Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Opting Out Increases Spam?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the damned-either-way dept.

Spam 481

J. L. Tympanum writes "I used to ignore spam but recently I have been using the opt-out feature. Now I get more spam than ever, especially of the Nigerian scam (and related) types. The latter has gone from almost none to several a day. Was I a fool for opting out? Is my email address being harvested when I opt out? Has anybody had similar experience?"

cancel ×

481 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Well... (5, Informative)

malkir (1031750) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695345)

It *does* show the spammers that the account is active and you're looking at the email...

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

telchine (719345) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695397)

Exactly. If this is a newsletter that you've opted in to, then you can safely opt out.

If you didn't opt-in in the first place what makes you think they're going to act faithfully with an opt-out request?!

All that opting out does in those circumstances is prove that your address is an active one, and that makes it loads more valuable, so they'll sell it on to their spammers as a premium "active email address!

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695759)

Not just a newsletter, but any place that you know is a legitimate website/business, etc. should be more than safe to opt out of, because they have to adhere to CAN-SPAM Act or similar laws/regulations in other countries. Not only that, they may have a reputation worth upholding.

Virtually everything else is going to be a red flag to send you even more spam. They have zero accountability, and no incentive to stop because they are probably stealing the bandwidth from someone else's compromised PC anyway.

Really, this should be common sense for most of the Slashdot readership.

Re:Well... (5, Informative)

Ocker3 (1232550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695415)

If it's an e-mail list you signed up for from a reputable source, unsubscribing will get you off of that list. If it's junk that you didn't sign up for, what makes you think they'll suddenly become reputable when they get an unsubscribe message? They'll simply onsell your e-mail address as an active one and keep going. Whitelist your address book, keep an eye on your spam folder for new legitimate incoming e-mails and contacts, and make heavy use of the delete option.

Re:Well... (4, Interesting)

azav (469988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695815)

What if someone has forged the BofA email headers? Or the Yahoo headers. I've seen this all too often.

Re:Well... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695895)

Know what? I don't need email from ANYBODY I don't already know or do business with.

I've got an email address that I use and another that just collects spam and the occasional old friend who's trying to track me down. Gmail does a great job of keeping them separate. I check it once a week and in about thirty seconds I separate the wheat from the chaff.

I'm OK with outlawing any unsolicited email from a business, period.

Unfortunately, since businesses own the government, here and abroad, that's unlikely to ever happen. Best we can do is make it unprofitable to send spam. That requires education and political action.

Re:Well... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695549)

What kind of a retard opts out of spam?! LOL.

Re:Well... (1)

Duckie01 (10586) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695679)

... and it's a sure way to get on one of those cd's with 60 million addresses. They've been doing this for eh... at least 10 years, perhaps 15. I'm wondering what planet this guy has been living on... and if timothy is his neighbour ;-) He could've just answered "Duh! Yes!" ;-)

News at 11.

Re:Well... (5, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695809)

Don't take this personally, 'cause it really isn't - and I know I'll be modded down for this - but I must say this story has the greatest concentration of the lamest "Informative" posts, ever.

I'm thinking that it's maybe just a gigantic troll, and the submitter is LOLling his ass off as I post this. Timothy maybe in on the joke.

And you know what? THIS is the kind of shit that should be submitted on April Fool's Day.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

bugi (8479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695897)

It shows the spammers that there is a *gullible* human on the other end.

Yes (5, Insightful)

darpo (5213) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695347)

Is my email address being harvested when I opt out?

Yes.

Re:Yes (-1, Redundant)

chakkerz (647313) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695377)

Yes

Re:Yes (5, Informative)

Moblaster (521614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695391)

You don't even need to opt out -- if you leave graphical preview options turned on in your html, the spammers can use uniquely named graphical images to confirm your email address is valid.

Re:Yes (4, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695501)

True enough. Luckily, Gmail's default is to not download images. And in fact, I think you can't even override that global default - only on a sende-by-sender basis.

Which is great.

Re:Yes (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695703)

I think even outlook express has had this feature enabled as well, circa 2002 or so.

Re:Yes (3, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695629)

if you leave graphical preview options turned on in your [email], the spammers can use uniquely named graphical images to confirm your email address is valid.

Which is another reason why I hate iphone's mail.app

Re:Yes (5, Informative)

DancesWithBlowTorch (809750) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695879)

Was I a fool for opting out?

