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spam
Last modified: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 

Electronic junk mail or junk newsgroup postings. Some people define spam even more generally as any unsolicited e-mail. However, if a long-lost brother finds your e-mail address and sends you a message, this could hardly be called spam, even though it's unsolicited. Real spam is generally e-mail advertising for some product sent to a mailing list or newsgroup.

In addition to wasting people's time with unwanted e-mail, spam also eats up a lot of network bandwidth. Consequently, there are many organizations, as well as individuals, who have taken it upon themselves to fight spam with a variety of techniques. But because the Internet is public, there is really little that can be done to prevent spam, just as it is impossible to prevent junk mail. However, some online services have instituted policies to prevent spammers from spamming their subscribers.

There is some debate about the source of the term, but the generally accepted version is that it comes from the Monty Python song, "Spam spam spam spam, spam spam spam spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam…" Like the song, spam is an endless repetition of worthless text. Another school of thought maintains that it comes from the computer group lab at the University of Southern California who gave it the name because it has many of the same characteristics as the lunchmeat Spam:

  • Nobody wants it or ever asks for it.
  • No one ever eats it; it is the first item to be pushed to the side when eating the entree.
  • Sometimes it is actually tasty, like 1% of junk mail that is really useful to some people.

Also see spim.

Also see Getting Rid of Spam in the Did You Know section of Webopedia.

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For internet.com pages about spam . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Eye on Spam 
Powerful weapons have emerged in the war against spam, so why isn't the problem going away? A 2002 Datamation article.

Fight Spam on the Internet! 
Comprehensive collection of anti-spam links and resources.

ROKSO Home Page 
Database of known spammers who have repeatedly violated ISP's anti-spam regulations.

Why Bayesian Filtering Is the Most Effective Anti-Spam Technology 
This white paper from GFI describes how Bayesian mathematics can be applied to the spam problem, resulting in an adaptive, ‘statistical intelligence’ technique that is much harder to circumvent by spammers.

A Plan for Spam
This article describes the spam-filtering techniques using Bayesian filtering.

Internet Mail Consortium
Group dedicated to solving the unsolicitied bulk email (UBE) problem.

Searching for a Definition of Spam
The first step in dealing with the spam problem is finding a definition that makes sense.

Spam e-mail program
This page contains information and a download link for an e-mail program that deciphers a spam message header and generates a reply which you may then send back to the spammer.

Spam FAQ
Provides information on deciphering spam e-mail message headers.

Spam remedies
This site describes several methods for dealing with unwanted e-mail and repeated USENET postings. In addition, there are links to additional spam related sites.

SpamAnti
Provides information about SPAM and how to fight it. Contains many useful resources including black lists of spammers and spamming domains and white lists of supporting people and ISPs, numerous related links, and FAQs.

Spamming Resources
Internet Society's resource page for information about spamming.

Stopping Spam at the Gateway
Bandwidth-sapping spam is more than an annoyance; it's increasingly becoming a drain on the bottom line. Fortunately, administrators can fight back with technology that yields cleaner inboxes and fewer mail server meltdowns.

Stopping Spam before the Gateway: Honeypots
There's more than one way to stop a spammer. Like pesky flies, spammers just can't resist the allure of honey.

The Historical Spam Museum and Archive
The mission of this site is to collect and preserve spam and includes many sample spam messages, as well as links to several useful spam resources.

The Net Abuse FAQ
Provides numerous links to net abuse resources and also contains many questions and answers on spam.

The Spamhouse Project
An organization that works with ISPs to identify and remove spammers from the Internet.

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related categories

Electronic Mail

Ethics

related terms

Bayesian filter

blacklist

bozo filter

e-mail

e-mail appending

false positive

moderated newsgroup

open relay

opt-in e-mail

RBL

ROKSO

spim

Usenet Death Penalty


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