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One of the most common computer-related complaints I’ve heard is, “Argh, I get so much spam email!”

If you actually enjoy reading about “How to Win Over nAy Girl”, “My offer of $$100,000,0000” and “give me your bank information”, stop reading now and GET OFF MY LAWN (and my network)! However, if you are annoyed by spam, please read on.

It is important to note that spammers can find your email address through many means. One of the most common sources is websites with which you signed up. There are many legitimate websites which do not sell your personal information, but some other, more nefarious websites make quite a lucrative profit selling their members’ personal information to advertisers and spammers.

Now, I am not suggesting that you stop signing up for websites that you find compelling. Instead, a good strategy is to maintain two (or more) email addresses, one for web signups, and the other for personal contacts, like friends, colleagues, spouses, and extramarital romantic interests (just kidding). It is very easy to set up accounts with internet-based email providers such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail.

The second strategy, more specific to Willamette network account-holders, is to have your WU email forwarded to an off-campus email account, such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail. The primary benefit is that your incoming email will go through two spam filters: one on the WU servers, and another in your destination email account. An added bonus is that you get to bypass the ugly, antiquated WU webmail user interface. I personally have all my WU email forwarded to my Gmail account, and it catches almost all the incoming spam before it hits my inbox.

Caveat: if you set up email forwarding, all incoming WU email received AFTER you set up email forwarding will be forwarded to your off-campus account. This will NOT forward existing email messages in your WU inbox to your off-campus account.

To do this, go to the WU Internal page ( In the upper-right corner of the window, click the “doorway” link most appropriate to you (Enrolling Students, Students, Faculty, Staff). In the “WITS EMAIL AND NETWORK SERVICES” column, click the “Email Forwarding Address” link. Enter your WU username and password as prompted, and follow the directions on the page. Once that’s done, open up the off-campus email account you indicated on the form, and you should receive an email message stating that all your WU email will be forwarded to the new account. You’re done! To undo, simply go back to the “Email Forwarding Address” page, select the “deliver to Willamette account” radio button, and press “Submit Mail Forward Request”.

Some email providers let you to have multiple sending addresses/identities all under one account. This allows you to choose which of your email addresses is displayed as the “sender” in emails you send out. This feature varies between providers, so you’ll need to research this one yourself. Your mileage may vary.


One Comment

  1. Additional note – spammers crawl the web looking for email addresses, so be especially cautious of putting your email in any website that either posts users email addresses as text, or even worse as a mailto: link (a link to an email address).

    Here’s a couple other tricks: if you use GMail (and if you don’t like spam, you should use GMail, it chews up all the spam, no joke), you actually have a whole bunch of email addresses at your disposal:

    If you’re really looking for a disposable, one time use email address, check out – it’s a service that lets you use any email address you’d like and you can check the emails, for instance if you need to confirm your account for some stupid forum or whatnot. Even better, since some sites try to deny emails sent to mailinator, you can use just as easily! Just send an email to (or and go to the mailinator site and type in helloworld to check it’s inbox! Perfect for all those times where you never want to hear from some website ever again.

    Lastly, as an alternative to just forwarding all your willamette mail to GMail, check out to see how to actually load your wu mail into GMail and be able to send as your willamette account as well.

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