Yes.

Validation (5, Insightful)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695355)

You've validated to the spammers that your email address is being actively read, and that you actually READ spam. You have confirmed to them that you are an excellent use of their resources.

Re:Validation (0, Offtopic)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695409)

You've validated to the spammers that your email address is being actively read, and that you actually READ spam. You have confirmed to them that you are an excellent use of their resources.

Er, no. Spammers ARE users of OUR ressources.

Spam is theft, theft of OUR bandwidth and OUR mail server space, cpu time and time.

Yeah. (1)

ebbomega (410207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695491)

You should really go up to the spammers and demand your electrons back.

Re:Validation (1, Offtopic)

ChrisMP1 (1130781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695519)

YOU seem TO like BOLD text. May I introduce YOU to a NEW way OF typing? Let your WORDS speak FOR themSELVES; bold text JUST makes you SOUND annoying.

Re:Validation (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695537)

Captain Kirk? Is that you??

Re:Validation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695729)

I run all scat/gay slashdot trolls through a Captain Kirk voice filter.

Re:Validation (4, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695799)

YOU seem TO like BOLD text. May I introduce YOU to a NEW way OF typing? Let your WORDS speak FOR themSELVES; bold text JUST makes you SOUND annoying.

Or PERHAPS he should try WRITING scripts for SUPERHERO COMICS.

Re:Validation (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695525)

Spam is theft, theft of OUR bandwidth and OUR mail server space, cpu time and time.

If the commons is free, you can't steal it.

Spammers are polluters.

Re:Validation (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695669)

It's not a commons; bandwidth is paid for. It's a toll road, or an pay-at-the-door club.

not just that (4, Funny)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695531)

Not just that, but you confirmed to the spammers that you were stupid enough to believe something they said. Consider the advice of the great philosophers Mr. T and Nelson.

Re:Validation (1)

Samah (729132) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695927)

You've validated to the spammers that your email address is being actively read, and that you actually READ spam. You have confirmed to them that you are an excellent use of their resources.

You've also validated that you may need to "increase your manhood" and "boost your lover night adventures".
(Source: Subject headers in my Gmail spam folder).

Opt out = valid email (3, Insightful)

proton (56759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695365)

It has always been my understanding that hitting those opting out links only verifies that your email address is valid.

Thus increasing the amount of spam because a valid email address is worth so much more...

Simply stated? Yes. (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695367)

Opting out lets them know that someone actually reviews mail coming in to that address. You say 'shut up and leave me alone', they hear the sound of registers cashing out.

Opt out == verifies someone is at this address (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695375)

Dir Sir, allow me to introduce my self.

In other news, water: still wet (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695379)

I used to avoid water but recently I have been using the shower. Now I get more wet than ever, especially of the makes-my-skin-pruny (and related) types. The latter has gone from almost none to one or more a week. Was I a fool for taking a shower? Is my skin being harvested when I shower? Has anybody had a similar experience?

Re:In other news, water: still wet (4, Funny)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695791)

Yes, you poor fool, yes. Why else do you think that every other nerd and geek knows better than to shave, shower, or wear clean clothes?

DUH? (5, Insightful)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695381)

DUH? Of course, "opting" out increases spam...

If spammers will not honour our private property rights by stealing our bandwidth and mail server ressources, what makes you think that they will honour requests not to be spammed again?

Worse, "opting" out confirms that the e-mail address the spam has be sent to is valid!!!

You never opt-out of spams, you LART their upstreams until they have no more connectivity.

Re:DUH? (4, Interesting)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695571)

If spammers will not honour our private property rights by stealing our bandwidth and mail server ressources, what makes you think that they will honour requests not to be spammed again?

Have you *lost* your bandwidth or mail server resources? I'm not trying to justify spam, but let's not use incendiary terms when there exists a perfectly valid alternative: bandwidth-and-mail-server-infringement. Resource sharing is the future; the ultimate goal of cloud computing. Instead of trying to stamp out spam, people need to change their reading models. It's not our job to support obsolete reading models, and it's arrogant to expect us to.

Re:DUH? (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695715)

You're right. We should use the cloud.

Rule 1. Whenever an email is sent to a new account, it should be measured against other new emails to see if they share an inordinate amount of test at the beginning.

Hmm. That should both be able to invalidate "spam accounts" and spam received.

