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There’s a Special Place in Hell for Spammers!

I came across a statement on a blog that was somewhat like this: “There’s a special place in hell for spammers”. I am totally in favor and agreement of this statement. Spamming is illegal; breaking the law is like doing a sin, and sinners, figuratively speaking, go to hell, and actually speaking, law breakers go to jail.

Spammers will be shot on sight!A little while ago, I logged into my dashboard and found a whole lot of comments caught as spam by my anti-spam software.

This website being my personal blogging platform, doesn’t attract much unknown visitors, those who read my blog are actually people whom I know, or have known due them reading my blog regularly. A sudden burst of spam comments? What is going on? The backup of this website on WordPress.com attracts well over 300 spam comments every day, almost all caught by the anti-spam software there, but an even larger number here, and that too within a shorter time period!

So what really is spam?

Spam is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages, especially advertising, indiscriminately. While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media. Spamming remains economically viable because advertisers have no operating costs beyond the management of their mailing lists, and it is difficult to hold senders accountable for their mass mailings. Because the barrier to entry is so low, spammers are numerous, and the volume of unsolicited mail has become very high. In the year 2011, the estimated figure for spam messages was around seven trillion, the figure for this year (2012) is expected to be even higher. The costs, such as lost productivity and fraud, are borne by the public and by Internet service providers, which have been forced to add extra capacity to cope with the deluge. Spamming has been the subject of legislation in many jurisdictions. A person who creates electronic spam is called a spammer.

And where does this spam come from?

Well, it comes mainly from spammers. These spammers may be an automated bot (a computer program made for this purpose), a company/organization trying to publicize their product(s), themselves or for a financial gain, fraud or a cause (which may in some rare cases be simple and just) or individuals bent upon publicizing their business startup/blog that leads to advertising revenue.

Rank Country Spam vol. %
1 India 13.9
2 Russia 9.0
3 Vietnam 7.9
4 (tie) South Korea 6.0
4 (tie) Finland 6.0
6 China 4.7
7 Brazil 4.5
8 America 3.2

So what’s actually so wrong about spamming?

Spam can be used to spread computer viruses, trojan horses or other malicious software. The objective may be identity theft, or worse (e.g., advance fee fraud). Some spam attempts to capitalize on human greed whilst other attempts to use the victims’ inexperience with computer technology to trick them (e.g., phishing).

Apart from all that, spamming is a type of in-your-face advertisement, filling you e-mail/SMS inbox with useless, meaningless often fraudulent advertisement. This reduces productivity by take up space, both storage space, display space and bandwidth (data transfer space).

Some spam contents are also ethically objectionable and morally wrong. Most common spam these days is about winning lottery, being made a beneficiary by rich business tycoons about to die, discounted travel, cheap Viagra, fake medicines, pornography, online dating and get rich quick schemes.

Legal status

As mentioned earlier, spamming has been the subject of legislation in many jurisdictions. Many countries, states and territories, with the notable exception of Bulgaria, have illegalized spamming, making it a punishable criminal offence. For the state specific legislations see the Wikipedia article on E-mail spam legislation by country.

In Pakistan, it is prohibited under Section 14 (1) and (2) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance 2007. This law illegalizes and criminalizes spamming, and provides for a fine of up to PKR 50,000.00 (approximately 830 USD at the time the Ordinance was signed), and for repeat offenders a prison sentence of 3 months or a fine of PKR 50,000.00 or both. However I still see spam, lots of it, in almost all of my e-mail inbox and my SMS inbox.

Some questions that pop up in my mind:

  • Why do people comment on “nofollow” blogs? (i.e. blogs that prevent search engines from crawling to their links)
  • Why do people spam when they do realize that spam protecting software will bust their spams?
  • Why on Earth do they just do all this, I mean when they have better options for publicity!

What I’ve decided…

Some time back, I came across a statement on a blog that was somewhat like this: “There’s a special place in hell for spammers”. I am totally in favor and agreement of this statement. Spamming is illegal; breaking the law is like doing a sin, and sinners, figuratively speaking, go to hell, and actually speaking, law breakers go to jail.

I’ve now decided to make up a policy to combat spam, and would, like all other policies, enforce it strictly.

UPDATE: I’ve made up the Spam Policy!

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