SPAM … Phenomenon or a way of life?

On 12 Jul., 2010

You all probably read the last research published regarding the amounts of SPAM out there, it was on all the blogs, I just had the urge to say something about it :-D

SPAM … Phenomenon or a way of life?

You all probably read the last research published regarding the amounts of SPAM out there, it was on all the blogs, I just had the urge to say something about it

Does anyone remember Monty Python? British series that broke out in our minds crazy late 60’s early 70’s (I wasn’t even born but let me speak for my parents for a min, ), the 45 episodes series produced an entire revolution (films such as “And Now For Something Completely Different (1971)”, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)”, Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)”, “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983”), books, albums and performances …) it became a phenomenon that spawned  many “byproducts” I guess that most people do not know but one of those “byproducts” reached some of us… we all know it as SPAM.

 

The original definition for SPAM describes raw food made entirely from pig, it sold millions around the world (who doesn’t love it? I attached a picture) the United States even produced an event called “Spam Jam” and “Spamarama” which included many social activities and preparation of nutritious and healthy recipes based on those “pieces of meat ” what brought it to our attention and made it the thing most of us hate was the Spam song Monty Python’s played, a repeating/bothering Viking chorus ” SPAM, SPAM, SPAM ” SPAM … lovely SPAM, wonderful SPAM “- remember?

It was the first mail sent that had fallen under the definition of “commercial email sent without the consumer’s request” and it apparently happened in 1978, although the concept has not been customary back then, already in 1980 the concept received a new meaning, aggressive and abusive users that were involved in the forums used to write the “SPAM” word,  and doing so repeatedly, they blasted the forums dozens of times in order to make the text of users go down (I remember myself being very involved in the IRC chats and this thing bothered me, those thousands of messages to the forum or chat’s lobby made it impossible to communicate with anyone in the forum I think it was AOL that had noticed this at first,  this behavior trashed and flooded every forum you can imagine (this is one of the reasons we call it flooding and Trashing), SPAM = a very large amount of text being sent by users, a new definition no doubt. This new phenomenon began gaining momentum and in 1994 it was the first time we saw the first commercial mail fallen under the definition of SPAM.

With less than 20 years the phenomenon has gained momentum and today we use the term almost everywhere, whether it’s in our mail boxes at home, various forums, instant messages, search results in search engines, a phenomenon that affected Many companies and took a lot of “space”, it is such an influential and disturbing phenomenon that I personally wonder what have we done so far in order to reduce it?

I can tell you that I have tried almost everything, I can’t seem to get rid of it, so in time I tried looking at the positive side of it all and started analyzing the SPAM campaigns and emails I am getting, to see what other people write in their copy, what kind of images they use, I have learned a great deal about how to stand out using an analysis of SPAM, you ask yourself why? Well…the answer is simple, imagine how hard it is today to reach the users inbox, spammers invent ways of doing so every day, it can be sexy subject line, url links going back and forth in facebook and other social soundings and on the other side there are ISP’s and mail providers , security firms and technological barriers such as mail filters that are supposed to reduce the quantity…still…some get in…

Did you know that for the last 3 years the amount of SPAM being sent is larger than the non-SPAM emails? SPAM takes a shocking 83% of the entire emails sent in total! God! In a few years it will be very hard to differentiate between SPAM mails and our friend’s emails.

Did you know that it costs us tens of billions of dollars every year!?

Makes me think, hesitate, try to understand what the hell is going on, more shocking is the fact that it seems it doesn’t bother us anymore…we just except it. We do not treat the problem, we let it happen under our noses, ferment, mature and develop into a monster with no boundaries…. Although there is enforcement activities performed around the world and no matter how many lawsuits were filed this year I am sure you would agree that we all live in one big dumpster! (Pardon my French) I’ve read this week about a very interesting study that describes the phenomenon, most of the research describes the American population as one of the biggest contributors, the reports show a significant increase in the amount of SPAM and SPAM emails in particular, after reading through the data I found are several troubling questions that one of it was – did we really learned to accept it? A few numbers folks:

37% of users claim that the amount of mail marked as spam increased compared with 28% who said it a couple of years ago and 24% three years ago, 18% say that spam is a big problem as opposed to 25% who said so in 2003

51% say that spam is not such a problem, compared with 57% in 2003, those who hold two mail accounts (personal + work) argue that this phenomenon is more difficult when using a single email account in the study I found that it seems that there is a change in the way which we deal with the problem, it seems that we became more sophisticated and more efficient dealing (maybe this is one of the reasons for not caring…we just deal with it, usually add mail rules and press on the “delete” key) with it…not very surprising that spam is very popular in the adult & pharmaceuticals industries… Study respondents also claimed that the adult & pharmaceuticals spam are the most invasive and disturbing – 3 times as much!

52% say they receive emails related to pornography and sex, compared with 63% two years ago and 71% 3 years ago, women (46%) men (58%) say they receive pornographic spam emails.

almost Two-thirds (68%) say they rarely open spam. 27% claimed that they sometimes open spam and 5% said they do so often (I am one of them)

At first glance, the data indicate a worrying picture, at a second glance I must say the picture is even more alarming … Although it can be interpreted either way. some would say that technology has improved and some would say that we have become indifferent to it, this is a game of cat and mouse or a cop and robber… still the phenomenon remains a phenomenon and I only expect it to grow.

I think that spam has become one of the most fascinating discussions of the 21’th century, it has a huge significance on the online world we reside in, trying to digest so much information and a big chunk of it is SPAM, a very big time spender no doubt about it, from big portals ,search engines and social networks (god knows how many events , urls and boring facebook gifts I get a day)  to our personal mail boxes, it’s a magical world in my opinion … really … Full of great wisdom and mysterious black-orientation and I must admit and confess – I open almost all the spam mails I get. you can learn a lot about aggressive marketing methods (not that I recommend using those, God forbid) but you can certainly understand what competitors do , different kinds of  marketing messages , SPAM is a marketing medium (not the most legitimate one but it still is, otherwise people wouldn’t use it that often , I guess it works ahh…), you will find SPAM on forums , search engines , social networks and hundreds of websites, you will get it on your cell phone and to your mail box back home  - do you really think that this phenomenon would go away??  Probably not. Did we really get used to it? Despite it all … I personally did get used it.

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