What is spam?

For as long as there has been mass communication there has been unsolicited commercial content. The word commercial is an important distinction when it comes to spam – many emails you receive may be unsolicited, in that you didn’t ask for them, but if they aren’t trying to get you to part with your hard-earned money they probably don’t count as spam. It’s when they come with that angle that they become spam.

How spam got its name is often debated – but it is fairly widely accepted that it is probably so-called because, like the unpopular pink meat product, it is rarely asked for, nor wanted: Monty Python knew how unpopular spam was back in the 1960s.

Depending on your email, you may receive large amounts of spam emails each day. These may be unsolicited offers of products or services, promotions for prescription drugs, or dubious-sounding messages about lost relatives who have left you a fortune.

Why is so much spam so obviously a con? Does anyone really fall for it?

When you receive a spam email with a badly written subject, or a laughably ridiculous claim about why you are owed some large sum of money, you may wonder why these emails are being sent at all. After all, they are obviously spam, why would anyone fall for them? The reason they are so bad is because they are meant to be. If you can easily spot that an email is spam, then you are not its target market.

Spam is sent out in incredibly large quantities, aiming for just the 1% of people who will click their links. Spammers don’t want you to respond to their email if you aren’t going to fall for their scam. These emails are made deliberately bad so only the most gullible or unaware of people will go along with them. They don’t want to waste their own time replying to people who then might work out something isn’t right before handing over their bank details.

Microsoft have published an extensive research paper on this topic, going into much more detail and depth, that you can read here.

Is spam really hurting anyone?

If spam is so obvious, and most people won’t open these emails, then you may wonder what the harm is. Other than being illegal, and their offerings being at best bad quality, what does it really matter if only a small percentage of people open them? The truth is, spam hurts us all.

Other than the wasted time spent blocking, reporting and deleting the emails, spam wastes resources: the more bandwidth that is taken up with spam, the more bandwidth is needed, and the higher prices go. Spam also hurts legitimate marketers – we are less likely to read genuine, and wanted, emails if we are overwhelmed with spam.

How can I stop the spam?

Fortunately, you are powerful in the fight against spam.

The first thing you should do with spam is do not respond. Do not click links or reply to unsubscribe. All this will do is tell the spammer that you have an active email account. Try not to even open the email. Report it: almost all email providers give the option to report spam without opening the messages. There are other good practices for reducing spam, including not publishing your email address online, using disposable email addresses or a service like spamarrest.

Or you can enable email protection right in your Crazy Domains control panel, and protect yourself instantly from spam and viruses. Email protection eliminates 99% of all your incoming spam and viruses, and better yet, it comes with a 30-Day free trial.

You can win your battle against spam, and take back your email.