Spam Hall of Shame

stop_spamSpam sucks.

Okay, Shakespeare it’s not but there’s no truer credo for emailnauts who, on a daily basis, fight bulging inboxes and scour junk folders looking for legitimate emails among the mire of malware, marketing pitches and phishing attacks. Spam forces all kinds of unusual behavior, too. Fifteen years ago, who would have considered intentionally having multiple email addies? The whole idea behind email was to simplify life, right? It certainly wasn’t to overcomplicate things out of necessity, because trigger-happy marketers are out there just waiting to make our digital lives unwieldy and confusing.

But it’s the world we live in, and whether we like it or not, it’s the price of playing on the Internet. That doesn’t mean, however, that we will sit idly by and watch our precious bytes being confiscated by questionable sources, whether or not we’ve inadvertently opted into something we shouldn’t have.

This column is dedicated to those who just don’t get it. Retailer or not-for-profit organization, legitimate cause or not, if you abuse your chance to play nicely, you’re going in the Spam Hall of Shame. And, if you’ve jumped over that fine line between email marketer and email spammer, you will hear about it here.

Candidate: Global Bono

Back in early September, I began to notice strange emails arriving in my inbox. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have noticed the spam immediately, but I did notice because they made it past my spam filters, which surprised me a bit due to the nature of the emails. First, they were from a firm called, and that wasn’t really unusual.

What was unusual was that they were completely in Spanish, and appeared to be selling merchandise of some sort. I took note of the email address they arrived at and was surprised to find that it was one of my more ‘secure’ addresses, one I only use for business and even then, very judiciously.

Furthermore, even when I do use this email address for other uses – say a login to a site I’m using for research – I never opt-in to the regular email offers, either first or third party. So it bothered me when I received these unwanted emails in Spanish and quickly tried to figure it out: what wonton behavior on my part unleashed the dogs of war, so to speak?

I couldn’t figure it out, because, for the same reasons I’m writing this article, I use this address so sparingly. I hate spam, and I try to avoid it at all costs. In the end, I had to assume that my domain found its way onto a listserv, or someone who added me to their contact list had been botted, both reasonable assumptions which didn’t help the fact that I’d been targeted by Global Bono.

What Makes Global Bono So Bad

Don’t mistake me: I wouldn’t bust a blood vessel over an email or two. But, since September 9, I have received 70 emails from Allow me to do the math for you. That’s 1.43 emails per day over a 49 day period. If that doesn’t earn a spot in Webster’s under ‘spammer,’ I don’t know what does.

Then there’s the language thing. I come from the marketing world, where the message is King. Ensuring that a message sticks means, uhm, I don’t know, SPEAKING THE SAME LANGUAGE. My Spanish is limited to cerveza and baño, and a quick check of the domain belonging to my email would suggest that.

If that wasn’t enough, appears to be somewhat ‘legitimate.’ I use the sneer quotes because I believe that legitimate firms make themselves illegitimate by their actions, and this purveyor of cookware, nose hair trimmers and electronic pest controllers (yes, I see the irony) has pole vaulted over that fine line.

I know my experience with is far from unusual. In fact, it’s quite usual, and that makes it so befuddling. If it appears that I’m busting a couple thousand blood vessels while I write this, it’s because it is befuddling. How is it that ‘legitimate’ firms think they’re going to win my loyalty by repeatedly giving me the digital equivalent of an atomic wedgie? In fact, their bad behavior has got me so incensed that I would do everything possible NOT to buy from them. If I HAD to have a George Foreman grill and they were the only sellers of George Foreman grills, I wouldn’t buy from them, no matter how well the big man’s grill cooks tender, juicy cuts of meat. And that’s why they get a big F for failed attempt to garner my business.