Interacting with Spam Emails

Unbelievable, and you wonder why is spam on the verge of destroying email as the once so powerful communication medium. What I don’t like about survey’s like these is that they barely report their findings without providing further clues on the big picture and actually assess the findings in the way they should. The ultimate question thefore always is – So What?! Interacting with spam in any way, be it clicking on a link inside the email, loading the bugged with remote images emails, and the most moronic of them all – unsubcribing from the spammer’s URL will only result in verifying that your email is active. What follows is a syndication of this email by different spammers and a flood of advertisements in languages you’ll probably never speak :

Bombarded by spam, e-mail users are eager for tools like a “report fraud” button that would help weed out unwanted messages that litter inboxes, according to a survey by the Email Sender and Provider Coalition released on Tuesday. More than 80 percent of e-mailers already use tools such as “report spam” and the “unsubscribe” button to manage their in-boxes, the survey found. The survey, which was also conducted by marketing research firm Ispos, polled 2,252 Internet users who access e-mail through service providers such as AOL, MSN/Hotmail, Yahoo! and Gmail.

Having a report spam button means the technological measures in place to prevent the spam from reaching a mailbox have failed, a very bad sign by itself. Before asking for a report spam button understand how spammers obtain your email at the first place and try to prevent it. Standardizing the “report spam” button on multi-vendor level would never happen. That’s mainly because vendors actually compete on spam detection results, just like they should do with the idea that competition not only keeps them in a good business shape, but has the potential to best serve the customer.

There’s also the mean wisdom of crowds to keep in mind. Remember when Hotmail was blocking Gmail invites? Was it an undercover corporate policy, or Hotmail fans were clicking the report spam button on received Gmail invites to make sure Hotmail subscribers never get the chance to receive them? Empowering the massess in a Web 2.0 windom of crowds style is tricky, as the way competitors click on each other’s AdSense ads during lunch breaks, the very same way they’d subscribe to a competitor’s email notifications and have them reported as spam. Contribute to Project Honeypot if your infrastructure allows you to and see them crawling. Cartoon courtesy of Bill Holbrook.

Author: Dancho Danchev

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