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Every few months, I get fed up with the fact that the bulk of my emails are what I would consider to be spam: I signed up with a company one time assuming I might use their “sign up” discount or get inside access to new products or sales, and since then, I have received roughly one message a day with an advertisement to a product I no longer care about. While these messages can be annoying and clutter my inbox, they are not technically spam. Spam is considered unsolicited messages, not just any bulk email that is sent out. This means that, while you may be annoyed by those bulk emails that pop up in your inbox daily and you never click on, you signed up for them at some point or another, and they are considered opt-in emails.

Spam is considered the unsolicited sending of messages to online customers who did not elect to receive emails or information. It is rarely sent by the company itself; rather, it is typically sent by a third party company that is specifically hired to send out bulk mail. These are often referred to as “spammers.” Spammers are hired to bulk advertise a product or service. Frequently, your information, including your name, email address, and more, is sold to spammers or they are able to find your information through a software program known as a “harvester,” which saves and stores these things.

While your internet service provider (ISP) as well as your email filters work hard to filter out what they may consider spam, this is not foolproof. Spammers can still get messages through to your inbox by using subject lines that could be real or do not trigger red flags, and sometimes a message you do want to see is sent to your spam folder mistakenly. There is no absolutely perfect way to protect your email and bandwidth from spammers.