GmailGmail has a new “block sender” command that’s much better than their “report spam” button. We’ve labeled hundreds of items as spam, only to see them come back the next day. We’ve tried using filters as well, but sometimes they filter out too much and you miss things you would have liked to see.

To use “block sender,” click the “more” button next to a message’s “reply” arrow; it’s in the upper right corner of the message. Choose “block sender” from the list that drops down and from then on, messages from that sender will be blocked. (We didn’t see this option on our Android phone at press time, but it should be there quite soon.)

Another good blocking idea is to create a free email account at Yahoo, AOL, Apple, or some other service you’re not using. Then when a merchant asks for your email address and you’re pretty sure they’re going to bombard you with ads, give them that one; it’s sort of like creating a dead letter office. Why would you not just dump them out forever? Because it could be a merchant or service that you might be interested in later. Joy uses AOL for that purpose and checks it every few weeks. By then it has a couple hundred mostly worthless messages. She marks them all for deletion, which you can do with one click, and then unchecks the delete boxes next to the few she might want to look at.

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