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[Norton AntiSpam] Help!

One of the keys to being an efficient business writer is having tools that work for you. I need help with one of my tools, and I am asking for your advice.

Here is the problem: When I get email from clients and others, my Norton anti-virus program often puts this phrase in brackets in front of the subject line: Norton AntiSpam. When I reply, my response is preceded by that useless notice, so my reply subject looks like this:

RE: [Norton AntiSpam] Writing Assessment

My goal is to communicate–not to advertise Norton, signal to readers that their message looked like spam, or make my own message seem less than professional. So to eliminate [Norton AntiSpam], I delete it from each reply. This step wastes my time.

This Norton thing can also lead to my looking foolish. Using my grammar and spelling checker, I once accidentally corrected it to read [Norton Antis Pam]. I don’t know whether my reader noticed that flawed subject, but I know how I felt when I saw it in my Sent Items.

If that is not enough, all messages that begin [Norton AntiSpam] get alphabetized by the bracket–[–not by the actual subject! This inefficiency slows me down even more.

Can you help me please with tips or guidance? If you know a good way to banish these pointless messages, please share it. Or if you have a suggestion on how to seamlessly delete them from all my replies, that would be lovely. Please comment.


Posted by Lynn Gaertner Johnson
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English. She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois.

2 comments on “[Norton AntiSpam] Help!”

  • Ah, the bane of our online communication: SPAM. You have several choices in dealing with this.
    1. Find, in your Norton software, the place where you specify what action it takes if an email is identified as possible spam. You may be able to change that setting to stop marking the incoming email.
    2. Add names of folks you receive emails from regularly to your address book. Sometimes the spam filter does not take action on an email if the sender is in the recipient’s address book.
    3. You can add domain names (the part after the @) to your whitelist, which will permit emails from there to pass untagged.
    4. Finally, you might loosen the grip of your spam filter by one level. This may let too much spam through – you’ll have to try it.

    Best of luck,

  • Thank you so much for this excellent, specific information. I look forward to applying it.

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