Vital Information Center
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VIC takes a hard line against spam. We've tried all sorts of spam-blocking software, with varying degrees of success. All of them work by examining your mail and trying to determine which of the many messages you get are unwanted, then moving or deleting them.
This traditional technique is "leaky" and unreliable. Not only does a good bit of spam make it through, but messages from trusted sources get blocked. For example, I've seen an over-zealous spam-blocker remove an email from a respected customer because it contained the word "Essex"... it blindly keyed on "sex".
VIC works differently. Instead of trying to block what you don't want, it picks out what you do want. Basically, your default Lotus Notes inbox becomes a spam-trap, and since you're using VIC's mailbox, you don't have to wade through the spam to get down to business!
VIC does this by checking the return address of any email that's sent to you. If it matches an entry in VIC's Index, then the mail is imported into VIC, It's filed under the appropriate person and is removed from your Lotus Notes Inbox. All mail from trusted sources get through to you, guaranteed.
There's a downside, of course. This method blocks all unsolicited mail. Periodically you have sift through the spam to find good messages. But you have to do that with all spam-traps anyway. So instead of actually throwing out the spam, VIC simply keeps it in a folder where it stays for awhile so you've got a chance to review it. The VIC method has the advantage of guaranteeing that your VIC Journal won't be polluted with wayward spam. And as you build your contact list in VIC you'll find fewer and fewer instances of "good" messages that are blocked.
VIC provides a feature that helps the good messages get through. A Person record contains not only the primary email address for that person, but can contain a number of alternate addresses. Mail you send will go to the primary address, but mail received from any of the addresses will be related to the appropriate contact.
Some bulk mail isn't spam, but you still don't want it mingling with correspondence. Here's a trick that I use for newsletters. Rather than file them separately under each company, I've created an "Organization" called "Newsletters" and a "Person" under that Organization for each newsletter I receive. this way I know that any unread mark appearing elsewhere denotes important correspondence, and the Newsletters can be read when I get around to it.
Finally, VIC provides a method of bypassing its own spam-blocker. In your user profile you can set a pass phrase which, if it appears in the subject line of an email, will cause the email to be imported, even if the sender doesn't appear in your Index. That way, people who are "in the know" can get preferential attention, rather than having to wait until you cull mail from your spam-trap. If you prefer to rely on an external spam-blocker, you can instruct VIC to import all mail unconditionally.