Spam is mass emailing of advertisements to recipients who did
not agree to receive those ads. The main point is that the person did
not agree to receive such messages. Spammers usually acquire email
addresses by questionable means; they buy lists of addresses, use
grabbers (for example,
Email Extractor Deluxe) to search for email addresses on different
websites, make software for automatic filling of website forms, etc.
Email marketing is mass emailing to users who agreed to receive such
messages. Users can give consent to receiving email messages in
different ways; for example, they can subscribe to a mailing list on a
website, fill a website registration form and agree with the
registration terms, enter their email address in a paper form, and so
How to tell spam from email marketing?
Here's what is typical for email marketing:
The user can unsubscribe;
Issues are sent with a moderate frequency;
Information is useful and of high quality;
The sender addresses the recipient by name;
Here's what is typical for spam:
The user cannot unsubscribe;
The sender's address is falsified;
Issues are sent very frequently and to a great number of
Information is useless;
Email lists are huge (and often count millions of addresses);
Phishing may be used; that is, the spammer may try to coax
message recipients into telling him their credit card numbers or
passwords for accessing online payment systems. Such a message often
looks just like an official message from the recipient's bank. The
email may say that unless the recipient confirms some personal
information, his (or her) account will be frozen; in this case, the
message may contain a link to some website form to be filled
(actually, that's the fraudster's — not the bank's — website). Some
of the data requested will be used by the fraudster if the phishing
attempt succeeds. The malicious site may fully imitate the bank's
site, so the victim might not suspect that something is wrong.
Counteradvertising may be used; that is, the spammer may send
messages discrediting competitors or their products.
The spammer may advertise "nasty" products, such as pornographic
content, illegal drugs, or pirated software.