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Top Tips to Tame Spam (and Bacn)

Email. You love it and you hate it. It can save huge amounts of time or become a black hole from which none of your free time can ever escape. To help you manage your email for maximum productivity, there are dozens of shortcuts and new tools. Following are some of my favorites.

Bacn
You know what spam is — unsolicited email that adds fat to your inbox — but bacn can be equally annoying. The term "bacn" was coined by a group of podcasters a few years ago to refer to messages that are better than spam, but still not personal email. More specifically, bacn is junk email you've actually signed up for — whether you meant to or not. Maybe it's a newsletter from your college, or a marketing push from the online catalog where you bought a present last Christmas. To get them to stop sending the bacn, you need to unsubscribe. But doing this manually — hitting the unsubscribe button on the bottom of every one of these emails is extremely time-consuming — so you need an unsubscriber.

In Yahoo Mail, the unsubscriber is easy to activate. Simply click on the Unsubscriber application on the lower left hand side of your Yahoo Mail (hint: if you don't see it right away, look within the "Applications" folder in that lower-left area). Then click to "Create my Unsubscribe Folder," and an unsubscribe folder will automatically appear in your folder list. Now, just drag unwanted emails into that folder, and an app called OtherInbox will work to unsubscribe you from those email lists. Even if you can't be safely unsubscribed, emails from these senders will be moved automatically into the unsubscribe folder, so you never have to see those emails again.

If you use other mail clients, there are third party browser extensions like unsubscribe.com that basically do the same thing.

Spam
When you get junk that's completely foreign to you, offensive, or an obvious scam, do not unsubscribe. Use the Spam button instead. When you click the Spam button, Yahoo and other email providers prevent subsequent emails sent by the same sender from getting into your inbox. They also use your actions as feedback to improve the various filters of their spam defenses.

Trying to unsubscribe from spam, especially the obviously smarmy emails, is possibly the worst thing you can do. You are basically emailing back to a spammer telling them that your address is a live one; they will then sell it to other spammers, so you'll get even more junk!

Organizing The Email You Want
You probably know all about creating folders to organize your inbox. But did you know that you can use a free web app to comb through your inbox and find all those receipts from online purchases that you're supposed to keep track of? Slice organizes everything you've bought online from large merchants, such as Amazon and Apple, as well as daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. They take care of tasks like tracking packages and giving you all the info you need to facilitate a return.

Managing Large Files
You know when you have a really big photo or video file you want to send, but either your email client or theirs has a size limit and won't let it though? Services like whalemail will allow you to send them. And Yahoo Mail users have a program built right in that lets you send files up to 100 MB in size. You can find the Attach Large Files app in the Applications section underneath your folders. (If you don't see it listed, you can add it to your list by clicking the plus sign.)

Yahoo! Mail Shortcuts
If you're one of the nearly 300 million or so Yahoo Mail users, here are a few new keyboard shortcuts just for you:

Want to switch between preview mode and the complete list view? Easiest way is to just use hit the "V" key, and it instantly toggles your view.

Want to write a new message? Hit the n key; to reply, hit the r key.

And my personal favorite: Shift-K — it lets you take an email you have read and mark it as unread so you don't forget to go back and actually answer the person. You can also hit the Mark as Unread button if you are reading on a mobile device and want to remember to go back later to answer when you are on a computer. Another way to do this is to flag a message for follow up. In that case, hit the "L" button to mark it. Shift-L unflags it.

Enhanced Yahoo Mail Security
Maybe your password has been hacked in the past or maybe you just like to keep your email super safe. For you, Yahoo introduced a new feature that enables you to add a second sign-in verification. Once this feature is activated, any suspicious account sign-in attempt will be challenged by an additional query beyond the initial password validation. Learn more about it by clicking here.

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