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Introduction to mailing lists

An Internet mailing list is comprised of e-mail addresses of people who receive messages about a topic of interest. Mailing lists may take the form of regular updates on a specific product, special news or announcements, or correspondence between members of an online forum or group. Signing up for a mailing list almost always involves a voluntary subscription process initiated by the recipient, but some subscriptions are involuntary, such as spam lists.

There are many mailing list topics to fit all tastes and interests. Although you can search for and subscribe to any number of lists, the volume of e-mail may exceed your available resources. Be sure to keep the confirmation message you receive when you subscribe to a mailing list, as this message often contains information on how to be removed from the list.

Unwanted e-mail advertisements are called "spam." Spam is similar to junk mail sent through the postal service, except that e-mail spam is more numerous because it is free to the sender. If you receive a message you suspect is unsolicited, simply delete the message. Responding to the e-mail allows the sender to know that your address is valid, which may lead to more spam. Many e-mail programs and Web-based e-mail accounts offer features to help you block out unwanted messages. If spam is a consistent problem, your Internet Service Provider may be able to block unsolicited e-mail before it reaches your computer.

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