The Contemporary Hysteria of SPAM


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Spam is one of those internet nuisances no one should have to put up with!

But in many cases, the furious and avid anti-spam campaigner, while attempting to rid the internet of this nuisance, causes some very real and equally serious side effects. In fact, we should not have to put up with that either!

Under the current climate of aggression towards the sending of SPAM emails, is it any wonder that hysteria is beginning to set in?

Don't get me wrong, I am not condoning spam. I hate it with a passion. I am always very careful to ensure that the people on my mailing lists have chosen to be there. Verification is of the utmost importance when building my lists. As are clear instructions to unsubscribe should anyone wish to be removed.

Adopting a double optin policy should be of primary importance to every online marketer and webmaster.

But is this enough?

The answer, it seems, is a resounding NO!

In my own experience, people often forget that they have opted in. This can cause problems that really only reason can solve.

But most of the time, I have to say, reason does not even get a look in. Take the case of a good and trusted friend of mine.

He almost lost his entire downline (which he had worked VERY hard to build) after he had paid for an ezine ad.

One subscriber (who had clearly forgotten he had subscribed to this particular ezine) got very hot under the collar and alerted some self-righteous vigilante anti-spam “service" (and the company with whom my friend had built his downline) and they were indeed ready to have him kicked off the internet! It was only because he was prepared to jump through hoops to clear his name that the matter was resolved, but it was a close call.

And only recently I had a sharp email from someone accusing me of spamming. I had sent a message to the safelist I had paid to join and he was obviously on the list or he would not have received the message.

In his email to me he said that he had never joined the list, and that my message was “Spam, pure and simple, " and that he had filed a report with the FTC.

My first reaction was to fire off a reply in my own defence, which he never had the courtesy to answer, and in fact I have not heard from him again. So perhaps it has all blown over.

But why do people get so hysterical about a few emails arriving uninvited into their inboxes when they scarsely bat an eyelid at the daily influx of junk mail coming through their letter boxes?

There may be occasions, of course, when you feel something simply has to be done. That's okay, but why not try the reasoned and measured approach BEFORE you blast your complaint off to SpamCop. For example:

* if you've received a message via a safelist, ezine etc, for goodness sake check to make 100% certain that you are NOT a subscriber to this list and if you cannot confirm this yourself, take it up with the OWNER of the list

* if the message has come directly from an individual, reply to them and ask them how they came about your email address. This is to ascertain whether they are bona-fide or not. If the reply to them bounces, then you can be almost certain they are spamming you and you can take the matter further

I myself receive thousands of unsolicited emails every month. Most of the time I just grit my teeth, click the delete button and commit the offenders to the trash can. In my view that seems to be the best solution for the time being. At least until someone somewhere can come up with a more “grown-up" approach to dealing with the whole sorry business.

Copyright 2005 Robert Evans

Robert Evans has been doing business online since 2000. He runs a resource center offering free and low cost marketing products and services:


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