The pet hate of many online marketers is the ever increasing level of spam emails which reach out to unlucky recipients with a bewildering array of bizarre product offers and services. According to Microsoft, more than 97% of all emails sent over the internet are now classed as unwanted or ‘junk’.

The first recognised email marketing message was sent by a marketing company on 3 May, 1978 in Florida to advertise their new range of mini-computers. In 1994, lawyers Canter and Siegel sent a marketing message to 6,000 Usenet discussion groups which is acknowledged to have been the first example of mass unsolicited email. Since that fateful day over 30 years ago, spamming has turned into a huge industry which sees millions of unwanted messages sent out worldwide every day.

Some ‘services’ offered by spam emails (marriage proposals and the like) are so ludicrous that they can be dismissed as an irritating but amusing distraction. However most people would agree that spam is a daily annoyance that can only be controlled with the liberal use of the delete button. Inconvenient and frustrating for sure, but is there a more serious consequence too?

In today’s world where we are all encouraged to be more eco-aware, it’s empowering to read that email spammers have become one of the green lobby’s latest targets: The Carbon Footprint of Email Spam report published by antivirus firm McAfee reveals some eye-opening facts about the ecological cost of spam emails. According to their estimates, the average year’s spam in the US alone is responsible for producing 17 million tons of CO2 and 33bn kilowatt hours of wasted energy as people sift through their inboxes in search of genuine emails.

So what can be done to limit the amount of spam that you receive? Thankfully, most ISPs offer spam blocking as part of their service, and there are also free downloads for your mail client from sites such as Mailwasher and Spam Assassin. These delete spam on your server before they even reach your inbox.

Another good tip that I picked up recently is to be cautious when attending industry events. In February I visited the TFM&A Show at London’s Earls Court, and on entering my colleague Nadeem advised me not to let anyone scan the barcode on my badge so that they couldn’t sign me up to their email lists. This turned out to be sound advice as I was surprised by how many people I had to stop doing exactly that!

Whilst it’s clear that spam is never going disappear completely, its good to know that there are still a few ways of fighting it, and you can now be assured that you are doing your bit for Mother Nature too!

Client News: The Belmont Thornton affiliate program is now live on the Tradedoubler network. Earn a generous £10.00 per lead. Contact karen [at] azam.net for more information.