One of the more draconian ways to prevent spam is only to allow into your mailbox email that either comes from a “whitelist” of people you know or submits to a human-designed test. I recently emailed a blog notable and got back an automated message from Mailblocks that asked me to fill in a web form before my email was forwarded to him. First of all, if I was on dialup I would have to connect to the Internet just in order to ssend him his message but more annoying still the request for confirmation email took more than 20 hours to arrive! Imagine if I had actually needed to reach him urgently about something.
Nonetheless this kind of technology may be the only reasonably sure-fire way to protect your email from a mountain of incoming spam once the spammers get ahold of it. That’s why I have always taken care that my own email address isn’t out on the Internet in a machine readable form anywhere. And you can try it out for yourself for free (with a 5Mb mailbox) and see how you like it.