Why Spammers Won’t “Unsubscribe” You

Many spams have a link at the bottom to “unsubscribe” you from their garbage. It virtually never works.

The typical advice from anti-spam groups is to not even try to use their “unsubscribe” methods, since that confirms for the spammer that the address is not only good (thus: send it more spam!) but also that the recipient actually opens spams sent there (thus: send it even more spam!)

There are some which will honor such requests (next page), but it’s rare that you should bother asking. After all, you didn’t ask to get the junk mail, so why should you have to beg to not get it anymore?!

This is another indication of the honesty of the advertisers. All they are interested in is getting your money — they do not care about ethics or honesty. (There are legitimate anti-spam web sites that ask you to sign up in anti-spam campaigns. Such support is important, but how do you know if they’re really anti-spam, or fronts for the spammers themselves? Be suspicious of any sites you aren’t sure of.

I’m confident of the sites listed on these pages — they are run by very-well-known anti-spam activists. The sites they list are also very likely trustworthy.) The bottom line is, even if you are careful never to post on a discussion list, or ever to have your address listed on a web site, you can still get onto spam lists. And you cannot get off — ever!

These resulting lists of addresses are often collected by list merchants (often spammers themselves) who then sell (usually by using spam, of course) the lists to other spammers. Even if you (or the police!) manage to shut down one spammer, there are always more who already have your address — if you are getting spam now, you will continue to get it for as long as you have that address. Sorry, but the bottom line is, you cannot stop all spam to address that has been compromised. Ever. Sad, but true.

So you can see, it’s not enough that anti-spam laws just make spammers take you off their lists if you ask them. Is it really reasonable to ask every new spammer that comes along, “Pretty please, don’t send me any more junk mail that I never asked for in the first place”? Heck no! Such laws do nothing but make spam legal and accepted! You would be spending all day, every day, jumping through “opt-out” hoops. Spamming is so easy that there are thousands of spammers. And what is to stop them from changing their name and starting over? Then you have to start over too. Clearly, “opt-out” is not the answer.

Next Topic: When Is It Safe to “Opt Out”?