Re:DUH? (2, Insightful)

Raffaello (230287) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695747)

large volumes of spam do cause network slowdowns, so, yes, we have all lost network bandwidth because of spam.

Um, yeah? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695383)

April Fools Day was earlier this month, Slashdot.

Really? (3, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695385)

People still fall for this "opt-out" scam? Really?

I thought this was pretty well known and understood by now, especially by Slashdot types.

Re:Really? (3, Interesting)

BunnyClaws (753889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695651)

You would think so. What is interesting is the submitter is a 5 digit slashdotter.

Is this some sort of joke? (5, Funny)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695389)

Is this guy serious?

I would give him the benefit of the doubt if this was circa 1997. But it's 2009, and even the birds on the trees are singing the tune "who tries to opt-out on spam is a fucking fool and deserves to have his e-mail harvested to hell and back". Or some such tune.

Re:Is this some sort of joke? (4, Funny)

cbrocious (764766) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695411)

There's a bird virus going around. They used to sing in a way that let me know what was going on, but now even the birds are pushing g3n3r1c c14l15.

Re:Is this some sort of joke? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695761)

"I thaw I thaw a thpammer."

"I deed, I deed thaw a thpammer."

Re:Is this some sort of joke? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695877)

Anyone posting to slashdot should know better, but when Joe user hears things like CAN-SPAM act, and "legally required to remove from list if opting-out", they believe the law-makers more than they believe (or even hear) the nerds.

I have had the exact same experience. (5, Funny)

zzottt (629458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695395)

I have had the exact same experience with my hotmail account a few years ago. I would get almost no spam. This was great for years with that account. Then one day I got a few spam. I tried the "opt out" option and almost moments later I saw multiple spams coming in. I have not tried it with my gmail or any other account for fear that my spam will double.

Absolutely. (2, Informative)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695407)

As everyone says, opting out of spam mails just shows the spammer that your email is still active, and that you bother to look at the spam beyond deleting it.

The only opt out links worth following are ones you know the source of; i.e. something you once opted in to, or did not opt out of when you bought something.
e.g. Bought something at newegg and did not uncheck the box about mailing you about specials and deals.

Essentially, opting out only works for non-spam mailing lists. Spammers don't care and just use it to acknowledge a good target.

Redundant much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695551)

But as you said, er, everyone just said it.

Confirms the spam is being read by someone (0, Redundant)

986151 (986151) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695413)

I've no data on the subject so take with a pinch of salt, but I remember being told a few years ago that responding in any way (even opting out) just confirms that the spam is not only being delivered, but being read, and that this may just lead to more spam being sent to your address. As I said, I don't know how true it is, but it makes sense to me.

A Contest? (2, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695425)

Are the editors in some kind of contest to put up the lamest "Ask Slashdot" story? If so, they can end it right now — Timothy has definitely won.

Or maybe not. Somebody might ask "why doesn't my computer work when it's not plugged in?"

Re:A Contest? (5, Funny)

unhooked (21010) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695555)

No no no, it's not a contest at all.
The lame stories are being posted to make you complain, thus verifying who actually reads the articles so they can make a list and sell it.

Re:A Contest? (2, Funny)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695561)

Are the editors in some kind of contest to put up the lamest "Ask Slashdot" story? If so, they can end it right now -- Timothy has definitely won.

Or maybe not. Somebody might ask "why doesn't my computer work when it's not plugged in?"

That's a good one, but I think someone should go for "Ask Slashdot: Should I shove my Eee PC 701 up my own ass or is that a bad idea? What are the technical implication of such a hardware procedure?" Followed by "Ask Slashdot: How do I get this thing out? Urgent question."

Re:A Contest? (1)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695709)

I've got a lamer Ask Slashdot than that: "What is the lamest Ask Slashdot article ever?"

It's so lame it's meta-lame!

You have announced your precense (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695431)

Imagine there's a door to door salesman who keeps harassing people on your street and the cops can't catch him. He keeps harassing you too, and so you stop answering the door and the salesman thinks no one is home but he still tries a few times a day. Then you hear that if you were to only tell the salesman (who is breaking the law) to stop then he will stop, so you yell out for him and any salesmen to fuck off, and you keep doing so, and now all the salesmen know you're home and so they all keep knocking on your door.

Re:You have announced your precense (1)

Kugrian (886993) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695765)

So you answer the door naked but for a gimp mask.

