Date: Fri, 7 Nov 1997 09:33:30 -0500
From: Grant Barrett gbarrett[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]JERRYNET.COM
Subject: Word of the Year
My unofficial nomination for word of the year is:
SPAM: unsolicited, bulk email (there is also a verb form). Alternate
sense: to bombard people with useless information. Source possibly a
Monty Python skit in which the name of the product "Spam" is used a
zillion times in a list of menu possibilities in a comedic reference to
the main source of meat in post-WWII Britain.
Having received 86 pieces of email spam in October alone, I think this
word stands a chance of winning.
[Mild rant follows, with possibly interesting usages and words.]
I get an increase of about 30% or more spam each month, and it all comes
from just three sources: two entries at InterNic for domains registered
under my name, and a single posting in Usenet. I am careful about the
quantity of mail I receive. The thing that scares me the most is: I'm in
for even more trouble; this week I posted almost a dozen messages to
Usenet. I expect the mail to literally pour in.
Folks, the delete key just isn't enough any more. I receive about 300
pieces of email a day, much of it job-related, about 40% from lists. I
have an incoming filter set to route mail to certain storage folders,
but it doesn't catch much spam (I do not use Eudora, so I can't partake
of the constantly updated spam-source filters).
I save all spam received in order to show it to people (like direct
marketers) who claim it is often focused and targeted at prequalified
It isn't. If it was, I wouldn't have received email for the "Earth Smart
Laundry CD" or for free golf balls or a list of celebrity addresses. Sex
and multi-level marketing/pyramid schemes account for more than half of
the solicitations [note American usage for "schemes" which includes a
This is where Internet-originated words like MAIL BOMB come in handy.
[mail bomb: to send a virtually endless flood of unwelcome, large email
to an email address in retaliation for perceived slights].
But you can't even send back nasty messages any more: I estimate 60% of
the spam has FORGED HEADERS [forged headers: usually refers to fake
return/reply addresses, but could include other information that appears
in an email header (if your mail server or mail client doesn't filter
The only solution is: OPT-IN direct marketing, as opposed to OPT-OUT.
Opt-in means you have to ask for it, opt-out means you have to ask not
to receive it. There have been some attempts to set up OPT-OUT
registries, but they have all fallen flat, and some have turned out to
be trojan horses (in a non-computer virus sense), in that if you listed
your address as an opt-out, you would actually then start receiving more
Obviously, if opt-out worked (and if all those stupid "remove" messages
I sent before I realized that they didn't remove me from anything but
only confirmed to the sender that my account was valid and active), then
we wouldn't have a problem here.
I receive the Direct Marketing trade magazines, and you might be
surprised how many businesses are ramping up for full-scale assault via
direct email marketing, and how many of them believe it is a legitimate
commercial enterprise. Buckle up.