What Is Spam?

Spam is one of the wonders of the online world, it's abundant and most people can tell when they're being annoyed by it but, what exactly is it???

Poeple generally don't like spam yet it is still everywhere! There are a few definitions for it and there are several things that are referred to as SPAM. So let's start with definitions.

Some definitions only include EMAIL:

"Spam refers to the use of electronic messaging systems to send out unrequested or unwanted messages in bulk. "

Some definitions include more types of online media:

"Spam is any kind of unwanted and unsolicited communication through an online medium. "

Some are more specific and include more communication types:

"Spam involves contacting people with unwanted content or requests. This includes sending bulk messages, excessively posting links or images to people's timelines and sending friend requests to people you don't know personally."

The basic underlying understanding is that is a form of communication that is unasked for and excessive. So to be completely honest...i've spammed before. If you are in the online marketing world...there is a good chance that you started out SPAMMING the crap out of everyone with the idea that you were just advertising or "sharing with your friends and family".

There are two ways spam is used...to sell and to scam. Both of those are issues because the people receiving the spam sometimes can't tell the difference.

If the aim of the spam is to sell...then it is the equivalent of someone randomly knocking on your door or calling you during dinner without you asking them to. The internet is replacing door-to-door sales and cold calling. It is just easier to market your products online and reach more people than it is to try and reach people in person. Yet...not all online advertising is SPAM.

The online world is changing and what is and isn't acceptable is changing. More and more companies are learning that people don't care to see ads online and so they are choosing new ways to engage with and reach consumers. Even regular TV commercials are choosing to change their advertising from pushing products to pushing value.

What we typically call spam is changing. The reason there is a SPAM folder in your email is because people send emails out in "bulk" that are "unasked for" and that is the typical example of what spam is. These days with the rise of social media and apps... spam comes is all sorts of forms such as:

"instant message spam, search engine spam, blog spam, Usenet newsgroup spam, wiki spam, classified ads spam, Internet forum spam, social media spam, junk fax spam,"

If the aim of the spam is to gain your information or access to your accounts it is called phishing and it can lead to people being scammed out of money or even getting their identity's stolen.

Not everyone on your feed is trying to scam you...most likely they're online marketers that just don't know how to market ...yet! (Learn here)

But there are more and more protections being put in place so that consumers are free to roam the internet without fearing that the'll for a scam. Facebook is becoming more and more strict with the type of content and links that it allows profiles to share and you can even report any suspicious online activity you come across to the FTC.

"Forward unwanted or deceptive messages to:

the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov. Be sure to include the complete spam email. your email provider. At the top of the message, state that you're complaining about being spammed. Some email services have buttons that allow you to mark messages as junk mail or report them spam. the sender's email provider, if you can tell who it is. Most web mail providers and ISPs want to cut off spammers who abuse their system. Again, make sure to include the entire spam email and say that you're complaining about spam. If you try to unsubscribe from an email list and your request is not honored, file a complaint with the FTC."

Most of the time... you can just let people know that you are not interested or you can unfollow/unsubscribe or hide their posts from your feed. (If people keep bothering you, please report them) While some people do make money just spamming... most people end up learning that people don't like or respond to it and so they either stop, learn to market differently, or are blocked.

Tomorrow I will share a video on how to NOT spam for those of you who are feeling a bit attacked by this post. (I feel you). If you liked this post please like and share it (in a non-spammy way). :)


Further Reading