According to a recent whitepaper compiled by Darya Gudkova and Nadezhda Demidova (PDF) from SecureList at Kaspersky, Spam traffic accounted for 68.6% of all email traffic from April through June. This is up 2.2 percentage points from the previous quarter. The report also shows that most SPAM is sourced from the US and sent out to other countries.
That’s embarrassing to admit… the US is culpable for spamming the world. <shudder>
So SPAM is definitely an issue. I wonder if anyone ever approximated the dollars being wasted by employee hours devoted to deleting spam? How many annual work hours are eroded because employees spend time deleting Viagra ads, refinancing mortgage emails, fake emails with URGENT & CONFIDENTIAL in the subject and ghoulish gimmicks to protect your computer from viruses?
I don’t know… I really don’t – but one thing I do know:
Spam sucks and today we’re going to kick its ass. Come with me.
I’m going to tell you something obvious but necessary:
Click the Unsubscribe button to unsubscribe from SPAM.
I know what you’re thinking: “Ohhh Vonnie you’re so smart. Thanks for that dude.” but I’m not being sarcastic. I’m not trying to be sardonic or condescending: I’m being serious.
If you just delete the message, it’ll ineluctably return and if you reply and vent with brash invective you might piss off the spammer and get an even deeper deluge of unwanted emails.
Let me delineate how to get out of all that spoiled spammy email…
Becoming a professional spam slayer
Trying to delete spam is like trying to kill zombies; the thing keeps freggin’ resurrecting itself.
So how do you unsubscribe from all that unwanted stuff floating into your inbox? Most people don’t bother sifting through unwanted emails to find that infinitesimal unsubscribe link buried in the bottom of the message.
The rationale is that it’s a heck of a lot easier to just keep deleting unwanted emails as they cascade into your inbox than it is to hunt for those elusive unsubscribe links.
I agree with you to some extent; however, there are a few additional things you can do to get your sanity back.
In Outlook 2013 you can press Ctrl + Del or click the gorgeous Ignore button to automatically send unwanted email threads to the deleted folder.
And what about Gmail? You can extricate yourself from bothersome emails by clicking the unsubscribe link in the Gmail message body.
In the screenshot below you can see that I’m unsubscribing from Baked By Melissa – but on a side note, I’ve got to tell you that if someone can please subscribe me to receiving unlimited cupcakes from Baked By Melissa I would be eternally grateful. They seriously make the best cupcakes on earth. Melissa’s cupcakes are light-years beyond Magnolia, Crumbs, Buttercup, and Sprinkles.
Dang, now I’m hungry…
Um… I digress.
You can learn more about how Gmail handles spam on the Google Spam and Suspicious emails page but for now, just know that clicking Unsubscribe in Gmail should do the trick for you.
Isn’t there a law against spammers?
Technically there are rules governing commercial email that businesses are required to abide by.
For example, businesses need to not only tell recipients how to opt out of their email list but must also honor those requests within 10 business days. Each email that violates the CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) is subject to penalties of up to $16,000.
And contrary to what some people say, the FTC does enforce this penalty. For example, In March of 2006, the FTC fined an internet marketer almost one million dollars ($900,000) for violating the CAN-SPAM act.
Here are a few other requirements of the CAN-SPAM act:
- Businesses are proscribed from using deceptive “From” and “Reply-To” sources
- Businesses are required to provide their US Postal address somewhere in the message.
- Businesses have to clearly tell you that the email is an Advertisement.
I encourage you to read the CAN-SPAM act compliance guide for business. It’s a 15 minute read that will almost certainly engender an emotional response from you.
Incidentally, the CAN-SPAM act also covers protection against unwanted text messages. If you previously agreed to receive texts, you’ll get them; however, if you want to kill those annoying text messengers, <cough> I mean messages, do this:
Forward the unwanted text message to 7726 (“SPAM”). This should enable providers to prevent future unwanted texts from that specific sender.
You can also call the FCC Consumer Center at 1-888-TELL-FCC or formally file an online complaint. Either way works.
Is there anything else I can do?
There are services out on the interwebs there that claim to clean up your inbox by unsubscribing you to entire lists with a single click. I haven’t use Unroll.me, but it looks like it could work for some people.
Unroll.me basically identifies subscription emails in your inbox, lists them up, and lets you unsubscribe with a click. You can also merge your valid emails into a wanted email list called a Rollup so you only get the good stuff delivered to your inbox.
The Bottom Line
Email marketers will inexorably find a way to get leads. But what baffles me is why do they think email spam is an effective way to do that?
I wonder what the statistics are on the percentage of spammed users who actually click through the spammed messages and order the unwanted services?
I don’t know – but in our battle against the unwanted tide of spam I’ve given you a few weapons to levy the email flood.
- CAN-SPAM is on your side
- Check out unroll.me
I hope this helps.
So now I want to hear from you. Talk to me:
Do you have any novel means of dealing with SPAM? Maybe there’s something you’ve been using that works really well? Share in the comments below – but please… don’t insert a link to your blog or something like that. After all I can’t condone SPAM on my site any more than I do in my inbox!
hehehe thanks buddy