I Hate Email Spam the Most!
Unsolicited bulk email, spam or just junk are the terms that commonly refer to the loads of unwanted email we all get in our email boxes. It sucks! Once upon a time email was useful, now it is one of the most aggravating aspects of online communication. It seems not everyone shares my opinion according to James Veitch who enjoys replying to spammers. Here’s James in a Ted Talk that my spam despising soul thoroughly enjoyed…
Thank you James!
For e-marketers it is often a catch 22. Because spam is so out of control, email recipients that actually want your email have to jump through hoops to get it. It can be incredibly frustrating.
In this article I will help you discover ways to combat internet spam, but first some stats on email spam.
What countries are the biggest Spammers (2009)?
- USA 13.1%
- India 7.3%
- Brazil 6.8% 4.
- S Korea 4.8%
- Vietnam 3.4%
- Germany 3.2%
Now let’s compare 2009 to Current day Feb 2017
Many people seem to think China is at the top of the food chain for spamming. As you can see this is not the case. The USA is (hands down) the worst offending spam relaying country even after 8 years Uncle Sam loves that spam.
How much Email Spam is Sent?
According to Cnet, 90.4% of all email sent in 2009 were spam. Based on my own experience I would totally support that number. It should also be noted that 2009 was the highest level of email spam relaying in history (so far). In 2011 email spam has dropped to 72.9% based on Symantec’s analysis. Although the percentage is less, the overall count is more because there are so many more emails being sent.
Why are you Spamming Me?
The goals of spammers are to get your attention. In that regard, spam works. Once you get a spam email you may be in for a surprise. There are often underlying objectives in spam emails that may not be evident when you open them:
- Email may contain a virus– Once you execute it (usually by opening an attachment) your address book gets spammed as well. In 2000 a virus known as “I love you” did exactly that. At this point in time viruses and spam were in their infancy so millions of people fell for it.
- Industry targeting– In the past you may have seen the Viagra emails in your email box. For years Viagra was almost synonymous with spam. In 2011 the automotive industry was the most targeted industry by spammers. A whopping 76.5% of all email spam was aimed at this industry.
- Phishing– Emails are sent out to users posing as a reputable institution. They are designed to obtain information like your online banking user name and password. Some of the companies that were caught up in email phishing included PayPal, Citi-bank, Royal Bank, Visa.
The cold hard truth is—spam works! That’s why there were over 260 billion (and growing) daily spam emails sent out every day in 2010.
What Types of Spam are there?
- Search Engine Spam– Also known as spam indexing, it is when web pages are over optimized often with excessive keywords and/or spun text pages that humans have trouble reading—designed to attract search engines.
- Spam in Social Networks– From excessive message posting or account hacking on Twitter to Facebook porn spam, social networks are constantly guarding their servers from spam attacks.
- Fax Machine Spam– Unwanted fax broadcasts arrive on your fax machine on a regular basis.
- Blog Comment Spam– Comments are left that are difficult to read or praising your “Great blog” with no relevance to the topic.
- Email Spam– Junk email arrives in your email inbox that you did not invite.
- Instant Messaging– Unknown people are always asking you to allow them in or sending you viruses.
- Forum Spam– Repetitive messages are left on forums by spam bots advertising other products.
- Telephone Spam– When voice over IP is used to call targeted phone numbers and speak to a person or leave a recorded message
Most of the popular types of spam are covered above but it is noteworthy to understand many spammers collaborate in large groups to share secrets and trade unsubscribed data bases. New methods of spam will continue to surface. Companies like Google are constantly developing spam filters and looking at new ideas to combat this irritating nuisance on the internet.
How to Protect Yourself from Spam
Given the fact there are so many types of spam your first line of defense is having the knowledge of spam. Here are a few ways for you to fend off spammers:
Never display your email address to the public. Spam bots are programmed to find email addresses on the internet and add them to a spam email list. Instead, use a contact-us form with buttons or a pull-down menu which directs the user’s inquiry to the correct email address. The email addresses do not display to the public or spam bots but each email reaches its intended recipient through hidden server scripts. Never display full email addresses on your website! EVER!!
You can also use a Captcha Code to prevent form spam attacks but it is not necessary with some cool spam honeypot programming. Without Captcha code you may receive a blast of email messages through your website forms from a spam bot. Make sure your forms are secure, insecure form coding can lead to a server breach.
When creating email addresses make them unique and difficult to guess. Many email spammers will make assumptions and email you anyways. Common Email spammer assumptions include admin@, sales@ or support@. They also employ word lists that contain first names. Creating an email address without your first name is recommended, especially if it’s a common first name. Instead try your first name initial in front of your last name—e.g. my name is Rob Kennedy= rkennedy@
Use spam filtering systems like spam assassin if you have your email configured on a website server. If you are using ISPs such as Rogers or Bell they also use spam detection to help you.
If you want to do something about it you can report email spammers to the spam cops but it will not win the battle. Whatever you do, do not unsubscribe because many of these spammers are organized and pass unsubscribe lists around. When you unsubscribe to spam emails you are telling the spammer you exist and that’s good enough for these dirty dogs.
Email spam is the most irritating reality of being on line to many that depend on it. I hate it!! It’s why I choose to make it part of my own “I hate” series. There is no way to stop email spam just manage it. If you go overboard with your spam prevention strategy you may also sacrifice real emails that you wanted to read. For all of us it is a balancing acts. I hope some of these tips help you minimize the email spam rudely delivered to your inbox every day. For now I leave you with an incredible perspective and approach to email spam…