Sadly, this doesn't work with spammers.

Nothing says stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695437)

By letting them know you are home.

Did you ask this under you own name? (4, Funny)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695449)

Or are you trying to make one of your friends/enemies look dumb?

Slow News Day... (-1, Offtopic)

basementman (1475159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695469)

First the discussion on whether or not Watchmen was a success and now this? What has Slashdot come to.

A better question (5, Interesting)

HunterZ (20035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695479)

A better Ask Slashdot question would have been: "how can I forge bounce messages so that they think my email address is invalid?"

Re:A better question (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695569)

Good question, how can you?

Re:A better question (3, Insightful)

kat_skan (5219) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695641)

You can't. In the majority of cases you'll just end up forwarding your spam to whoever was unlucky enough to be listed as the sender. Never bounce a message after the sender has disconnected.

Re:A better question (1)

Stuart Gibson (544632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695707)

Right Click -> Bounce works in Mail.app on OSX, I assume any other competant mail client will have a similar option.

The issue with bouncing them is the headers are probably forged anyway, so the bounce usually doesn't go anywhere useful :(

Many ISPs already do this (1)

snowwrestler (896305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695681)

If an e-mail triggers their content filters, some ISPs will return a "hard bounce" error on an e-mail address that is actually valid and in use. If you're doing e-mail marketing you cannot necessarily trust the SMTP error codes from ISPs. This is one reason why legitimate e-mailer service providers maintain direct relationships with big ISPs.

Re:Many ISPs already do this (1)

johnjones (14274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695863)

right actually what they should be doing is providing unsubscribe ability in the email

the main providers should send is a DSN and it should be formated to rfc3464

they should take care to ALL allow list header specification. List-Unsubscribe to show in the headers

if marketeers dont allow unsubscribe in their header they should be blocked

HARD

this would allow the main providers to add a button to unsubscribe from the list

(rather than the current situation where people just junk the mail)

and it would allow the providers to identify what email came from a list....

that would be nice....

regards

John Jones

Re:A better question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695757)

You think they don't send from throwaway or nonexistent addresses? Or use a server that actually will receive a bounce? Most of them are botnets that just find machines receiving on port 25 and blast away. Bounces, whatever... they don't care. Hell, some of them are even known for using backscatter [wikipedia.org] with their intended recipients in the "from" fields. That way they don't even have to have a valid TO address and they get around various SMTP security limitations.

Never opt out, never load images (0, Redundant)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695485)

The trick is to avoid confirming your mailbox is active. Opting out means you saw the spam so they will of course send you more. The second thing is to make sure your mail client doesn't disclose your presence. Ensure it asks before sending a reception confirmation and finally under no circumstances allow your mail client to pull ANYTHING from the network without your permission. Otherwise those cute/porn pictures in all that spam are confirming your presence by the unique urls embedded in each spam.

Just in case... (4, Funny)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695489)

Has anyone explained why opting out is a bad idea yet?

Anti-spam form response (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695795)

Has anyone explained why opting out is a bad idea yet?

You're advocating an

(X) opt-out ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

solution to spam. Here's why I think it will not work:

(X) Spammers are dishonest
( ) et cetera...

front page? really? or any page? it's 2009! (4, Insightful)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695497)

How on earth did this make any part of slashdot at all?

No doubt I will be roasted but... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695509)

I actually did this on my mothers computer.

I looked at each spam message and made a call if I could trust the opt out, and I I went through her whole inbox. Result? Smap mail dropped from 100ish/day to less than 10 on average. And it stayed that way for near a year with a small trickle increase.

That's all well and good, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695665)

I actually did this on my mothers computer.

I looked at each spam message and made a call if I could trust the opt out, and I I went through her whole inbox. Result? Smap mail dropped from 100ish/day to less than 10 on average. And it stayed that way for near a year with a small trickle increase.

That's all well and good, but the submitter was trying to deal with spam, not smap mail.

I find that I get better results with spammers if I send them a personal message, like so:

Dear Kind Spammer,

Please stop sending me your crap.

Thank you and with best regards,

AC

how it works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695517)

how it works is they email 000000000@hotmail.com or w.e then 000000001 ...2 ....3 ...4 ...5....6...7...8...9..a...A...b...B and so on then they get to a real one, and if you click the link, they know they found a real email address... dont click it!!!!

