Thanks for the Spam

If I directed you to this page, then it’s because you recently sent Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE), or “spam,” to one of my e-mail addresses. You need take no action; I’ve already reported your activity to your mailing list provider, and they’ll deal with you according to their abuse policies.

You might wonder why I’m being such a prick about this, when I could just delete the damn email or use your convenient “unsubscribe” link. To be sure, I’ve done both of those things, too.

I rely on email for my daily business. It’s literally a major part of how I earn my living. Having your unsolicited clutter sailing in interrupts my work and life, and makes it that much more difficult for me to do my job. And it isn’t just you, of course – I get tons of spam just like yours. You aren’t the problem, per se, but you’re part of it.

I know, I know – sales and marketing are incredibly tough in today’s world. Thing is, I’m not even a candidate for whatever it is you were selling, or you wouldn’t be reading this right now. And just because your job of selling and marketing is difficult does not give you the right to shove yourself and your irrelevant (to me) message into my eyeballs.

Additionally, you broke the rules. Again, if you’re reading this, it’s because you sent spam through an e-mail provider that explicitly disallows it. You knew that, and you thought you could get away with it anyway. I hate that. It shows a lack of basic human courtesy.

You agreed not to send spam through that service, and you did it anyway – which means you lied, also. Why would I do business with someone whose first impression to me was lying? Would you do business with a known liar?

If the only way you can sell things is to resort to rule-breaking, lying, and scumball tactics… then maybe you shouldn’t be selling anything after all.

So that’s why your mailing service is probably going to be contacting you soon, and will hopefully be suspending your account. You can go find another one to lie to, of course, but hopefully this time you’ll take me off whatever list you bought or harvested.

For non-spammers who are reading this: I usually start with the “unsubscribe” link in spammers’ emails. Most reputable mail-sending services will force such a link into the message, and I use that to find the domain name of the service. Forwarding the email to abuse@ usually works, and I’ll usually copy support@ as well. Most services provide a pretty clear abuse-reporting procedure – just Google the domain name and “abuse” and you’ll usually find it quickly. I’m careful to copy-and-paste the original message’s headers into the forward, as that can be useful for the service in tracking down the offending customer. I always inquire about a global opt-out list, which many services do maintain, and ask to be added to it. Doing so blocks me from any customer who uses that service. Sure, I still get plenty of spam that comes through a private mailer or something, but reporting scumbags is satisfying, and it does gradually cut down on the spam I get.