Return to my Complaint Department
Go to my home page
© Copyright 1999, Jim Loy
Spam is the popular name for junk email (unsolicited commercial email) on the Internet. I have this announcement on my home page:
No spam please
Spam is junk mail, on the Internet. I hereby promise to never deal with any business which sends me unsolicited email (or regular mail). See Fight Spam on the Internet! And, of course, I will never forward any chain letter of any kind.
Why did I bother with that. There are a number of facts about spam:
I do not see why spam exists. Do people actually send them money?
No one seems to know why it is called spam and spamming. Stumpers! (apparently a WWW page which I cannot find) suggests that it may have come from a Monty Python routine, in which everything on the menu contained Spam, while Vikings sang about Spam in the background, and then we saw Spam hitting a fan.
I guess that Hormel makes Spam, from a mixture of meats. They take a lot of flak for this, for some reason (as does Kraft for making Velveeta from a mixture of cheeses). Spam seems to be a very popular food. There have even been Spam conventions, with t-shirts commemorating them.
Now some spam email quotes a law which says that email is not spam if it gives you a way to be removed from the mailing list. I tried clicking the "remove" link on a couple of them, and my remove reply got nowhere ("undeliverable"). I suspect that there is no law defining spam or non-spam.
Apparently you can filter out spam, with some email programs. For example, you can filter out all mail that is not addressed to your specific email address. Supposedly you can make exceptions, if you want to receive some bulk mail, from some mailing lists that you approve of. I'm not sure how to do this with Netscape, my email program. Apparently, there are help messages to help me do this.
There is another reason that I have my spam announcement on my home page. There is a kind of page on the WWW which is called a spam black hole. This is a page with hundreds (or thousands) of made up email addresses (like firstname.lastname@example.org). Spammers who have programs for getting email addresses off the WWW will encounter such a page and get hundreds (or thousands) of nonexistent email addresses, and waste their time. Such black holes usually have an explanation at the top, so that us normal WWW searchers will figure out what such a page is for. Then we won't waste our time reading nonexistent email addresses. Well, spammers often ignore such pages by having their program ignore any page which says "spam" on it. So, my home page says "spam" so such programs will ignore it.
I just received some spam with this disclaimer: "This is a 1 time mailing. Your email was received as someone looking to make more income, if not Delete." I have received this 1 time mailing about 15 or 20 times.
I received some typical spam, today. Near the bottom, it said:
To be removed from our list, simply click "reply" and put the words
"Remove Debt Consolidation" in the subject line. Warning: If you
do not put the words "Remove Debt Consolidation" in the subject
line, you will not be removed. The process is automated.
Of course, I followed their instructions, and copied Remove Debt Consolidation to the subject line. And I got " Returned mail: User unknown," like usual. It does not matter what you put in the subject, when the user is unknown. I find that about 90% of "remove instructions" point to unknown email addresses. Some give phone numbers (800 numbers, and otherwise) to remove, which emphasizes that these are low-tech businesses.
Also see Attempting To Remove Spam. Here is an interesting idea for removing your email address from mailing lists: OptList.com registration. I hope it works.
I was keeping track of all the spam that I got, and occasionally trying to get my address removed. I was getting 10 to 20 spams a day. Now my email program filters out all mail not specifically addressed to me (my address is among the hidden addresses). That was fairly easy. And I am happier, and a little less busy than before. Now I can delete it without reading it, much as I do with regular junk mail.
Some of the Spam email that I get says something like "We do not send unsolicited email." And, of course, the email is entirely unsolicited. Liars. Same with, "This is not spam . . ." Liars.
Also see Internet ScamBusters: Stop Spam!.
What is this? I keep getting this email:
Have you seen the wonders of Orlando, Florida?
Imagine spending your next vacation in the most beautiful vacation destination this country has to offer.
Spend time with your kids in one or more of the numerous parks such as Disney World's Epcot Center,
Universal Studios Florida, Sea World, and many more. You will have the vacation of a lifetime.
Plus, we'll even tell you about other options such as Pasco County, FL, known as a part of the "Nature Coast",
and Atlanta Georgia, the jewel of the south, with its fabulous shopping and sightseeing. This is something that
you shouldn't miss out on.
Just fill in the information below, and we will have a representative contact you shortly, with options for you
to choose from. If you don't like what you are hearing, then you always have the option to turn it down.
But don't deprive yourself of at least hearing about the wonderful opportunities you may have in seeing a
world that you just dream about.
Must be US resident, and 18-years-old. Please respond back with your name and phone number.
To be removed please click reply and type remove in the subject box.
Looks very amateurish for an ad. There is of course no information below, for me to fill out. My guess is that they just are collecting replies for some reason. Or maybe a virus is sending this stuff out, except that I don't see it listed in the virus pages.
Here is a typical message saying that the email is not spam, and that I have opted in to their email list. Of course, I did not opt in, and these people are spammers:
Opt-Out Instructions: We are strongly against sending unsolicited emails to those who do not wish to receive our special mailings. You have opted in to one or more of our affiliate sites requesting to be notified of any special offers we may run from time to time. We also have attained the services of an independent 3rd party to overlook list management and removal services. This is NOT unsolicited email. If you do not wish to receive further mailings, please visit the link below be removed from the list. Please accept our apologies if you have been sent this email in error. We honor all removal requests. Submit your remove request at: http://www.glblsoftware.com/mvsremove
If it is not solicited, then it is "unsolicited."
Return to my Complaint Department
Go to my home page