To Spam or Not To Spam

“Report Spam & Unsubscribe”

Gmail, notably, offers this feature. I squirm a little every time I see it. If an email is spam, meaning the sender is a criminal, “unsubscribing” means hitting the criminals servers with a request. Why would a criminal honor that request? In fact, wouldn’t a criminal note this request as “ah ha! confirmation this is a real person!”

At my CodePen email address I get a lot of this kind of thing too:

I consider Isaac here kind of a spammer lite. It’s not illegal to find someone’s email who you think might be a good business lead and email them, so it’s not full-blown spam. I make my emails public, so this is to be expected to some degree. But I’m quite sure Isaac didn’t discover my email from some normal internet wanderings. I’d bet it was purchased from some “qualified leads” list of sorts.

It’s all the same garbage:

I don’t want to click that unsubscribe button or email back telling them I don’t want to hear anymore, because of that same squirm. I just assume it’s going to trigger the “this is a live fish!” trigger and I’ll be escalated in importance in some Salesforce machine.

2 responses to “To Spam or Not To Spam”

  1. Personally, I mark them as spam and don’t bother with unsubscribing. Because you are right, they may not be respecting that request. However, they are unsolicited emails (i.e., spam).

  2. For whatever it’s worth, I think there’s a difference between spam and scams. Scams (such as phishing) are criminal behavior. But “spam” just refers to anything unsolicited, I think. So I don’t think is necessarily wrong to mark those things as spam. It might be a little harsh though, if the senders are just trying to find sales leads. 😅

    I think Gmail used to have some kind of “Report phishing” action, which would make the spam/scam distinction more clear.

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