~Pctech37(too lazy to login)

And I thought ... (1)

JumpDrive (1437895) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695539)

We were left with the only users that would try and opt-out of spam.

Don't worry you're in good company. We have 3 or 4 PhD's/Managers around here that tried it.

It works (3, Funny)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695541)

It works even better if you include your SSN, DOB, and banking info too.

But if you really want to improve your fortunes, I know this Nigerian Prince that I can put you in contact with.

You think that was funny? (1)

anonymousNR (1254032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695545)

My project manager thought getting a password reset instruction email with a message "If you did not make this request, simply ignore this email" with a token url, that his account was compromised. I did not even bother explaining.

CANSPAM act (1, Insightful)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695547)

The CAN-Spam act sort of provides that they actually take you off of mailing lists. The reality is that they only have to take you off the list they just mailed you from. If I run Spam-Everyone & e-mail you regarding buying an additional 3" for your inadequate male anatomy (mailing plan1), when you click on "remove me" you do 2 things, you confirm that your Email address is valid & that you take the time to at least glance at what I'm pushing. The way the law is written, I only have to remove you from plan1. I can however happily add you to plans 2-15,000 and push all of it to you. Additionally, I can then add your name to a premium list of verified addresses which I can sell to other spammers.

Let's all take a moment of reverent silence in which we honor well crafted legislation.

Not entirely true (1)

snowwrestler (896305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695813)

CAN-SPAM requires a "global" opt-out method--the ability to remove yourself from ALL the lists from a particular sender. So your first part about the plans is not correct.

However you are correct that CAN-SPAM does not prevent Company A from selling your (now confirmed good) e-mail address to Company B.

Why is this in Ask slashdot? (1)

codeonezero (540302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695609)

Why did this make it here? There's plenty of forums out there that will answer this question. This is pretty basic stuff that can be answered in other places.

Is this the "Dumbing Down of Slashdot" I keep hearing about?

It took me a minute to get the answer to the question on google...by doing a search (shocking right?)

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/237275.html [google.com]

lol... (1)

prndll (1425091) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695613)

What this article is saying...I would get ignored for saying...and it IS something I would say.

Spam vs. unwanted e-mail (5, Insightful)

snowwrestler (896305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695617)

As someone who does responsible e-mail marketing, please let me make a distinction between that and spamming.

If you are getting notices to enhance your johnson or "Che@p drug$" or whatever, DO NOT use the "opt out" link. It confirms your e-mail address is functional. In fact don't open them at all. Report them as spam and help your ISP improve their filters.

HOWEVER, if you are receiving e-mail marketing you just don't want anymore--like say the daily deal e-mail from Expedia*--please use the opt-out link to cancel your subscription. Deleting them won't stop the flow, and marking them as spam hurts deliverability reputation, making it harder to get them to people who actually want them.

Perhaps I'll get modded down for saying this, but e-mail marketing can be done responsibly and is a big part of many legitimate businesses. I think this sometimes gets lost in the War On Spam.

* I don't work for them, this is just an example of an e-mail marketing that I know I get.

Re:Spam vs. unwanted e-mail (1)

azav (469988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695775)

I get MASSIVE amounts of spam from the United Arab Emirates.

I have never been there and never intend to go there.

Do you think I opted in EVEN ONCE to these people who are claiming that I did?

If given the opportunity, I would volunteer to put a bullet in the heads of the people selling these lists and the people using them.

In no way do I want anyone who I do not know or anyone who I do know that I have not given permission to to email me with their solicitations for crap I never asked for.

Email is generally our daily conversations. If you were walking up and down the street talking to your friends and 10 people came up to you trying to sell their own crap to you, and then 10 more and then 10 more, pretty soon, you'd want to kill these people.

This type if communication/solicitation is presumptuous, rude, offensive, annoying and COMPLETELY UNWANTED.

I love some companies who feel the need to start emailing you simply after you bought something there once - and they never ask you if it's ok.

I wonder if some wingnut comes down with Explosive Ebola, I wouldn't be surprised if he identified the locations of Snotty Scotty and the like and mortars their houses.

Knowing America, I'm surprised it hasn't happened here already.

Re:Spam vs. unwanted e-mail (4, Insightful)

Raffaello (230287) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695851)

This sort of empty distinction is why can-spam and other laws are completely ineffective - because legislators want to make a legal distinction between "good" spammers, like expedia, and "bad" spammers, like chinese viagra vendors.

