I do. Really. It annoys me to get unsolicited commercial email, largely because those sending it know perfectly well that most people do not want to receive it! They go to great lengths to get the email addresses of people (like myself) who would never, ever sign up on for their mailing lists. They also send out email to addresses that might or might not be valid at well-known domains (using lists of common names and words), creating an unnecessary load on the receiving domains' incoming mail servers. They either refuse to remove addresses from their lists when requested, say they've removed them but don't, or remove the name from their list but leave it on lists they then sell to other spammers. They go to great lengths to obscure the actual origin of their messages because they know that many recipients will complain.

This is quite unlike those who send most of the junk mail I receive at my physical address, who will stop sending it if requested to do so—but then, it costs them money to send out each piece of junk mail. It costs so little to send out bulk email that the senders don't really care how many people don't want it. I've never received a piece of sexually explicit junk mail, much less had one arrive addressed to one of the kids in our household. Spammers happily send pornographic spam out to children every day. In short, I think spammers are scum who heartily deserve to be permanently removed from the internet and denied access to all the wonderful resources it offers.

Yes, that was a rant.

My strong feelings on this subject led to being stalked by one spammer. I still hold those feelings and will continue to fight unsolicited commercial email and inappropriate commercial posts in usenet despite that harassment. His behavior is not, fortunately, typical of spammers, but other people have been harassed in various ways by spammers looking for revenge. One of this creep's tricks has been to reply to spam he receives using my email address, so that I'll receive mail from that spammer in the future (I found out when some of his messages bounced back to me). If someone starts doing that to you as well, you'll have a much harder time getting rid of the spam--but don't give up!

This page had grown unreasonably long, so I've split it up.

Last updated October 25, 2001

About the Author

Cynthia Armistead is a freelance technical writer, quality assurance analyst, and Internet security advocate with a broad spectrum of experience.

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