A junk mail folder is a virtual area for storing unwanted and often unsolicited electronic mail within an e-mail application or system. Programs within e-mail generally include customization options to move unwelcome messages to a junk mail folder automatically, but often this mail needs to be manually moved to the folder after reaching an in-box. When e-mail from an undesirable source comes through, typically there is a block list or spam filter for logging the sender’s e-mail address or extension, subject field, or content keywords and having like messages sent directly to the junk mail folder. Items in this folder can be deleted manually or can be set to a calendar for auto-deletion after a specified period of time, though it is generally advisable to review junk mail for messages that may have been filtered by the e-mail program in error.
Most e-mail programs include a junk mail folder within the standard mail folder directory. Some companies devote staff to creating marketing e-mails that can evade filters and get through to an in-box without being relegated to the junk folder. Circumventing the spam and junk filters can be a marketing specialty as well as a computer programming line of defense during development and debugging.
Many virtual pieces of mail make their way directly to the junk mail folder due to the nature of the content in the body of the e-mail itself. Settings within a program can filter all content containing profanities, sexually explicit language, and marketing euphemisms designed to escape the filter process. Subject lines containing the same types of material can be demoted from the in-box to a junk mail folder as well. Other filters can be set to bounce out e-mails received from locations or servers identified as spam creators or generators.
Although e-mail programs are typically sophisticated enough to manage the majority of unwanted mail sent to an in-box, occasionally they send wanted mail to a junk mail folder in the process. When deleting junk mail folder contents, it is commonly recommended that the user review addresses and subject lines to ensure that a non-spam piece of mail is not deleted. Generally, e-mail applications also have a pop-up prompt before deletion is complete to ask users again if they are certain about deleting the selected e-mails or the folder contents. If valid messages are found, they can be moved to the in-box and a second step can be taken to remove them from the settings identifying them as junk.