Mike, a user, states that he is receiving several unwanted emails about home loans.
Which of the following is this an example of?
Spam is most often considered to be electronic junk mail or junk newsgroup postings. Some people define
spam even more generally as any unsolicited email. However, if a long-lost brother finds your email address
and sends you a message, this could hardly be called spam, even though it is unsolicited. Real spam is
generally email advertising for some product sent to a mailing list or newsgroup.
In addition to wasting people’s time with unwanted e-mail, spam also eats up a lot of network bandwidth.
Consequently, there are many organizations, as well as individuals, who have taken it upon themselves to fight
spam with a variety of techniques. But because the Internet is public, there is really little that can be done to
prevent spam, just as it is impossible to prevent junk mail. However, some online services have instituted
policies to prevent spammers from spamming their subscribers.
There is some debate about why it is called spam, but the generally accepted version is that it comes from the
Monty Python song, “Spam spam spam spam, spam spam spam spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam”. Like
the song, spam is an endless repetition of worthless text. Another school of thought maintains that it comes
from the computer group lab at the University of Southern California who gave it the name because it has many
of the same characteristics as the lunch meat Spam:
Nobody wants it or ever asks for it.
No one ever eats it; it is the first item to be pushed to the side when eating the entree.
Sometimes it is actually tasty, like 1% of junk mail that is really useful to some people.
The term spam can also be used to describe any “unwanted” email from a company or website — typically at
some point a user would have agreed to receive the email via subscription list opt-in — a newer term called
graymail is used to describe this particular type of spam.