Why Spam?

Dear Computer Lady,

This may be a stupid question but I just don’t know what is the purpose of “spam”?  I get some in my Bulk folder and cannot understand what someone gains from sending such e-mails.  Do people click on and read or buy ??????????


Dear Jo,

Yes, financial gain is the purpose of spam. Enough people really do click on the links in those messages to make it profitable for the spammers.

The email messages that you and I call “spam” are really nothing more than email advertisements that the recipient did not ask for.

I get lots of advertisements in my email that I did ask for, I get messages from LLBean, HP, Dell, Nancy’s Notions, Fabric.com, and a few others. These are messages that I get because I signed up for them on the companies website, and I can remove my name from the subscription list at any time.

It’s those other messages that we all get, that none of us asked for that is objectionable. Those messages keep coming because there is little cost associated with sending them out, and it is easy to hide where they are coming from. 


What can you do to reduce the amount of spam that you recieve? Here are a few things.

1. Don’t buy anything from spammers. I make it a point to never purchase anything from emails that I didn’t ask for. A few times, they were things that I would have like to purchase, and it seemed like a good deal, but I refuse to encourage spamming, or to contribute to anyone profiting from it.

2. Don’t try to unsubscribe. Many spam emails, have unsubscribe directions in the message, but don’t be fooled, they are only a way to verify that a real person actually did read their message. Often times, clicking on an unsubscribe link, or filling out a form to unsubscribe, makes your email address even more valuable and you end up getting even more junk mail.

3. Use a disposable email address. There are many places online where you can sign up for a free email address. Create a free email address at one of these places, and then use it to sign up for online contests, leave your address on a website, or subscribe to newsletters. When you begin to get too much spam on the free account, just close it and create another free account.

4. Purchase software to filter out the spam. AVG has a spam filter in its Internet Security product, there are online services like Spam Arrest and if you want to get really serious about stopping spam, you can try a program like Spam Sleuth.



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