Online, what do you consider to be spam content?
Hi all; I am going to be putting together an article on spam content and how to avoid it (in the hope that it will help people), but it would be great if you could share your thoughts, definitions and examples on *what* spam content is, *why* people post it and *how* to identify it.
Does anyone have any good examples of stuff that is obviously spam (e.g. MLM, affiliate links, content stuffing for backlinks, make money fast etc.) and also stuff that isn't immediately obvious as spam, but which really is?
Spam is electronic junk mail. To my mind it has two characteristics. First, the messages are always irrelevant or inappropriate. And second, the messages are typically being sent to a large number of recipients. I know some people hold that any unsolicited message is spam. Personally, I don't go that far. I do, however, expect that someone take the time to find out something about me before sending me information.
Something you don't want and find annoying. People commonly define it as unsolicited and undesired messages. This does mean different things to different people. Some people might find it valuable and others not. But you want to make content that is spamy to the least amount of people. Its opinion sometimes so its tough to say, but there are general rules of design and value that is in it.
I think intent is the biggest factor. One common thread with all spam is that the sender/spammer tries to get value of spamming. But I think the big differentiator between spam and good content is how much value the recipient gets out of it. Content could be completely sketchy looking but if it ultimately helps the person reading it much more than it hurts, I wouldn't consider that spam.
Some things I would consider spam:
-Anything that brings no value to the recipient.
-Anything that intentionally or unintentionally misleads the recipient.
-Anything irrelevant or off topic to the content being displayed.
Anything that is sent blindly! If I did not ask for the information (which I do a lot) I do not want it. No different than old fashion junk mail.
- has no value
- irrelevant or has no connection to the topic
- may contain advertisements
- may contain misleading links or resource pages (affiliate links on the sidebar of a blog)
- is a page that has a link farm
- contains hidden fonts (white ink on a white background, blue on blue, etc.)
- duplicate content
-overly used keyphrases
- unsolicited or undesired messages (illegal email ads with links contained or without links)
I am not aware of any new definitions of what spam content really means nowadays. I would not be surprised if there are a lot of new things which would be considered spam content today.
What is it? Anything that you do not want to receive or something you originally thought you wanted, but no longer wish to receive.
Why people use it? Because it is an extremely passive and affordable (free) medium to touch thousands of people with a click of a button.
How to identify it? Create custom searches in your inbox and then start grouping all your spam into a certain folder. Or by setting your inbox requirements so strict that anyone you receive email from will be directed to your SPAM folder UNLESS they are pre-approved by your filter. This then ventures in to the HOW of getting rid of it...
Good luck with your article. I hope you do not get too distracted by all your SPAM to actually write it! Would be a great tool for a lot of people I am sure.
Spam is legally defined as an unsolicited message. ie: Mail that you do not want. The how it gets into your inbox is a moot point. The consequences of sending Spam are potentially horrendous.
Under The CanSpam legislation you are liable, upon conviction to an unlimited fine and up to ten years imprisonment...
Sounds like a damn fine reason to have a double opt in that is recorded somewhere.
I absolutely hate getting those emails where someone died and left millions unclaimed and some "banker" wants me to collect the money and give him more than half. What a cheapskate right?
First, of course ethics plays a huge role in spamming. Let us be honest in saying that sometimes not all spam is bad. I have found some things that fell into my spam folder that were highly important, like my tax return notification, which had I not been a person who checks my spam box in gmail, I would have let that slip through the cracks. That aside, the content in which is presented, whether it be some "girl" from Russia who wants to be my bride or a dying woman who wants me to have her money to put to good use without knowing each other, is just down right cruel. It gives false hopes to unsuspecting people, which, though I never involved myself in any of those schemes, still shows the caliber of people who can take a computer and internet connection and be whoever they want to be.
Second, online advertisement through mass emails is still done to this very day, though most of it is warranted by us, the user, requesting it. I have signed up for deals and after awhile, I get annoyed and delete without reading in which they end up in my spam box through gmail's screening algorithms. Still yet, I also receive many unsolicited advertisements which I do not bother to read unless it seems relevant to me. Even then, I end up deleting it.
Third, spam scares the hell out of people. Many times a virus will be hidden in there and so no one bothers to check the spam box. Its a risk you take and the user weighs the options of whether its good or bad. Obviously if your bank says you need to give them your password because it was "lost", you know better than to click it, right? I cannot tell you how many times people have come to me and told me this story.
Lastly, I think people need to be made aware that there are ways to know off hand if something is spam or harmful to them. One big clue is whose name is in the recipient field? If its not your email, then don't touch it. Another clue is the content. Is it something relevant to you or something you asked to receive? If not, most legitimate advertisements will have an "unsubscribe" button. Also, check the true web address without clicking on it. If you hover over a link with your pointer and do not click, check the bottom left corner to see where it will take you. If its an odd address, stay away.
That's my best advice on spam.
When you get emails about content you didn't subscribe to, that's SPAM.
If you're on a forum and you decide to post a link that is unrelated in anyway to what is being discussed that is SPAM as well. If you post a self-serving link and it's unrelated to what's being discussed that's SPAM too.
MLM, affiliate links, content stuffing for backlinks, make money fast, etc topics are NOT SPAM unless you're sending it to people who didn't ask for it.
If you got ahold of my email address and you sent me information to me about your business, that would be SPAM because I didn't ask for information about your business.
Like someone stated before it's not so much the content, but the intent.
I hope our responses have made it clearer for you.
Spam content - I would offer up is anything that is not relevant to the target audience. It is mostly associated with the online channel, however, I would suggest that the word could cross over to any channel because the definition speaks to 'unwanted' and 'irrelevant' content.
Best of luck with your efforts.
Knowles Consulting Services, LLC
SPuriously Anomalous Mail is likely to be anything in my inbox that I didn't ask for, from someone I don't know.
It's the notice that I inherited ten million dollars from some dead Nigerian. It's the ad out of nowhere for WEN shampoo. It's the phishing scam from a "bank" that I've never done business with, telling me my personal information needs updating.
People send this $hit because they want to rip me off or sell me something they don't even know I might need. It's readily identifiable by SPAM filters at the ISP level and the email client level, but some of it still punches through. Spelling errors and grammatical errors that indicate a lack of understanding of what should be a legitimate sender's native language are the usual tip-off to forgeries and phishing. So are roll-overs of any linked URLs.
If you want examples of SPAM, all you have to do is establish an AOL account and keep it for 21 years... Your address will be spammed about 20 times a day.