December 12, 2002
We have always heard that there are two things certain in life: death and taxes.
I think we can now safely add e-mail spam to that list!
As a member of the World Wide Web for over 10 years, I cannot remember the last time I checked my e-mail when it has not been filled with some sort of spam, an affectionate term that refers to any unwanted e-mail.
Here is my acronym for spam:
We’ve all seen them. They are impossible to miss.
“You’re a winner”
“Try a natural Viagra”
“Make $5000 a week from home”
“Hey baby, I’m 17 and hot so see my pic”
These are just a few of the more popular subject lines for these e-mails known as spam. Unfortunately, there is really very little can do about the problem of spam.
As a member of America Online (AOL) since I have been online, I have become accustomed to the daily ritual of deleting the aboveforementioned e-mails. However, a couple of years ago, I discovered an e-mail address I could forward unwanted and unsolicited e-mails to as a member of AOL that has substantially slowed down the frequency of repeat spammers. That e-mail address is .
However, there needs to be a uniform e-mail address like this for people using other e-mail programs to report spam as well. With more and more people getting on the Internet, the problem with spam will only get worse and worse in the coming years. Unsuspecting people can and will be suckered by one or more of these relentless offers. It only takes a few Internet-ignorant people to keep the spammers happy. That is why spammers will thrive in the next decade!
Statistics recently released reveal that the average American will receive more than 2,200 e-mail SPAM messages in 2002. The same research study indicates that that number will jump to 3,600 by the year 2007. What is most disturbing is the fact that many members of the World Wide Web are not familiar with dirty spam tactics and/or computer viruses associated with e-mail attachments.
The “I Love You” virus nearly brought the Internet to a stand still a couple of years ago. There are certain unscrupulous individuals out there working on an even more damaging computer virus as we speak to unleash on the world very soon. Because the Internet does not come with any standards for conduct and guidelines, many people are not as cautious with it as they should be. This is a fact that spammers attempt to exploit!
Many spammers are hired by companies to get their message out to the public for literally nothing. Marketing gurus think this plan is brilliant and extremely cost-effective getting the products and services out to potential customers for their clients. And, to a certain degree, they are right. However, the incredible overabundance of e-mails sent every single day makes it harder and harder to discern who is honest and who is not.
Even with Internet Service Providers and e-mail services offering filters in an attempt to prevent spam, the spammers are coming up with easy ways to bypass the system. By simply misspelling a few words, spammers can send you an unwanted e-mail without detection. Also, sophisticated spammers are especially adept at sending an e-mail using your own e-mail address or by using a bogus, nonreturnable e-mail address. This is especially annoying to me! If you are going to send me an e-mail, at least give me the courtesy to be able to write you back with questions about your product or to request that my name be removed from the mailing list. Nope. Not gonna happen!
Spammers can be likened to people who send out mass mailings to your snail mailbox. We all get loads of junk mail everyday and usually about 99% of it ends up in the trash can. So, why should the Internet be any different?
Well, unlike traditional junk mail, spam has grown increasingly worse over the past few years. When the Internet first became popular about a decade ago, only about 8% of all Internet e-mail was spam. In 2002, nearly 40% of all e-mails are considered spam. That percentage is expected to climb over 50% in just a couple of years! Something must be done to get rid of spam now!
One of the problems with regulating spam is that e-mail is international. It is virtually impossible for any country to create laws to deal with this problem effectively. Internet industry leaders are attempting to work with government agencies around the world in an effort to do something about this growing problem. I would not expect anything to happen anytime soon.
Although e-mail spam is a pain to get, it is not illegal under current U.S. laws.