SPAM – What is it and why does it occur?

Spam is simply slang for unsolicited commercial email (UCE). The term ‘Spam’ actually arose from a Monty Python sketch where Spam is included in every dish at a restaurant, much like email spam is included in almost every email inbox or junk folder. Spam can come in a variety of forms but it is often linked with fraudulent business schemes, chain letters and offensive messages.

It is important to remember that not all bulk emailing is spam, a large amount is actually permission based. This means that you willingly gave your email address to the company i.e. you signed up for the newsletter or you made a purchase online and entered your email address. The main difference between permission based bulk emailing and spam is that permission based will normally send information that you are interested i.e. a sale at your favourite clothing store or similar.

Spam is rarely sent by a company themselves, rather it is sent by a ‘spammer’. A ‘spammer’ is a company that is actually in the business of sending UCEs. The company may havean agreement with the ‘spammer’ or the spammer may be using the company’s name as a disguise. These companies and ‘spammers’ use spam as they see it as very cost effective – it is much cheaper to send out thousands of emails then post thousands of letters.

Spammers can acquire your email address by purchasing it or by using software that take names and email addresses from websites, newsgroups etc. Unfortunately there is not a way that you can permanently get rid of spam, however you can do a few things to reduce the amount you receive. Using a spam blocker can certianly reduce the amount of spam you receive, however some spam will still reach your inbox. If you make your spam blocker to sensitive, it will start to block emails that you actually do want to receive. It is a good idea to occasionally check your spam folder in case there are any important emails in there. It is also advised that you do not open or reply to spam emails, or try to click the unsubscribe link. For spam emails, these actions will just advise the spammer that your email account is still active and it is likely that this will result in more spam.

If you are concerned about the amount of spam you are receiving, please do not hesitate to contact us.