Dr. Ioannidis of AT&T Labs suggests adopting something he calls “single-purpose addresses” rather than continuing to refine software filters that try to sort the good from the bad.
Such addresses would not replace permanent e-mail addresses, which, under Dr. Ioannidis’s plan, users would continue to give to those they trust and need to maintain contact with, like relatives or employers.
Instead, single-purpose addresses would be used when the senders have no continuing relationship with the other parties and fear that their e-mail addresses might be sold or given to spammers. Online purchasing or newsgroup postings are obvious examples.
Sounds good in theory, but I don’t know how well it would it practice. In my case, a few filters have helped cut spam by 90%. The first-level solution via filters is simple enough, but few of us actually bother to even do that!