Spam makes me angry. Do you have a course to help with that?

Filed Under: Spam

Dear British Association of Anger Management,

Thank you for your unsolicited email, inviting me to a course on anger management.

Email from the British Association of Anger Management

You know what makes me angry? Flipping spam makes me angry.

I don't remember signing up to receive emails from you, but maybe I lashed out at one of my work colleagues, and perhaps they thought I could do with some help and so gave my email address to you.

Even so, I would have hoped that you would have followed industry best practices and confirmed via a double opt-in that I *really* wanted to sign up for your messages.

The best mailing lists not only require people to ask to receive their messages, but then verify the subscription just in case an email address was given to you by by mistake or by a mischief-maker.

Anger management. They seem happy, why aren't I?

I'm delighted that you've had such success helping people deal with their anger issues. Help me with mine, by not just honouring my unsubscribe request - but also adopting a better standard in future, confirming that any email address you are given really wants to receive your emails.

What next? Will the Tourette Syndrome Association start sending me f@#king spam - would you f!#king f$%khead f*%k believe it?

Yours sincerely,

Angry from Naked Security

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7 Responses to Spam makes me angry. Do you have a course to help with that?

  1. Alessandro Vesely · 1494 days ago

    It may be worth to note that while those "industry best practices" may be the best one can do, they are certainly not the best one can think of. UK law, following European data protection directives, requires the consent of the subject for using an email address. The opt-in technique complies with such laws.

    However, opt-in does not ease collecting one's subscriptions, nor negotiating with the mail server a list-specific address. By failing to define, and indeed discouraging, a computer protocol for granting subject's consent, European data protection directives impose an asymmetry between data subjects and controllers: the latter ones use computer-aided processes to manage their lists, while data subjects possibilities are reduced to taking hand-notes, or possibly getting periodic reminders --which might be called a "time-distributed database."

  2. Bones · 1494 days ago

    I think unsolicited advertising emails are rather counter productivel if you are a genuine business. If I receive any unsolicited mail I immediately associate that company with counterfeit Viagra sellers, porn studios and Nigerian scammers. It is one surefire way of ensuring you never ever get to do business with me no matter how legit you are.

  3. Sophisticat · 1494 days ago

    The ones that amuse me are those that arrive offering to sell you a database of thousands of email addresses that have all been verified and checked for accuracy etc. They send their messages to email addresses which have never even existed on our domain - such as sales@, info@ etc. or a guess based on the listed Directors' names.
    Do these people honestly think if they can't get the address and contact details right for the company they're trying to sell the database to, that a potential client might think twice before purchasing what is very likely thousands of incorrect addresses?

  4. Ross Pearce · 1494 days ago

    The last words get me with this one...
    "to create happy & health lives"

    Their grammar is wrong so what could be wrong with the links in this email????
    Hope you didn't respond to it...Hmmmmm

  5. Pete · 1493 days ago

    I'd agree with BONES comment: "If I receive any unsolicited mail I immediately associate that company with counterfeit Viagra sellers, porn studios and Nigerian scammers"
    I hate it when I unsubscribe from an Email Newsletter because I don't want to hear from them again, and they then send me an email telling me that I am now unsubscribed! Maybe I need that course!

  6. David · 1492 days ago

    Sadly, spam works, for the spammer it's simply a numbers game. I now pass all my mail through the Google postini service (Sorry Sophos) there is an added advantage of doing this in that our mail is pointed at the Google mx servers. The system works well.

    As to why any ethical company would spam? I've always thought this was down to sales teams, let's face it in the main, sales aren't really interested in ethics, they're simply interested in making more sales and as long as a sales team thinks they'll make any money, then spam will remain a problem.

  7. Nigel Straightgrain · 1492 days ago

    When the cost of sending spam exceeds the potential gains, spammers won't spam. That's the principle of human behavior that governs "the spam problem".

    When some clever, enterprising individual or company figures out how to use that principle—without the coercive incompetence of the state munging up the process—spam will be an extinct artifact of un-civilization.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley