I have a question to pose about spam etiquette.

Say you go to the website of a well-known Fortune 500 company — an established company that’s been in the computer business for over two decades — and update your already-created so that you can buy something from them. Say that, during the account update process, you aren’t told that you’re also signing up to receive a junk newsletter from the company, nor are you offered the ability to tell them not to send you their marketing crap. Now, say that within a week, you start getting junk email from them, offering up the new products of the week and whatnot, and that at the bottom of the email is a clear opt-out link.

What do you do? Do you just delete the email? Do you click the link, and opt out of the crap that you never opted into to begin with? Do you report the email to Vipul’s Razor, Pyzor, and all other collaborative spam databases?

(Incidentally, this same should-be-aware-but-clearly-isn’t company lets you log into your account to change your settings, but on logging in, clearly shows that I have opted to not receive email from them. How can they justify sending me this newsletter when it’s clear they also know I don’t want to receive any marketing email from them?)


Ah, good question. But here’s one back - some companies sets up separate opt-in checkboxes. One is for third-party mail, and one is for mail directly from them. If the wording of their opt-in box is such that it implies that they won’t sell your email address to third parties, then maybe they are still assuming they’ll email you from themselves anyway?

Either way, its annoying and you should probably email their webmaster. Maybe their mailing script doesn’t work? Seeing as you’re implying with links that this is Apple we’re talking about (and I don’t use them for anything really), reporting them to these SPAM databases probably won’t do much good, especially since some people possibly actually WANT the email.

• Posted by: Ivan Tumanov on Oct 29, 2003, 9:34 PM

This is one reason why I rarely buy anything online. I used to try the opt-out, or send a spam note to the webmaster. But then I realized I was spending more time on something that I didn’t want to have anything to do with in the first place, on efforts that might not even have any effect. So now I just delete those messages. Delete is my favorite key.

• Posted by: Ann McGinn on Oct 30, 2003, 1:36 AM

This is why I have a special email address I use for online purchases.

• Posted by: Jeff on Nov 4, 2003, 10:29 AM

also a good use for Mailinator.com …

• Posted by: acm on Nov 7, 2003, 12:16 PM
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