What is spam and why is it called that?'spam' is any message you are sent from a person or business who you have not given permission to contact you. The message being not relevant to you and unrequested. It was given it's name by computer geeks after watching a Monty Python sketch about a cafe where meals included SPAM (the SPiced hAM canned meat). Effectively spam is something unwanted.
When was the first spam sent?Even before the advent of the World Wide Web spam was becoming an issue. The first spam email was sent out by Gary Thuerk on ARPNET, a predecessor to the Internet, on 1st May 1978. It's been with us ever since. At first, it didn't seem an issue but now the majority of emails sent are spam and comments posted on blogs are often flooded with spam. A huge amount of time is wasted just deleting spam and time costs money.
Is spam illegal?That depends on your countries laws. In many - it is illegal to send spam. Certainly the majority of spam is sent from places which have laws against it. The trouble is that spam is effective because people have a problem:
So what can we do?No laws will ever stop the spammers. It's up to you to minimise the impact of spam.
- NEVER follow a link in a spam email - no matter how tempting.
- NEVER buy anything promoted by spam. They are already breaking the law so can you really trust them with credit card details? For the same reason never buy anything from someone who cold calls you to sell items.
It's worthwhile checking the links commenters provide. However make sure you have up-to-date anti-malware software and I suggest you use an incognito browser window to check them. If the comment adds no value to the post and doesn't actually refer to it, then delete it even if it is full of praise.
Some blogsites use CAPTCHA to reduce the number of comments made by spambots. Unfortunately, although they are getting better, they are still a deterrent to genuine people and don't stop those humans whose purpose is simply to get a link to their site. How many times have you got one of these words in weird fonts wrong or failed to spot that corner of a road sign?