E-mail spam, also known as junk e-mail, is a subset of spam that involves nearly identical messages sent to numerous recipients by e-mail.
A common synonym for spam is unsolicited bulk e-mail (UBE). Definitions of spam usually include the aspects that email is unsolicited and sent in bulk.
Suspicious or potentially dangerous electronic mail may include:
- spam (unsolicited commercial email or junk mail)
- unsolicited mail containing viruses
- mail where sender is unknown and subject line is enticing and/or personal (eg urging the receiver to open immediately)
- particular file extensions
E-mail spam has steadily, even exponentially grown since the early 1990s to several billion messages a day. Spam has frustrated, confused, and annoyed e-mail users. The total volume of spam (over 100 billion emails per day as of April 2008) has leveled off slightly in recent years, and is no longer growing exponentially. The amount received by most e-mail users has decreased, mostly because of better filtering. About 80% of all spam is sent by fewer than 200 spammers.
Spammers collect e-mail addresses from chatrooms, websites, customer lists, newsgroups, and viruses which harvest users’ address books, and are sold to other spammers. Much of spam is sent to invalid e-mail addresses.
“Pills, porn and poker” are some of the common products advertised in spam. Others include replica watches.
In order to send spam, spammers need to obtain the e-mail addresses of the intended recipients. To this end, both spammers themselves and list merchants gather huge lists of potential e-mail addresses. Since spam is, by definition, unsolicited, this address harvesting is done without the consent (and sometimes against the expressed will) of the address owners. As a consequence, spammers’ address lists are inaccurate. A single spam run may target tens of millions of possible addresses — many of which are invalid and therefore undeliverable.
Sometimes, if the sent spam is “bounced” or sent back to the sender by various programs that eliminate spam, or if the recipient clicks on an unsubscribe link, that may cause that email address to be marked as “valid”, which is interpreted by the spammer as “send me more”.
Nowadays spam isn’t limited to unsolicicted bulk email. It’s also done in blog comments, forum threads, guestbooks, social bookmarking sites… if you annoy someone, they’ll tell you you’re spamming. And they’ll probably be right.
Spamming is NOT a good way to promote your website.
Spam is a desperate act by a person who is impatient in achieving their traffic goals. And it’s ineffective. And it’ll get you banned and give you a bad reputation.
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