What is Spam?
Spam, or "unsolicited
commercial email" is defined as the flooding of a non-personalized, repeated
message to people on the internet who did not choose to receive it. Spam is
often classified into two groups: Usenet Spam, and Email
A single identical message
that is repeated on 20 or more newsgroups is considered Usenet Spam.
This type of spam is harmful because it floods newsgroups with useless,
unsolicited and often irrelevant information thereby rendering the newsgroups
less useful for their intended purposes. As the quantity of useless messages
increases, the informative capabilities of a newsgroup diminishes, and users
with acutal valid information to share are either scared off or lost in the
ocean of spam.
We focus here on the latter
form of spam, namely: Email Spam. This form targets internet
users directly by sending the same, unsolicited email message to large numbers
(often in the millions) of email addresses. These messages usually contain advertising
for dubious products and services such as "get rich quick" schemes,
shady legal services, adult-content websites, "college degrees", "miracle"
remedies, and countless others. There are also some extreme cases of Email Spam
that contain racial, religious, or sexually inappropriate messages. These are
more serious spam offences that often originate from people who may be genuinely
disturbed. This type of spam should be approached with extreme caution, and
should NEVER be responded to.