Apr 072008

I loath spam; all those unsolicited emails that advertise herbal mortgages, pills that will lower the interest rate, and all those lottery wins from places I’ve never heard of. Of course everyone else does too.

But what about emails that are “near spam” ? Say you bought something online 5 years ago from some company or other, and haven’t been near them since (nothing that was wrong, you just haven’t gotten into the habit of buying socks online). Now of course, you receive this “sock newsletter” once a month. Now perhaps you were once interested, or on a very slow Sunday you like to read about socks. Perhaps.

Of course you didn’t just buy a pair of socks 5 years ago. You’ve been buying stuff ever since, and everybody is desperate to get your email address to push virtual catalogues into your over cluttered Inbox. You could go and visit the unsubscribe links to get your address removed from each and every list out there.

But someone told you once that unsubscribe links are dangerous because they’re used by spammers to verify addresses, and besides which it would take you days to get unsubscribed from all the rubbish. And of course just occasionally you take a peek at one of the emails and it has something in it you want to know … a special offer or something.

What is needed is a way of keeping “near spam” emails under control. A central place to go to indicate your preferences (“no near spam”, “just one a day”, “as much as you want to send me”, “don’t send me those stupid messages that tell me I have to use a browser to view this email”). I’m currently automatically filtering “near spams” into a folder where I can ignore them … which is something that the sales critters who spew them out certainly don’t want!