What is SPAM?

SPAM is unwanted email (junk mail). Recipients have not granted permission to receive SPAM, which has "clogged up" many ISP (Internet Service Provider) systems creating a backend cost that affects everyone - except the originator of the emails. This has, also, made it difficult to send and receive emails since the servers need to be secure to reduce SPAM emails.

The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE) web site ( quoted Vint Cerf, Senior Vice President, MCI perfectly defines SPAM.

"Spamming is the scourge of electronic-mail and newsgroups on the Internet. It can seriously interfere with the operation of public services, to say nothing of the effect it may have on any individual's e-mail mail system. ... Spammers are, in effect, taking resources away from users and service suppliers without compensation and without authorization."5

In the article, "The Problem," CAUCE states that "Cost-Shifting" is a big problem for the ISP and the recipient of the SPAM emails. Among the many 'time-cost' equations is the following:

"For example, for an Internet Service Provider, "time" includes the load on the processor in their mail servers; "CPU time" is a precious commodity and processor performance is a critical issue for ISPs. When their CPUs are tied up processing spam, it creates a drag on all of the mail in that queue -- wanted and unwanted alike. This is also a problem with "filtering" schemes; filtering email consumes vast amounts of CPU time and is the primary reason most ISPs cannot implement it as a strategy for eliminating junk email.6



There are preliminary steps that must be taken to prevent an email marketing campaign from sending out SPAM. The most important guideline is to always run a permission-based campaign.

Some guidelines offered by MAPSSM (Mail Abuse Prevention System, L.L.C.) are:

  • "Permission of new subscribers must be fully verified before mailings commence.
  • There must be a simple method to terminate a subscription.
  • Mail volume must take recipient systems into account.
  • Terms and conditions of address use must be fully disclosed."7
    For more guidelines, visit the MAPSSM at

Best Practice


Legislature for United States and European Parliament

Learn what your country's laws are regarding SPAM CLICK HERE. 9

5 CAUCE, "The Problem"
6 CAUCE, "The Problem"
7 MAPSSM, "...Guidelines for Preventing Abuse
8 Sorkin, Spam Laws
9 Sorkin, Spam Laws



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