There is no such distinction. If a user did not actively request commercial email from a specific commercial entity (not their affiliates or others they sell addresses to), then that email is unsolicited commercial email and should be an unambiguous criminal offense.

Marketing Wisdom... (1)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695859)

...and trust me, I don't normally use those two words that close together.

I second snowwrestler's comment. It was Seth Godin [typepad.com] who pointed out that anyone seriously involved in marketing (as opposed to someone bulk-emailing thousands of people trying to sucker a precious two or three) would absolutely hate hate hate to alienate individuals by annoying them with unwanted messages. Even if they've never bought the product in question before, pissing them off with spam will only drive them away and generate poor word of mouth. Better to back off and preserve what chance you have rather than push harder and poison the well, to coin a mixed metaphor.

Who allowed this post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695627)

Who in the world allowed such a mindless post on /.??? Only some dope (like my best friend) would be dumb enough to click the opt-out option. And I guarantee he doesn't read or even know of /.'s existence. I'm baffled by seeing such a post on here!... Unless /. Overlord was bored mindless and needed a cheap laugh.

o.m.g (1)

darrenkopp (981266) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695649)

you probably would have been better off sending them your money, then they would have at least made less from that than selling your email address.

I can't believe you fell for that (1, Informative)

azav (469988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695655)

Opting out only validates that your email address is valid. It is a sucker bet.

These people are not honest. And even if 19 of them are and 1 is not, guess what he will do? Add your address to a list and sell his list of valid addresses for 49 dollars to all takers.

NEVER opt out.

Re:I can't believe you fell for that (1)

defaria (741527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695695)

Do what I do. I keep a list of all the spam emails I get. Occasionally - when I'm in a funky mood, I'll take this list of spammer email addresses and throw it through a script using wget that effectively takes the spammer email address and opts it. The way I look at it spammer should pal together so I'm just helping spammer A get spammer B's email address! ;-)

Answers (2, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695659)

> Was I a fool for opting out?

Yes.

> Is my email address being harvested when I opt out?

Yes. That's what it's for.

> Has anybody had similar experience?

I'm certain of it. I suggest you drop that address, create another one somewhere else, and then don't do that again.

Only works for legal spam (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695689)

As a lot of people commented already, opting out from illegal spam (the bulk of it) is just validating your email. Hey, why would someone doing fraud and operating an illegal business would bother to provide a real opt-out mechanism? Because they are cool guys or what?

However, there's a small portion of spam which comes from European countries mainly, that is semi-legal, from telemarketing companies operating on behalf of legal companies. That is, they claim they got your email legally (accidentally otherwise), and provide you with a real opt-out mechanism (that's why make it legal and comply with the law on many countries)... in those cases, opt-out *might* work. In my experience, it has worked some times.

But is it worth it? I managed to opt-out successfully from some spammers... and what I achieved? I receive 5 spam emails less? That's nothing compared to all spam I receive, my Spam folder on GMail has an average of ~15000 emails.

Didn't work like that for me (0, Flamebait)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695717)

A few years ago I tried it. I created a spammotel account and created several unique addresses which I used to opt out on many sites.

So far I haven't received any spam on those email addresses.

It would be interesting to know where timothy opted out.

The urge to sell is #2 (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695727)

The urge to sell things is second only to the urge to acquire that which one desires the most. And the distance between those two desires are tremendous.

What ends spam? Basically nothing. Truly, the only thing that might slow things down even a little would be for someone to completely lose their mind and track the people responsible down and murder them in the most gruesome way imaginable. (Honestly, I hope to see that day... my own rage over spam and the people responsible for its constantly escalating assault in system security has turned the entire internet into a battlefield.)

The consequences of spamming are almost none. The costs involved in such operations are nearly nothing especially when one considers that the cost burden is born by those exploited by it directly and indirectly. When criminals are virtually assured of no consequences or penalties, there is no limit to what they are willing to do to the rest of the world. These sociopathic people can not be reformed. Only one thing truly stops them.

If it is just aggressive (5, Insightful)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695735)

marketing from an otherwise legitimate company, opting out will work, but for spammers it just makes things worse. Spammers count on two things, that they just need a tiny percentage to respond to their solicitations, and that the rest of us will ignore it. Once a year I make a point of researching the complete header of spam and reporting them to their ISP and any law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction. They are engaged in fraud in the traditional sense of the term, so are violating existing laws. They are counting on the rest of us to just delete them and not lodge a complaint.

