if the letter was from spammer@aol.com, you could E-mail webmaster@aol.com to complain. Most services have a webmaster account. Also try e-mail to "support" and "info" as well as "sales". Many times an internet service does not realize that one of their customers is spamming and if they receive complaints they will take action immediately.

You might also be interested in the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE, http://www.cauce.org). CAUCE helps offer tips/tricks to eliminating spam and has links to anti-spam laws.

As an alternative, you could try blocking these messages from your home machine. If you use Outlook Express or a similar e-mail client, you can use the Block Senders feature to have the junkmail deleted immediately on receipt. If you wish to learn more about this feature and how to set it up, open your mail application, click on Help and Contents/Index and then type in "filter" or "block sender" and the appropriate documentation should appear.

You could try a program called MailWasher (http://www.mailwasher.net). It downloads only the header portion of your E-mail and lets you remove the spam before you even need to download the full message.

Finally, as a last resort you can change your E-mail address. If you decide you want to change your email address, you can contact our office and we can take care of that for you. You also have the option of keeping your existing address and just adding a second one that can be used for personal letters to friends and family. Doing this allows you to still have the old address in case a company out there still uses it for contacting you regarding purchases online and you can also give that one out each time you have to fill out an online form...to avoid junkmail on the new, personal, address.


Local events heading








  Today is Friday, April 25, the 115th day of 2014. There are 250 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Never in the history of Rock Island was there such a demand for houses as at present. Our city is suffering for the want of suitable tenement houses.

1889 — 125 years ago: The choir of Central Presbyterian Church presented a ladies concert under the direction of S.T. Bowlby.

1914 — 100 years ago: Miss Rosella Benson was elected president of the Standard Bearers of Spencer Memorial Methodist Church.

1939 — 75 years ago: Mrs. Nell Clapper was elected president of the Rock Island Business and Professional Women's Club.

1964 — 50 years ago: Gerald Hickman, of Seattle, Wash, will move his family to Rock Island to assume the position of produce buyer for the Eagle Food Center chain of food stores. This announcement was made today by Bernard Weindruch, president of Eagles.

1989 — 25 years ago: Care & Share, formed in 1984 to provide food to jobless and needy Quad-Citians, will disband because the major part of a crisis created by plant closings is over. Food for the needy is still necessary. So groups separately will continue to raise money and collect food.




(More History)