This might also be a dumb question but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695749)

Where does the money come from to make spam a profitable business? Who is so dumb that they click or buy anything in these mails? Does someone here know such a person?
And more importantly, can u stop them? Mayby with silver bullets or a stake through the heart?

Why did this question get posted whilst... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695751)

...a question of mine, possibly related to spam or scams and much more complicated didn't. A while ago I wanted to know what slashdotters think the explanation is to why someone would place orders on-line with my name and e-mail address without there being any obvious scam attempt. I've received legitimate order confirmations and since they were legit companies, I've e-mailed them to tell them that I haven't placed any orders and they ask how it's possible since they've already been paid for and recommended that I check my credit card use. Since I don't have a credit card, there have obviously not been any suspicious charges on it. In one case I even received a confirmation that the flower delivery had been made despite me having first had e-mail correspondence with them about it. What makes it even stranger is that my name is a typical Finnish name but the addresses have been in Thailand and Singapore (neither of which I've ever visited let alone lived in). So feel free to answer that instead of this question to which there's an obvious answer. I'd appreciate it.

YOU FOOOOOOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695773)

YOU FOOOOOOOOOOOOL

Congressional Law (0)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695777)

Congressional Law should amend the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act saying that it's legal for me to trace back spammers to their home base via my own research (partially nipping the flaw), hack their shit, and annihilate them. Imagine if Anonymous was thrown by the wayside, and instead of a bunch of stupid angsty teenagers attacking whatever the fuck they want, it got replaced by some serious hackers that can get into the fucking NSA if they want. And what do they do? Start nuking spammers and closing idiot scam businesses down hard (want a sticker that boosts your DSL modem speed 50%?), just fucking RETRIBUTION.

Sure, the rule of law would fall down a bit; but these are activities beyond the law. When I can create a veil around myself to become a horrible public annoyance and scam peoples' life savings off, and just barely deflect or completely hide from law enforcement, I am now operating in a realm where you need to accept that sometimes serious acts of violence happen just because shit was WRONG and needed to be fixed.

Of course, that's how you get terrorists. So this is a bad idea.

opt out is no good (1)

aenubis (1538657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695785)

I did this when I first started on the Internet about 12 years ago, and spam got out of controll. I left that account alone for something close to 3 years, now that I have been back to that account, I only get a few a day......It is something that NEVER goes away. On the other hand I have a gmail account and their spam controll is very good!!

Opt Out? You mean "Let me validate my address" (2, Informative)

grapeape (137008) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695807)

The Opt Out "feature" is simply a way spammers can discover if the addresses on their list are active. The spamed can then be moved to a premium "active" list so the email harvester can make more money selling the address again.

Stupidity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695865)

Stupidity.

I opt out (in a unique circumstance) (1)

Elektrance (310019) | more than 5 years ago | (#27695883)

I have the (mis?)fortune of having a first name, last initial gmail account. There are two not too bright (or downright evil) gentlemen out there that share my first name and last initial, who think they have my email address.

I get all kinds of email meant for them, once including rental details for a chalet for a week! I haven't done anything sinister (yet) but I find opting out of their bacn works better at clearing my inbox than marking it spam...

FWIW.

YES, Yes, yes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27695919)

Yes, you are a fool...
Yes, your email has been harvested...
Yes, this happens to us all - UNLESS -

Get an email client like Thunderbird with some good spam filtering. Train the filter for a week or two, and you will only see (maybe) one or two items of spam per day.

I get about 1000 emails a day between work and home, and I get spam like crazy...but I never SEE most of it. I still get one or two emails, as the format of the cailis ads change or the subject line changes, but once or twice through the spam controls in Thunderbird, and I don't see them any more...
If you don't respond, they don't know you exist (this is also why it is a good idea to block links and pictures in your emails, because if the picture is requested at the number they assign to your email, they know your email was opened = your email exists...

I have been toying with the idea of following the idea presented by asterisk, creating a white-list of email groups, services, and individuals that I want to hear from, and everyone else gets the "number disconnected" message...only, in this case, I would send a "fatal error" message back to their mail server...that way, they are under the opinion that I simply don't exist and only those people I want to hear from get through...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?